While your pay in a physical therapy or physical therapy assisting career will be excellent, you’ll still need to find ways to pay for your education, especially in the early stages.
For a 2-year physical therapy assistant program at a public school in-state, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) estimates the cost around $14,427.* At a private school, tuition increase to about $31,716. Luckily, finding physical therapy financial aid can be easy, if you know where to start.
By completing and submitting the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), students are immediately eligible for student grants, loans and work-study opportunities. You can obtain the FAFSA from a college financial aid office, a local public library, the Federal Student Aid Information Center (at 1-800-433-3243), or online. To receive the best financial aid package possible, the FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible after January 1 for the next school year.
Many employers may offer physical therapy financial aid, paying some—or all—tuition costs for those who are already employed in the field and wish to upgrade their skills. Here are some federal and professional scholarship and grant resources:
Ask schools you apply to about their deadlines and make sure your physical therapy financial aid paperwork is submitted as early as possible. The federal loan process takes a while, so apply as soon as possible and get your college financing in place so you can concentrate on more important tasks—like applying yourself to your coursework.
Besides federal resources, there are other scholarships you can apply for. There are general merit and career-based scholarships for those who have chosen to study a specific healthcare field. You can research more scholarships for healthcare students here.
While you may have to wait a while to qualify, there are some excellent student loan forgiveness options available to healthcare workers, and many physical therapists and physical therapy assistants may qualify. There are full and partial loan forgiveness programs at the federal and state level, and for people in public service careers. If you’re interested in a physical therapy career, it’s a good idea to explore your student loan forgiveness options in advance so you can be aware of what’s available as you enter the job market.
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