Negotiating Your Salary

Dear New Grad PTs and PT Students,

I sat across from the owner of the company and he asked what I was expecting for a salary. The interview had gone well up until this point, but now I froze. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t expect to discuss salary, let alone have to give a number I wanted.

I thought about it and gave a number that I thought was way higher than the typical offer. The next day I was offered the job and the salary I requested. We hadn’t negotiated or anything, I had just thrown out a number and they honored it.

I didn’t take the job, but I still wonder how much I left on the table by going first. When you are in an interview or a negotiation, you want to avoid going first. Here are ways to answer the “What kind of salary are you looking for?” question.

  • I know you have a much better idea of the role and the expectations and I trust you will come up with a fair salary.
  • I know that a lot more goes into the overall salary and I...
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Are you asking the right interview questions?

Dear New Grad PTs and PT Students,

When you get to the end of your first (and every other) interview, the company is going to ask you if you have any questions. If you’re me, then you’ll scramble to ask a superficial question that you probably could’ve figured out from the company website. Then you’ll go home and think of endless meaningful questions that you could’ve asked instead.

You won’t do that. Instead, you’ll refer back to these three questions:

1.  How do you measure success in this role?

This question does way more than just give you an idea of the expectations for the role. It can help you clue into what the company values. Do they mention the number of patients per day? Do they mention your influence in the community? Do they discuss patient interaction? Do they have a clear answer or not?

2.  What do you do really well? What could you do better?

Ask this question to multiple different people throughout the day. This...

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Can We Pause?

Dear PT Students,

Can we pause?

I know it is getting to the end of the semester, and the deadlines, exams, practicals, and stress are all starting to pile up. For the third-year students, there is finally the finish line ahead.

But, can we pause?

Wherever you are in your education, you are on your way to getting your doctorate of physical therapy. You were accepted into a PT program, and you’ve been working hard the entire time. That is no small thing.

A few weeks back, I saw a prospective PT student walking around the campus with his family. They stopped at multiple places taking pictures. He stood proudly in front of the school insignia.

I think many of you have that feeling at some point. But then you get tunnel vision for graduation and forget to stop and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished to get where you are.

While PT school is a means to an end in some respects, it is something to be celebrated.

You got here and you’ve got this.

Break Barriers,


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I'm thankful for my worst memory of PT school . . .

I have to tell you about my worst experience during PT school. Years have passed, but I still cringe when I think about it today.

My school had a group poster presentation where students and faculty would rotate throughout the room and we would share our research. I wasn’t nervous about presenting. I prepped some, but while other classmates practiced and practiced, I felt confident in my ability.

That is until the first group of students and professors rotated to our poster. It was my turn to speak and NOTHING was happening. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to say, and I stared as everyone uncomfortably waited for me to speak. Finally, I did. Only it wasn’t my voice. It was high-pitched and cracking. It was terrible. I’d NEVER had trouble with public speaking, but there I was unable to recall anything about the research I worked on all semester.

I hated that moment and I still hate thinking about it. Yet, every time I have to give a presentation or a lecture...

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Reminder: You will pass the NPTE

Dear PT Students (or should I say new PTs),

Those four letters have been thrown around for the last three years of your life.

“You’ll need to know this for the NPTE”
“This will definitely be on the NPTE”
“Make sure you review this for the NPTE”

For a while the NPTE was so far in the future that it didn’t seem real. Something you would think about, but quickly forget. But for many of you, right now the NPTE is all you can think about.

I’ve heard from a lot of students about the stress, uncertainty and worry that they’ve been feeling as the test quickly approaches. Many who have been studying and preparing daily for weeks and months.

I’ve heard things like ‘I’m not a good test taker’ and other narratives that are all different shades of being afraid of failing. And that fear is understandable. That fear is real, but….

Here’s what I know and what you should know

1. No matter how ‘bad of a test...

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“Do you think students will be prepared after a year of their education being affected by COVID?”

Dear PT Students,


“Do you think students will be prepared after a year of their education being affected by COVID?”


You are over a year into navigating your education since COVID.  


I don’t know how you’ve done it.  I’m impressed.  The adjustments you’ve had to make, the constant changing and the lack of certainty only adds to an already difficult program.


I hope you know how awesome you are and I hope you know that while I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable, it has already made you a better physical therapist.


Being a PT is ALL about being able to pivot and change course when needed.  It is about constantly wondering and assessing whether you are on the right track.  It is about taking it one session at a time and knowing that you may have to adjust daily.


So yes, I think PT students will be better prepared for their careers than ever before.  I think the fact that...

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The Power of Networking as a Student

 By Ro Rodriguez SPT

I vividly remember the first class in PT school that focused on the topic of clinical placements. The Director of Clinical Education (DCE) started by saying “don’t reach out to clinics yourself in an attempt to get placed there, because you may forfeit the rotation.” I did not put much thought into this because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, and more importantly, I was extremely focused on understanding the concept of the “concave-convex rule.” 


What I did know is that I wanted to build relationships with professionals that shared similar interests and worked in fields that motivated me. Innocently, I sent an Instagram message to a PT working with a professional sports organization that I am truly passionate about. I was simply trying to ask for resources to learn more about a population I aspired to work with. The PT replied and not only provided me with the educational information, but also...

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When Will I Know What I'm Doing

Dear PT Students,

Have you ever seen an amazing public speaker and just thought about how incredibly talented they were?

As I started the process of becoming better at public speaking, I was always in awe of the people that just had such a natural ability for it.  They moved intentionally, spoke smoothly and had a presence that could not be ignored.

The admiration mixed with intimidation I had for public speakers was the same admiration and intimidation I felt as a student and as a new grad when I was with awesome clinicians.

But the farther I got into public speaking, the more it became apparent that it wasn’t all talent.  In fact so much of what each engaging speaker did was something that could be learned.  How to move on stage, how to manipulate tone, and timing were all things that could be taught and practiced.  It wasn’t talent, it was training.

The same is true for the clinicians you admire.  They studied, they practiced, and they got...

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Small Steps Over Huge Leaps

Dear PT Students,


I was guilty of this (and still am).  I think many students and graduates think like this.


We look at where we want to go and how far we are from where we want to be.


We see these HUGE gaps.  We feel like we may never get there.  But most of all, we ignore how effective small, consistent steps move us forward the most. It is the little things we do on a daily basis that add up quickly way more than the big accomplishments that only come by once in a while.


I remember hearing that if you are struggling in any area of life it can usually be traced back to consistency.

For school we need consistency with reading, studying, and practicing.  In relationships we need consistency with communication, engagement, and demonstrating we care.  With physical goals, we need consistency with healthy eating, activity, and sleep. 


So, what small step can you take today and tomorrow?


Break Barriers,

Jenna and...

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It Doesn't Matter If You Are a Clear Favorite or a Cinderella Story. Anything Can Happen.

Dear PT Students,


It took me 26 minutes to fill out my March Madness bracket  (Illinois is going to win in case you were wondering).  


It is always hard to predict.  Anything can happen in March and you can look at what a team did during the season, but that doesn’t always translate to success in the tournament.  Over the next few weeks we will see upsets, surprising outcomes, and some expected ones.


Number one seeds can fall in the first round and eight seeds in the final four.  I think this is the perfect analogy for PT school.  Once you graduate, once you prove you know enough everyone has a shot at success.  Some will see it immediately, some will see it down the road, but don’t think how well you did in PT school predicts it at all.


4.0 students may struggle (and that’s okay) and 3.0s may thrive immediately.  Once you graduate, don’t worry about what it took to get there. ...

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