You’ve passed your PT board exam and obtained your license. Now, after all your hard work and dedication, it’s time to land that first position in your field. Taking the time to plan your search can mean the difference between finding a job and finding your dream. You want a position where you can make a genuine contribution, grow, and thrive — a place like Excel Rehab & Sports.
Good news: The job outlook for physical therapists is strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects significant growth in the field, making it a highly promising career choice. Physical therapist ranks #3 among the Best Health Care Jobs and #6 among the 100 Best Jobs. All you need is a well-defined plan to begin you on your road to success.
How to land your dream physical therapy job after acing your PT board exam
Step 1: Do a self-assessment — Before you embark on your search, after passing your PT board exam, it’s crucial to reflect on your personal and professional goals. Think about your preferred work environment and the kind of patients you enjoy working with. Physical therapists can practice in a wide range of settings. Where do you see yourself — a hospital, outpatient clinic, sports facility, nursing facility, school? Think about location, work-life balance and income. Make sure you identify deal breakers like commute time or caseload size.
Step 2: Network — Networking is essential to meeting people in your field and learning about opportunities. Reach out to former classmates, co-workers, clinical instructors, professors and friends. Attend conferences, career fairs and industry events. You never know when one of your connections might stumble upon a fantastic job lead or introduce you to someone who can fast-track your career. A trusted colleague or friend who recommends you can make all the difference when it comes to making it to the top of the resume heap.
Step 3: Make the most of search engines — The American Physical Therapy Association Career Center can help identify job openings and offers career tools that can help with resumes, cover letters, career coaching and more. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed not only have job listings, but also provide a vehicle for following companies of interest and connecting with hiring managers. LinkedIn tells you if you have mutual connections to someone at a particular company. Glassdoor offers insight into company culture, interview practices, and salaries. Indeed lets you narrow down job listings based on location, relevance and pay. It can even identify the highest-paying cities and top-paying companies for physical therapists.
Step 4: Tailor your resume — Craft a clear and concise resume highlighting your education, clinical experience and qualifications. Then, tedious as it may be, tailor your resume to each job application. Focus on the skills you have that are relative to each position. Use keywords from the actual job listing. If a job requires certain skills, certifications or accomplishments that you possess, make sure to include them. Many sites, like Indeed, have helpful articles on how to write a physical therapy resume, with examples.
Step 5: Craft a compelling cover letter — Write a three-paragraph cover letter that outlines your key qualifications, relevant experience and other qualities that show why you are a great candidate. As with your resume, tailor your cover letter to each position. Tell managers why you are applying for a particular position. What attracted you to their facility? How do your experience and other qualifications make you a great fit? What are you looking for in your first job? Let them know why their specific clinic would be an ideal match.
Step 6: Prepare to nail your interview — Dress professionally, and prepare to discuss your strengths, weaknesses and career goals. Anticipate the questions you will be asked, and prepare your responses. Most importantly, research every company before your interview. What is their mission? What are their areas of specialty? How many therapists work in the practice? Knowing about each company helps you answer interview questions knowledgeably and formulate thoughtful questions of your own. For instance, how many patients would you typically see in a day? Will you be mentored? Potential employers should see that you are interested in their facility, not just trying to land any old job. Follow up each interview with individual thank-you notes that reiterate your passion, your interest, and why you would be a great fit.
You’re on your way now that you’ve passed your PT board exam!
While job hunting can be grueling, your journey to becoming a physical therapist and passing your PT board exam has been marked by dedication and perseverance. Your job search should be no different. By being proactive in your search, leveraging your network and preparing meticulously for interviews, you can increase your chances of securing your dream job.
Landing your first physical therapy job after you’ve passed your PT board exam is not only a professional achievement, but the beginning of a fulfilling career dedicated to improving the lives of the patients you serve. Embrace the journey, and know you are on your way to making a positive impact.
Ready for a new and exciting career opportunity? You’ll find it at Excel Rehab & Sports
Excel Rehab & Sports firmly believes that partnership means creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. We are proud to be part of the Alliance Physical Therapy Partners partnership that brings together physical therapy clinics around the nation to help people get the kind of treatment they’re looking for and then exceed their expectations.
But we realize that our clinics can’t serve the people in their communities with exceptional physical therapy without amazing PT team members and admin staff. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for hardworking individuals who want:
- A less hectic daily schedule than most PT providers require.
- Exceptional health, retirement and wellness benefits.
- Readily available mentorship and professional development opportunities.
- To be part of a team that’s committed to caring for its patients and the local community.
Want to learn more about the current career opportunities available at Excel Rehab & Sports? Check out our Careers page.