I'm 38. I've been planning on being an RN because of the diversity in positions and specializations and pay. But to be honest, being a PTA sounds much better to me. Though once your a PTA, that's kind of the end of the line. I don't think I'll be that great of fit as a nurse, and I'm afraid that I might hate it. But maybe I should just man-up and have faith that I will find my niche in nursing.
I'm wondering if I will regret going one way or the other. Any wisdom?
Oh, and now I'm also looking into Respiratory Therapy and Radiology.
Oct 18, '11
You're very wise to explore different options rather than focus entirely on nursing. PTA is a great career, especially in light of the projected increased demand associated with an aging population. I certainly would not categorize it as an "end of the line" since I know of some PTAs tha have gone on to become PTs.
Respiratory Therapy is a good option also, but be aware that there are professional controversies - just like nursing - over the different certifications that should be obtained (RRT vs CRT). At this point, it is still difficult to obtain a BS in RT - very few programs and options.
Radiology techs are in great demand in my area -- especially anyone with specialty certification in more advanced diagnostic modalities.
Best of luck to you - keep us posted on your progress.
Oct 21, '11
A little about me....I'm 40 yrs old. I come from a family of RNs (mom and sister), but I didn't think I could do it myself. Instead, I had always wanted to be a PT and got my BS in Biology first, planning to apply to grad school for PT (before it was a DPT program). Was wait-listed, then worked in unrelated job for a while. Decided to go the PTA route, finished that program in 2 yrs and worked in Pennsylvania for 7 yrs doing mostly acute care and rehab. Realized that I was not making much compared to the nurses I worked side by side with everyday. Earned my BSN 6 years ago and so glad I did. I'll be honest, PTA is a dead-end job....that's coming from personal experience and the earning potential is limited. I did enjoy it, but personally it got to me that I could know more and be doing more. I don't regret my PTA experience, because it ultimately led me to go for nursing but it was definitely the long route! In my opinion, ditch the PTA plans and go for nursing. There are so many career options available. Hope my sharing helped and best of luck to you in your decision!
Oct 21, '11
Wanted to add also that being a PTA is not a fast-track to PT....you would have to start at square one with a PT program. No credit would be given for your PTA education because PTA is an Associates degree and PT is now a doctorate program. They are two very different programs and really, two different career paths.
Nov 28, '12
I successfully finished 1 year of a 2 year Associates Physical Therapist Assistant Program before switching and becoming an RN. I made the decision because I was told that as an RN, I could go into rehab nursing. Now I want to know if there's such a thing as an RN-PTA Program or even some type of hybrid program that would enable me to finish the PTA work so I can be licensed in both fields. I live in the Phila., PA area.
Nov 29, '12
My cousin did radiology tech for hospital for several years then branched off into medical equipment rep after becoming acquainted with docs and equipment reps. He also said there was opportunity for learning MRI, CT, but now I believe they require a further certification.
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