What Every PT Student and Graduate Needs To Know About Getting Their First Job or Their Dream Job

Dear DPT Student/Graduate,

Congratulations on earning your doctorate in physical therapy and becoming one step closer to being a licensed DPT! Chances are, you are now focused on getting out of student loan debt, trying to find the right first job, not to mention trying to pass your license exam…. If you’ve done that already… Congratulations!!

Today, I want to share with you the #1 tool that I wish I had known when I graduated from PT school 24 years ago and was looking for my first job. This is an exercise you should do to help you land the exact job you want. Completing this exercise will fast track you to finding your dream job. Some of your classmates will end up getting there, but a lot of them will end up being dissatisfied because they didn’t take the time to complete this step. You are at a critical point…

This is what I want you to do. Write down, on paper, what your ideal job looks like. Don’t tell me what I want to hear…Or what your prospective employer wants to hear, but what exactly you are looking for in your ideal position.
Here is a list of items I want you to determine.

1) Setting. What kind of setting do you want to work in?  OP, HH, Acute, Pediatrics, IP Rehab

2) Salary.  How much money do you want to make? Believe it or not you are in control of that.

3) Mentorship.  Do you like to work alone? Are you looking to grow as a professional? Do you want contact daily, weekly, or monthly?

4) EBP.  Do you want to work in a setting that implements technology/techniques that are evidenced based? Do you want to improve your clinical skills?

5) Clinic size.  By now you’ve had some clinical experiences. Hopefully, you’ve had some good experiences and some jaded ones… The kind of experiences that resonated with what you are looking for (and what you’re not looking for).

6) Organization.  Is the clinic organized? Does it run efficiently? Are the support staff well trained? Is that even important to you?

7) Community involvement/events.  Is it important to you to be involved in activities in your area like 5Ks, golf tournaments, or community fundraisers? Will your employer support this involvement?

8) Hobbies. Do you enjoy surfing? If you do, North Dakota probably wouldn’t be your dream location!  Does your ideal job support that in terms of activities you like to do?

9) Family. It’s an exciting time and you get to choose wherever you want to live. You can choose to be near or not so near to family… Pretty awesome!! Be sure to take into account things such as cost of living. What are the school systems like? Does your area support raising a family. So once you have identified these nine things, I want you to write them all out in present tense.  List everything out as if you have already found your ideal job.  Every high achiever I’ve studied from or talked with does this! They write down scenarios as if it they have already happened.


Now it’s my turn.  I want to share with you some of what I look for in an ideal job candidate.

1) Good work ethic.  I want someone in the upper 10% of their class AND can show they have taken on additional responsibilities along the way.

2) Good Study Ethic.  I want to hire someone who loves to read!!

3) Mentorship. I’m looking for someone to mentor. Someone who would pay it forward and be willing to share with others in the future. Learn..do..teach model.

4) Entrepreneurial spirit. Core services, manage a clinic, back-end services, youtube, blog, etc.  I want someone who wants to do some really cool stuff.

5) EBP… Best practices and proven techniques; always looking for new techniques; willingness  to learn, etc…

6) Production Bonus … It’s very important to me for you to have a family life so I require 39 hrs of treatment with about an hour staff meeting each week. I will reward those who are efficient with their time with a quarterly production bonus.


So, I currently have openings for a PT and a PTA.  If you would like to be considered for one of these positions email me at arlanalburo@orthopedicandbalancetherapy.com with a copy of your “ideal job” description and your resume.

All the Best,


Arlan Alburo, PT, DPT, MTC

CEO, Co-Founder




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