The process of higher education in regards to physical therapy has changed.
“There are no bachelor’s programs in physical therapy. Older therapists (those who have bachelor’s degrees) are grandfathered in. Today, in order to be a licensed physical therapist and have a practice, you need a master’s degree,” said Beverly MacGray who has been practicing for 20 years and earned her master’s degree from Boston University.
MacGray was a sergeant in the Army and trained as a physical therapy assistant. When she was discharged from the armed services, she decided to pursue her master’s degree.
MacGray is the director of rehabilitative services at Accel Rehabilitation Hospital. She likes the ability to do administrative work as well as perform hands-on patient care.
“The job is physically demanding. You have to be healthy to be working in this field. You move and lift people all day. In-patient rehab usually consists of three hours of therapy split between physical and occupational,” said MacGray.
“When you see someone who comes in that was not able to take care of themselves and they leave a few weeks later able to do so, that is the reward,” said MacGray, who helps patients that have experienced everything from hip fractures and knee replacements to strokes, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
There are a variety of specialties within physical therapy: sports medicine, pediatrics, working in a nursing home, working in a hospital, acute rehab, spinal cord and brain injuries. MacGray suggests to explore the possibilities and find a specialty that is suited for you.
“To me, graduate school was easier than undergrad because the courses are now interesting and they are in your field of study. You are more likely to study because this is part of what you will be doing for your career,” said MacGray.
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com.