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Soaring Student Loan Debt Has PTs Fearing the Future

By Luna
Soaring Student Loan Debt Has PTs Fearing the Future

PT burnout is at an all-time high, and the burden of student loan debt is one of the underlying culprits. In fact, rehab students who participated in a recent study by WebPT cited soaring student loan debt as their number one reason for fearing the future of the PT profession. 

PT student loan debt (and stress) is climbing fast

The debt-to-income disparity in the physical therapy profession is nothing new, but the problem seems to be getting more pronounced. Most physical therapists come out of school with 50% higher debt than anticipated when they entered the DPT program. And since 2018, the pool of students who will owe more than $150,000 upon graduation has grown by about 5%.

This debt, along with increasing patient loads, grueling documentation requirements, and compensation that simply doesn’t compensate, are fueling the stress levels so many PTs today are struggling to manage today.

Meredith Castin, PT, DPT, and founder of The Non-Clinical PT, points to the core of the issue:

“Clinicians have felt undervalued, underpaid, overworked, and stagnant for years—well before COVID-19 emerged. When you’re dealing with immense student debt and you see no real path to financial freedom, it can be demoralizing. When your efforts to advance your career with more certifications, training, or education are met with apathy by employers, it feels disempowering. And worse yet, the more undervalued and burnt out a clinician feels, the more likely it is to take a toll on patient care.”

Passionate PTs are holding out hope for the future

Despite these fears over growing student loan debt, 84% of today’s rehab therapy students are either equally certain or even more certain of their chosen career path compared to a year ago. Most physical therapists begin their careers with clear eyes, high hopes, and an innate desire to help others thrive. But so many PTs eventually find themselves in similar cages—overbooked, underpaid, and underwhelmed by what they believed would be a fulfilling career. 

At Luna, we’re working to change that and give more PTs hope for the future. Our mission is to empower the physical therapist community to provide the best possible care while maximizing their earning potential and quality of life. Whether through supplemental income or full-time patient loads, we’re helping PTs across the country reimagine their careers and find a better way to pay off that student debt.

Learn more about Luna’s commitment and pledge to the PT community. Or, discover how becoming an at-home physical therapist with Luna can reignite your passion for PT—and pay off those student loans!

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