Physical Therapy Students, The Money is There
A career in physical therapy (PT) can be rewarding and lucrative, as well. Physical therapists work is a wide range of settings, including sports rehabilitation clinics, hospitals, extended care facilities and other rehabilitation facilities. The work of physical therapists can also involve pain management and the prevention of injuries. To have a career in physical therapy, a practitioner must either be a physical therapy assistant or a licensed physical therapist. Physical therapy assistants must complete a two-year degree, and licensed physical therapists must have a Master’s degree or a PhD.
Because most funding opportunities for physical therapy students are specialty-specific, college and university departments and professional organizations are the main sources of grants and scholarships aimed at PT students.
College and University Funding for PT Students
In addition to general grants and scholarships available at a college, students should also thoroughly investigate funding offered by the PT department. Most colleges and universities with PT programs offer specific funding. For example:
- The School of Allied Health at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas awards the Kitty Rodman Grant to a level PT student from a disadvantaged background, who is also a resident of Nevada. See www.pt.unlv.edu/scholarships for more information.
- Then Kendall Scholarship Fund at the University of Maryland offers funding assistance to undergraduates in the PT program. This fund is through the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. The website is www.pt.umaryland.edu.
- The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill offers physical therapy scholarships to qualifying students, including the Rebecca Irene Sande Scholarship. This award is available to students in their freshman year.
Professional Organizations Have Funds for PT Students
Part of the mission of most professional organizations is assisting the next generation of professionals. These organizations are an important source of funding for students at every level of their PT education. Each specialty in the PT field and virtually every state has an association for PT professionals. Examples of organizations that offer grants and scholarships to PT students include:
- The National Athletic Trainers Association (www.natafoundation.org) offers grants and scholarships to undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate level students.
- The American Physical Therapy Associations offers a number of grants and scholarships to PT students at all levels, including those studying to become PT assistants. APTA also awards three minority scholarships a year and maintains a very useful list of minority scholarship and grants websites. This information is at www.apta.org/currentstudents/scholarshipsawards.
- The Texas Physical Therapy Education and Research Foundation (www.tpta.org) administers grants for post-graduate PT students and PT faculty.
- PT students and PT assistant students in Wisconsin can apply for a stipend from the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association. This grant is intended for students in their last year of studies who would not be able to complete their education without assistance. See www.wpta.org for more information.
- The Special Olympics offers a grant to health sciences students at all stages of their education to conduct short-term projects on issues related to the health and well-being of persons with intellectual disabilities. Information on these Health Professions Student Grants can be found at www.specialolympics.org.