You are wrapping up your final semester of PT school. Board review books, graduation plans, and job searches fill your thoughts and internet browser. When you look through the possible positions, should you automatically discount clinic director positions?
Yes and no.
Are you ready to be a clinic director?
First and foremost, if you do not feel ready to take on the role of a director or be completely on your own, don’t pursue the position just yet. It is not worth it to start a career you have worked so hard for to be overwhelmed, miserable, and hating your job. If you fall into this category, gaining some experience until you feel more comfortable with the idea will make for a more successful, enjoyable experience as a new PT.
If you do feel ready for the role, then do not hesitate to submit those applications. How do you know if you are ready? Did you feel confident making tough decisions on your clinical rotations? Do you supervise and direct PTAs, techs, and other staff with ease?
How do I land the job?
When running a clinic, showing that you are at the maturity level to make difficult decisions without being flustered is key. Conveying to a future employer that you can handle and manage tough situations with emotional maturity is key to an employer placing confidence in you.
If you are on the fence about whether you can handle the responsibility of managing a clinic, then you cannot expect an employer to feel as if you can. While some doubts are normal, showing confidence in your interview will help an employer see that you can handle the responsibility.
Make sure to list leadership roles on your resume. Captain of your college sports team? Leader on a project in PT school? Those things may seem unworthy of a spot on your resume, but showing that you have leadership experience is a vital aspect of landing a director spot as a new grad.
Be sure to highlight your leadership on your cover letter, too. Hiring managers might be hesitant to hire a brand new PT who has no managerial experience, but if you've run a restaurant or managed others in retail before becoming a PT, this can definitely improve your chances at landing an interview.
Set yourself up for success
Whether you are trying to land a director position as a new grad, aspire to become a rehab director one day, or hope to open your own practice down the road, having these qualities will increase your chances of success in management. If you feel like you aren't quite there, consider finding a physical therapy mentor who can help with both clinical skills and leadership/confidence/maturity skills.