Are you frustrated in your career as a PT?

I think at one point in time or another we are all looking to have that great career. It starts with a dream or maybe a plan in high school or college “to be something.” For most of us, that “something” was to be a physical therapist. Over the years, the meaning of “being a physical therapist” changes. Frequently it can change from a dream to boredom or worse change into a nightmare.

When we get out of school, many times PT is not what we thought it was going to be. 

At some point we get disenchanted. We find ourselves saying things like:

Is this all there is?

I can’t see myself doing this the rest of my career

There has got to be more

I don’t want to be a PT anymore

We then look for a change. Change jobs, change cities, change careers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always help. 

In Episode 21 of the Movement Podcast, Jenna Gourlay, Gray Cook and Lee Burton discuss their career paths. It was amazing to me to hear the common path of frustration in a career followed by looking for a change. How is it that they took their frustration with PT (or PE in Jenna’s case) and became leaders in the profession?


Unfortunately, I don’t think we are ever told (at least I wasn’t anyway), that these feelings of frustration are normal and common. 

No one ever tells us that there is a way out of these feelings that doesn’t always involve the drastic step of leaving PT as a career. 

Unfortunately, rather than proactively changing our situation for the better, we get stuck. We get stuck because we don’t know a way through our circumstance. We get stuck because our colleagues tell us that PT “is what it is” and there is nothing better out there.

What is true is that the frustration and dissatisfaction in your career is supposed to be there. It is there to provide the motivation to change. To change your knowledge. To change your circumstance. To change your career. Frustration is only a sign that you are supposed to be doing bigger and better things. 

Take a listen to this podcast and see if you can gain some career inspiration from these great leaders. I will let you in on a secret though -- these folks aren’t any smarter than you and they didn’t get a big break. They channeled their frustration with their career in the right direction and ended up loving what they do. 

So go ahead, be frustrated with your career but don’t stay there. What is the next step you will take to get out of the frustration?

Need help?

Try one of our free resources:

Career Growth Index (CGI):  We spend all of PT school getting feedback and then all of a sudden it stops.  We still get feedback from our outcomes and experiences as a clinician, but what about our career?  Our CGI allows you to measure how you’re doing in your career as a whole.  Clinical skills are important, but so is working toward a career that fits you and your life.

Salary Calculator We believe that we can change the profession and empower therapists by offering salary transparency. We created the SALARY CALCULATOR to offer a comprehensive database so that you can compare salaries for your specific location, setting, and experience.
Ideal PT Candidate Formula  From first contact to the post negotiation hand shake, we've got you covered. This is your step-by-step formula for creating an exceptional resume and cover letter, crushing the interview, and confidently closing the negotiation.

50% Complete

Never Miss Out!

Receive content updates and free classes just for you!