From the Classroom to the Job Market – PTA Grads Share their Success Stories

My name is Craig Cooper and I graduated from the Florida National University physical therapist assistant (PTA) program in 2017.

My success story starts about 7 years ago when I began working as a rehabilitation aide at a hospital in Texas, where I am from. I had no experience working in the medical field and was very hesitant about venturing into this field. However, I soon fell in love with the physical therapy profession for many reasons. I enjoyed being able to help people get back to their normal life after such life altering events, such as illness or accidents. I enjoyed being able to make a difference in someone’s life and health, and found myself coming home every day proud of what I do and looking forward to going to work the next morning. Throughout my time as a rehabilitation aide, I was fortunate enough to gain experience in different settings. I worked at inpatient hospitals and long term acute care hospitals, and I quickly realized this is the career I wanted to pursue.

Going to school for such a vigorous program as the PTA program is a big commitment. I knew I would not be able to work and that I would need to be financially prepared before making this commitment. I dreamed of going to school to be a PTA for years, but due mainly to financial and personal issues, I was unable to attend school to pursue my career. However, that changed once I moved to Miami in 2014. I heard about FNU from a coworker who was a PTA, and was extremely intrigued. After meeting with staff and the PTA program directors at FNU, I decided that FNU was the right fit for me and that I was finally ready to pursue my career as a PTA.

The PTA program at FNU was very difficult, and was one of the most intense experiences of my life. There were many sleepless nights, stress and continuous studying that took time away from my significant other, friends, and family members. But I made it, and the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and pride made it all worth it. I worked extremely hard, not only in my courses but in my clinical rotations as well. I went to my clinical rotations each day as if I was employed, and took each day seriously, because I wanted to learn as much as I could. Even after completing the program, I continued to study day and night in preparation for the board exam. After passing the board exam, I was offered a position at the clinic where I had my last clinical rotation. I am now working as a full time PTA, and am living my dream.

My advice to any student would be to study hard, give 100% of yourself not only to your studies, but for everything you do. Your hard work will pay off, and it will all worth it in the end. You, too, will be living your dream!

Craig Cooper Graduation Photo

My name is Noraidys Sanchez and I started the PTA program at FNU in 2015. Since the beginning the school was very difficult for me. I lived with my boyfriend and he was the one who supported me throughout my years of study. I have English as my second language, so I have to study more hours to get a better understanding of the material. This first year when I was in my mid-term exams I had a family problem that made me receive low grades in my exams. I was very distracted and so worried about the problem that I did not pay enough attention to school. At the end of the first semester I did not get the percentage required to pass one of the classes and at that moment I realized I should have studied more, but it was too late. I was out of the program for 6 months so I came back to work. When next year’s program was starting I decided to come back. I dedicated most of the time to studying, I was sleeping 4 to 5 hours a day, but I made it. I passed my board exam on the first try. That means by the time I finished school, I had enough knowledge to be confident and take my board the next month. Now, I have a full time job with a Home Health Agency. I am very proud of myself and everything that my professor taught me.

Noraidys Sanchez Graduation Photo