Physical therapy career fair largest ever on campus

Physical therapy career fair attendeeThe first floor of IREB was a maze of banners and tables manned by prospective employers. As around 200 physical therapy students filtered through the career fair, organized by The University of North Texas Health Science at Fort Worth’s Career Readiness Center, students and community partners representing 37 companies that hire physical therapists connected and engaged in meaningful conversations.

The career fair, held in April, was the biggest-ever such event on campus for any school or department. The event was an opportunity for HSC’s clinical partners to recruit the university’s graduating physical therapy class; and first- and second-year students were offered the opportunity to network with representatives from potential clinical rotation sites and potential employers.

Physical therapy career fair attendee speaking to vendors“This event was an important benchmark in elevating the opportunities for our physical therapy students,” said Cassie Ardry, director of the Career Readiness Center. “This also speaks to our community health care partners’ commitment and support of our program. I am confident we will see this trend for our other academic programs. Our students are workforce ready, and this turnout speaks to the quality of health care professionals and provided HSC produces.”

HSC physical therapy students are in demand

In terms of hiring, the School of Health Profession’s Department of Physical Therapy already boasts a stellar 100 percent job placement rate for students just one year after graduating. The expanded career fair promises to build on that accomplishment.

Physical therapy career fair attendee speaking to vendorsThe demand for PTs nationally couldn’t be greater. The ripple effect of a nationwide shortage of physical therapists is causing longer wait times for appointments, which also may be depriving people of a non-pharmaceutical way to manage pain. The challenge to meet demand for PT services is exacerbated by an aging U.S. population. There are increasing numbers of people with musculoskeletal problems and other conditions who need physical therapy.

Third-year PT student Kellan Barry said that even though he plans to move away after graduation, he still feels he made valuable contacts at the career fair.

“What I enjoyed about the career fair is, despite knowing that I am moving to a different region, the people there still wanted to know my background and future goals,” he said. “The PT world is small, so for them to care enough to pass my name to someone else near my hometown or keep it for future sake says something about the connections our school has to the surrounding community.”

Career fairs are good for all

Physical therapy career fair attendee speaking to vendorsCollege career fairs have immediate value and years of potential value for everyone involved. A college career fair gives students a positive start in their career search as well as valuable skills for future career searches. Employers find the students they need to fill entry-level positions. And college campuses benefit from increased visibility, high employment rates and better rankings.

“We had a great experience talking with all the PT students,” said Doeg Soell, PT, MPT, OCS, Cert. DN, CGFI, owner of Velocity Physical Therapy. “They were very respectful and eager to hear about our company and asked some great questions.  It was very well organized and offered a conducive environment to interact with future colleagues.”

Physical therapy career fair attendee speaking to vendorsAlthough the fair’s focus was on physical therapy, students from other programs attended as well.

“It was so great to interact with the future of the physical therapy field,” said Grant Thornbrugh, Regional Clinical Director at FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers. “Our organization was able to connect with some really standout students who we would be proud to call colleagues one day. Thanks for facilitating this event!”

The event was a high point during the class of 2024’s final week together on campus — a symbolic transition from learning to earning.

Physical therapy career fair attendee speaking to vendors“The turnout at the career fair symbolizes the trust that health care facilities have in HSC graduates,” said Dr. Michael Furtado, chair of HSC’s Department of Physical Therapy. “It gives me motivation as we look to add our hybrid DPT cohort because employers collectively agree that HSC DPT graduates are prepared, professional and ready to make an impact in our society. It could not have gone better, and I am thankful for all who contributed to making sure this event went off without a hitch.”

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