Written by: Erica Simpson, PTA graduate KU Jacksonville

I always knew I wanted to work in the health field and help people so I originally attended the University of North Florida (UNF) where I received my Bachelor’s in Exercise Science.   I was planning on furthering my education and becoming a Physical Therapist (PT) but I decided to take a year and work in the field as an Exercise Physiologist at an outpatient PT clinic to ensure that I was choosing the right career path.  Prior to attending school at UNF, I never knew what a PTA (Physical Therapist Assistant) was until I had the opportunity to see firsthand.  After weighing the pros and cons of a PT and PTA, I chose to pursue my PTA.

I was definitely skeptical at first about attending KU because of the cost and the course duration since it would be a new course every four weeks, but when I had the opportunity to meet with the program director I knew KU was the right place for me.  All of my instructors had many years of experience in different specialties and settings which made the program well rounded.  The program was challenging at times since it was accelerated but all the instructors were very helpful and willing to take the extra time to prepare me for success.  I have been working in the field now for almost three years and have had the opportunity to mentor a hand full of students as a clinical instructor.  I see firsthand the advantage of going to KU over attending other schools with how prepared the students are.  I always tell students in the program that I know at times it seems overwhelming but in the end it will all be worth it.  I love being a PTA and cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

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