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  • From PT in Motion Magazine: Discovering a Second Career as a PTA

    When it comes to pursuing a career as a physical therapist assistant (PTA), it's never too late. Just ask the people who, often in middle age and after being successful in other areas, decided it was time to remake themselves as PTAs.

    In the July edition of PT in Motion magazine, Associate Editor Eric Ries takes a look at PTAs who have taken up physical therapy as a second career. Their stories reveal varied circumstances leading to the decision to become a PTA but a shared satisfaction with their new profession. Featured in the article are:

    • David Emerick, PTA, BBA, who ran a marine construction company and whose PTA interest was piqued when he volunteered to roleplay as a patient to help his wife, then attending PTA school herself
    • Gail Newsome, PTA, BBA, owner of a marketing company who encountered physical therapy after a breast cancer diagnosis, and who entered PTA school at 55
    • Walter Latapie, PTA, business manager and owner of an auto repair shop who says, "I used to fix cars. Now I help fix people"
    • Angie Sawdy, PTA, BS, who sold real estate with her husband but whose background in ballet and yoga pulled her toward the PTA path
    • Lisa Zemaitis, PTA, BS, former cosmetologist and stay-at-home mom who fulfilled a promise she made to a physical therapist who helped her overcome a rotator cuff tear
    • Chris Garland, PTA, BS, who worked as a graphic designer but had been intrigued by physical therapy after seeing how it helped her mother recover from dual anterior cruciate ligament repair
    • Doug Slick, PTA, BM, a working musician whose transition to PTA allowed him to pursue a career he loves while rediscovering the joy of music—this time as a hobby, not a job

    "First Choice for a Second Career" is featured in the July issue of PT in Motion and is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.


    • Yes, go for it! I too am a LPTA. I turned down PT School many years ago because I wanted to be a Physical Education Teacher and Coach. Loved that career too but, since my spouse was in the military and we moved often, opennings were not always present at the right times we were in some areas. This allowed me to explore other health and fitness options along the way. Later in life, I decided to revisit PT School, which was now a DPT Program and discovered the cost of the program would not benefit me with what remaining years I wanted to work and put money in my retirement account as opposed to working to pay off this very expensive DPT program. So I choose an excelerated PTA Program and was back working in 18 months. I love it and my PT friends are sometime jealous...No loans to pay anymore, less paperwork without evaluation and discharge paperwork, and I can really enjoy time with each patient...and all my past work experiences have been a bonus that I get to bring with me each day.

      Posted by Judy Eichin on 7/7/2017 6:15 PM

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