The non-clinical spotlight series exists to shed light on all of the interesting paths that physical therapy professionals have taken. Today’s spotlight focuses on Ed Kane, PT, PhD, ATC, who went from military physical therapist to physical therapy professor at University of St. Augustine – San Marcos.
What’s your name, title, and current role?
Edward J. Kane PT PhD ATC. I’m a professor at University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Marcos, CA.
What made you decide to pursue PT?
I played sports in college, and was interested in kinesiology and the muscular system. My Mom had a major stroke when I was 19. She was only 39 and seeing her in PT introduced me to the profession.
How many years did you practice before you went into education?
If you include being a clinical instructor, then it was 3 years. I started teaching EMG classes after 5 years. I landed my first full-time teaching role after 20 years.
What made you decide you wanted to become a physical therapy school professor?
I was teaching throughout my career as a clinical instructor. While I was in the Navy (26 years), I was assigned to teach at the Army Baylor PT program, which is where I really fell in love with scholarship and teaching.
When you decided you wanted to teach, did you go full-throttle, or did you start as an adjunct?
I retired from the US Navy and immediately became a full-time professor at U. St Augustine
(Non-Clinical PT note: Dr. Kane was my ther-ex and anatomy professor, and he’s AWESOME! Tough, but fair, and incredibly devoted to his students. Just saying!)
What steps did you take to become an educator? Did you gain additional certifications or highlight existing experience? Did you network? Apply to job postings?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much to add here. Really, it’s all about life-long-learning. Initially, I obtained my entry-level MSPT degree at Duke, followed by working in the clinic, then becoming a clinical instructor.
I later went back for an advanced Masters Degree from USC with a Clinical Specialization in Musculoskeletal Disorders, after which time I returned to the clinic, obtained my CA EMG license, and worked to obtain my ATC.
I then spent more clinic time in Navy, as well as multiple assignments for the US Olympic Sports Medicine Committee. I eventually went back for my PhD at University of Virginia.
The bottom line is, shoot for obtaining your PhD. Once that is obtained, doors just continually open in regard to teaching in PT programs.
What are the pros/cons of being an educator?
- Everyday, morning till night working to help students
- Seeing them advance and then graduate
- Meeting former students at conferences.
- Seeing the occasional unsuccessful student. That is not easy.
How does the pay compare to that of a treating PT?
The pay is comparable.
Is it difficult to teach and maintain a clinical job?
It really depends on the school. At USA, we have a release day that allows faculty to have a full day in the clinic.
Are there options for PTs to teach in other settings?
Yes, some PTs teach in PTA programs. There are hundreds of continuing education courses that PTs teach. Many universities are beginning to offer online courses.
Is a PhD required to teach?
CAPTE is moving to require that full time faculty have a terminal degree (PhD, EdD etc) or be working towards the degree.
Can a shy or introverted person be a successful educator?
Absolutely. If you know your subject thoroughly it will be easy to share that knowledge.
What are the top 5 pieces of advice to an aspiring educator?
- Know your subject
- Love your subject
- Care about your students
- Get to know your students
- Have fun with your students.
What are some traits you think make an excellent educator?
Compassion for the subject, caring about your students, being a life-long learner.
Thanks for your insight, Ed!