How To Pay for Physical Therapist School

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  • How To Pay for Physical Therapist School
Author: Joseph Reinke, CFA

Deciding whether to go to Physical Therapist school can be stressful. It isn’t cheap. However, you can develop a plan and reduce much of your stress.

Here at FitBUX, we’ve helped over 15,000 physical therapist figure out how to pay for school.

Cost of PT school keeps going up due to tuition hikes and the effects of inflation on cost of living.  The most popular way of paying for it is via debt.

The average student debt of physical therapist on FitBUX is $153,000. Meanwhile, the average physical therapist new grad salary will range anywhere from $65-000 to $85,000.

In this article, we’re going to go over a few tips and tricks you can do to help you pay for physical therapist school.

Scholarships and Grants

Before you start taking out debt for school, applying for scholarships and grants should be your first choice. There are millions and millions of scholarships available.  Most of the time, people have no idea they are available. This is free money that you won’t need to pay back.

There are also grants available such as the National Health Service Corps repayment program (NHSC).

Lastly, Pell grants are another option that could help if you have financial hardship. The max Pell grant you can receive for the 21-22 school year is $6,495. You are automatically eligible for Pell grants once you submit your FAFSA.

For more information on how to find more scholarships, College Scholarship Service provides a profiler finder for you. There are also grants that are given by state. The Department of Education gives a great guide that lists grants per state.

Federal Loans

Once you’ve exhausted your grant and scholarship opportunities, the most popular choice to pay for physical therapist school is federal loans.  They are the next best option because they:

  1. Have fixed rates,
  2. Offer more flexibility with repayment options relative to private loans; and
  3. Usually have lower interest rates than private options.

After graduation, you will need to pick a repayment plan. Currently, there are 10 different plans you can pick between.

FitBUX makes this easier for you by breaking down these 10 plans into 2 specific strategies.

You have the payoff strategy, which is typically how we think of paying back debt. Then you also have forgiveness strategies also known as Income-Driven Repayment plans (IDR).

If you work at a non-profit or government setting you could potentially qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

If you need any help deciding which one you should pick, become a FitBUX member.  You can speak to a FitBUX Coach for free and we’d be happy to walk you through your choices as well some loopholes you can take advantage of.

Private Loans

Private loans should be the last resort to pay for physical therapist school.

They have no flexibility.  You have one repayment plan and won’t be able to pick a loan forgiveness plan if you were planning on going down that route.

Usually, interest rates are also higher relative to Federal options and are variable.


Working to pay for physical therapist school consists of two time periods.

The first time period is while you are in school.  Most physical therapist we speak to say you could work part-time for the first year or two while they are in school.

The second time period is post-graduation.  You want to know what your income may be because that will help you understand how you can repay school related debt.

For example, we see a lot of new grads go into travel physical therapy because the salary is greater relative to other options. Having the higher salary helps pay for the cost of physical therapy school faster.

Get a Plan to Pay for Physical Therapist School

Before you begin your journey to becoming a physical therapist, it’s a good idea to start budgeting while you’re in school so that you know just how many loans you need to take out.

Using our one-of-a-kind technology, we’ve created a technology that will help you build a financial plan while you’re in school and can help you determine just how many loans you need to take out. Click HERE for more information.

With this technology, you’d even be able to compare hypothetical situations with repayment options so you can see just what to expect post graduation.

If you needed more help, create a FitBUX profile and schedule a free call and we’d be happy to walk you through everything.

By David Hughes and Joseph Reinke, CFA

Joseph Reinke, CFA

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About the Author

Joseph Reinke is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder and founder of FitBUX which has helped over 14,000 young professionals on their journey to financial freedom. Joseph has been personally investing since he was 12 years old.

In addition, he has experience in student loans, mortgages, wealth management, investment banking, valuation, stock trading, and option trading. He has been on 100s of podcast and has been invited to 100s of universities to discuss financial planning with their soon to be graduates.

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