Advice For New Grads on Finding PT Jobs

Sara Cates, PT, DPT talks job hunting tips for new grad physical therapists. There are many things to consider as you begin searching for your first career.

Find a setting that you’re comfortable in

This is the most important thing to do when you’re right out of grad school, says Sara. If you’re not able to get a job out of an internship for whatever reason, look for similar settings. Your familiarity with the systems and expectations will really benefit you.

Should someone pursue a setting without clinical experience?

Even if you don’t have clinical experience in a specific setting, you can still pursue it! When you’re right out of grad school, you have to be a risk taker. It’s the right time for you to be getting as much experience as possible in order to figure out the right direction for your career.

What would you say to someone who wanted to go into applied functional science?

For applied functional science, a strong outpatient orthopedic background is really important. That background helps you understand basic movements, anatomy, kinesiology, and biomechanics, which is important so you can learn the field. That means getting into applied functional science at the right time in your career so you’re in a position to get the most out of it.

Looking for physical therapy jobs? Check out our jobs site at CovalentCareers and create a profile!

What are some of the things you would recommend for a new grad to do to get the most out of that job?

When you first show up at a new job as a newly graduated PT, you need to be as ready as you can possibly be. Be ready logistically, in terms of what you need to start work. Also be ready emotionally, in terms of the respect and willingness to learn that you’re bringing to the workplace. Be ready to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible—be a sponge! And don’t forget to treat your new colleagues with respect: they know the ropes, after all. Be ready and willing to take criticism and give feedback, and keep an open mind.

A new setting can be intimidating, but if you arrive with an open mind, respect for your new colleagues, and a willingness to learn, you’ll have put yourself in the best position to succeed.

About Sara M. Cates, PT, DPT, HHP

Sara Cates
Sara is a licensed physical therapist and a nationally certified massage therapist/ holistic health practitioner who has been practicing physical therapy since 2010. She received her doctoral degree from USA (San Diego) with undergraduate education at SDSU (San Diego) where she competed Track & Field/ Cross Country. Sara’s experience is extensive in outpatient sports medicine setting emphasizing biomechanics. She also is versed in pediatric and acute care. She is a certified Graston Technique provider and certified Clinical Instructor with a real passion for teaching. Sara is native to Carlsbad, CA and enjoys training for endurance sports such as triathlon and running. Her varied experiences in the practice of physical therapy has helped her develop a unique combination of manual skills with a holistic approach of treating the mind, body, and spirit of her patients and athletes. “The most gratifying part about my job is helping someone find inner strength and commitment to themself to overcome injury or attain a personal goal.”

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