Graduating PTA Student Reflects on Her Time at Bay State College

By Caroline Talpe on May 18, 2017

After graduating with a B.S. in Athletic Training, Kaitlin Kolesnikoff knew she wanted to pursue a career in Physical Therapy (PT). She decided to work as a PT aide at an outpatient orthopedic clinic on Cape Cod to gain the experience and skills that would prepare her for her future career. Those four years at the clinic also gave her the time she needed to decide between applying to a PT school or a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program. 

Choosing between a PT track and a PTA track was difficult, but Kaitlin ultimately realized a career as a PTA was the perfect fit for her. Kaitlin didn’t doubt that she could be successful in a PT school, but she felt that the shorter length of a PTA Program would work to her advantage, and not just in financial terms.

In first grade, Kaitlin was diagnosed with dyslexia. “School has never been easy for me, and I’ve always had to study longer than some of my friends. I’ve always had to put in extra work to achieve what I wanted. By the time I started the PTA Program, what had been a weakness my entire life had actually become one of my strengths. I had a strong support system behind me, and I knew how to advocate for myself and ask for the help that I needed.” Finding mentors has always been key to Kaitlin’s success, and the PTA Program’s tight-knit and supportive student community allowed her to benefit from the previous class’ experience and become a successful PTA student. 

After hearing about the Bay State College PTA Associate Degree Program’s excellent reputation from her colleagues at the clinic, Kaitlin decided to tour the college. During the tour, she met with both professors and current students with whom she discussed the main features of the program—excellent clinical education opportunities, weekend open labs for students to practice clinical skills, and a group of professors that includes both PTs and PTAs. These conversations convinced her to come to Bay State College. 

Now that she is about to graduate, Kaitlin says that she has gained more than she expected to when she started the PTA Program. In addition to communication and clinical skills, Kaitlin also acquired new leadership skills. During her freshman year, she took on an officer role in the PTA Club and became the student representative for the Southern Metro District of the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts (APTA of MA). “I had never been in a leadership position before because I’ve always had more of quiet voice. These experiences pushed me to step out of my comfort zone, and I became a shoulder to lean on and a voice for my peers. It was a great learning opportunity that I wouldn’t have had without the PTA Program.” 

Interested in starting your journey toward becoming a Physical Therapist Assistant? Learn more about Bay State College’s Physical Therapist Assistant Associate Degree Program.