This week’s spotlight is on Carrie Black, PTA, CAPS, who is now a licensed residential contractor and President of Integrity Home Mobility!
This post may contain affiliate links or codes. This won’t increase your cost, but it helps keep TNCPT alive, and free of annoying ads! Thank you for your support. 🙂
What is your full name, title, and company name for your current, primary role?
Carrie Black, PTA, CAPS, Licensed Residential Contractor
President of Integrity Home Mobility, Inc.
Where are you located?
Mooresville, North Carolina.
Where did you go to PTA school, and what year did you graduate?
Marshall University, 1998.
What did you do when you first finished school, and for how long?
I worked for a small rural hospital system in a variety of settings—such as outpatient, inpatient, and a home health agency—for four and a half years.
In what setting(s) did you work, and what types of patients did you treat?
I worked with a variety of diagnoses in the following settings:
- Long- and short-term rehab
- Home health
- ICU and neuro floors
- Orthopedic specialty hospital
What did you enjoy about your early roles? What didn’t you enjoy?
I found it most enjoyable to experience the interaction with patients, learn their stories, and see their success made through physical therapy care.
I didn’t enjoy all the extra non-therapy tasks, such as cleaning up a patient, that were often delegated to me as a PTA.
What else have you done since then, prior to your current role?
I had the opportunity to teach in a physical therapist assistant program at a local community college for just over one year. It was a wonderful experience, and I enjoyed expanding my professional skill set through that role.
When and why did you decide to do something non-clinical?
In the spring of 2020, the pandemic occurred, which gave me time to reevaluate where I was in my profession and where I wanted to go next. I met with a creativity consultant to brainstorm new ways in which I could use my professional experience.
I began to recount many conversations with patients about recommending mobility products or grab bars. Patients would tell me that they didn’t know anyone who could help them find or install such items. It was from this “need” that I started my business.
What are you doing these days?
I just resigned from a home health agency and completely stepped away from clinical PTA work so that I can pursue my home mobility business full time.
Are you still treating patients, or are you solely non-clinical?
I am solely a non-clinical PTA.
How long have you been in your current role?
Did you get any special certifications or training along the way to help you get into your current role?
I am a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) and a licensed residential contractor.
How did you find your job? Did you apply or find it through a connection?
I learned about starting a home modification business from others and decided to create my own.
When did you start your business?
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I researched other businesses in a similar industry who are located in other parts of the country.
My goal was to create a combination business model, which would provide both mobility equipment and home remodeling services, in order to provide greater accessibility in and around the client’s home.
What is your business, and what types of products or services do you offer?
My business is Integrity Home Mobility, Inc. We provide home modification services and are a mobility product provider.
How have people reacted to you leaving patient care?
I’m overwhelmed by how wonderfully supportive my former colleagues, family, and friends have been.
What’s a typical day or week in the life like for you? What types of tasks and responsibilities fill your time?
I spend my week running my small business, which includes:
- Meeting clients
- Providing free home assessments
- Working on estimates
- Scheduling work to be completed
I am also involved in a fall prevention program for residents of North Carolina.
What are some of the rewards of your role? What are the biggest challenges?
Transitioning into the role as a contractor is my greatest challenge at this time.
I am new and still learning. Meeting other contractors has been a great help to me, as I continue to expand my skill set. Never stop learning!
How did your clinical background prepare you for your role as President of Integrity Home Mobility?
As a PTA for home care agencies, I learned to identify patient mobility issues and home safety issues. These professional skills have proven quite helpful in my new role, as I not only identify the safety concern but also provide a workable solution.
What type of person do you think would do well in your role?
The type of person who would do well in my role is:
- A good listener
- A lifelong learner
- Willing to perform hands-on work
Do you work remotely or onsite?
My business is mobile. My work takes place on-location at the clients’ homes.
Does your organization hire PT, OT, or SLP professionals into non-clinical roles? If so, what type of roles?
Yes; at some point, we will be interested in hiring them as consultants to perform home assessments.
Did you read any books, take any courses, or do anything special overall to get you where you are today?
There are several CEU courses on home modifications that I found helpful to provide a basis for how to conduct a consultation.
I took a six-week course to prepare me for the general contractors licensing exam.
Eager to launch your own non-clinical career?
What is next for you? What are your high-level career aspirations?
I want to continue to grow my business. I am my own boss, which is a dream come true and my most sincere career aspiration.
Editor’s note: Eager to read another clinician’s story of starting her own business? Check out our spotlight on Alice Navarro Forsythe, Owner and Operator of Opening Doors Therapy!
What would you recommend to someone who is considering going into a role like yours? Do you have any special words of wisdom for the readers?
Don’t be afraid to reach out and learn about this industry. There are many ways this type of business can be structured. Learn as much as you can to see what is the best fit for you.
What career advice would you give yourself that you wish you had during school?
Consider other ways to build your professional skill set. Be willing to branch out, assess the skills you have, and pair those skills with activities you enjoy. You might find something beautiful that you never expected.
Personally, I wish I would have pursued a construction role years ago.
What would you teach to today’s graduate students in your profession, if you had the opportunity?
I would encourage PTA students to build their professional skill set by working with a diverse population and in a variety of clinical settings. Be open to lifelong learning, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
A PTA degree can be a wonderful way to get started. As you gain professional experience, try to expand your career by advancing your education and training. Consider your non-clinical skills, and find ways they might complement one another in the pursuit of something new.
Do you have any special advice for others who want to follow in your footsteps?
Do your research, no matter what you want to pursue. Be prepared to work, and invest the time needed to develop, grow, and run your business.