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If there’s one piece of advice today’s PT students can learn from experienced physical therapists, it’s to listen to their patients. Here, successful PTs from across the country expound on this and more advice for aspiring physical therapists:

What advice would you give PT students today?

My advice to PT students is to have an open mind, always try to learn more, take a ton of classes, don’t subscribe to just one approach, focus on biomechanics/physiology/psychology, and to learn from your patients. Understanding the human species requires a great breadth of knowledge. Be sure to expand beyond the professional, peer reviewed articles.


– Dr. Aaron Swanson, DPT, CSCS, FMS, TPI, FRR, received a degree in exercise science from the University of Tennessee and his doctorate in physical therapy from New York University. He offers physical therapy, movement and sports performance enhancement and wellness consultations through his practice, The A&G Project, based in Milton, Ga.

The best advice I could give to PTs today would be to ensure to do your best to understand that each person, each individual case is unique. That no one method or procedure works the same. Thinking creatively and often improvising comes in handy!

– Harris Hafeez is managing member of Advanced PMR, where he oversees all aspects of the practice. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded and overseen the expansion of several companies.


I would advise current PT students to realize that as you enter the workforce you will encounter different types of patients. Do not look at the patient as a Diagnosis or a set of symptoms to be addressed by your newfound knowledge. Instead, start with the person and then address the symptoms/impairments. If you can understand the patients’ mindset it will be much easier and much more efficient to treat that individual. This is a skill that is attained by being a decent human being, and one that requires patience, sympathy, and an understanding of the human condition.


– Igor Tserlyuk, DPT is the owner and Director of Grasmere Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation. Igor is an expert in Orthopedic and Neurological Rehabilitation. In his effort to help others, he effectively integrates evidence-based practice and holistic methods to achieve optimal results for his patients.

The advice I would give PT students is to challenge everything that is taught to you. Don’t accept that anything is valid simply because it is taught or because a lot of people say it is. Magellan, Einstein and other have proven that just because enough people say something a lot does not make it fact.

– Dr. Mitchell Yass, DPT is the creator of the Yass Method for diagnosing and treating chronic pain; author of The Pain Cure Rx released internationally by Hay House Publishing in 2015 and starred in his PBS special “The Pain Prescription” seen nationally and in Canada since 2015.


I think the most important advice I can give any student, regardless of profession, is the same advice my last clinical instructor gave to me – choose your first job wisely. You will learn more in your first two to three years on the job than in all your years of schooling and the stronger your learning experience is in this time period, the stronger your career growth can be.

I chose a lower paying job at a renowned teaching hospital in New York over a higher-paying job in a private clinic. Being part of a teaching institution with weekly, organized in-services, lectures and great mentorship from the senior therapists provided me with an incredible learning experience. I attribute all my clinical and professional growth to them.

So as tempting as a high paying first job can be my recommendation is choose the job that will provide you with the best learning experience; it will pay off in the long run.


– William Paranto is the director of physical therapy services at Progressive Spine and Sports Medicine. He runs the rehabilitation component of this practice, which provide its patients the latest nonsurgical treatment options for pain and sports

Last Updated on November 29, 2021

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