Sometimes you don’t know your true career calling until you’ve had a personal experience that sparks your interest. Samantha Gold had no intention of entering the physical therapy field until she had to undergo physical therapy.
“Going through my own recovery process made me realize my interest in the human body and health,” said Samantha. “PT helped me through so much and I realized that it was definitely something I could help other people with.”
Samantha’s physical therapist gave her a list of recommended physical therapist assistant (PTA) programs, including one at Concorde Career College, North Hollywood campus. From the minute Samantha talked with the admissions representatives, she knew Concorde was the school for her.
From Acting to Physical Therapy
Growing up, Samantha never had any real interest in the healthcare field and instead dreamed of becoming a comedic actress. She received a fine arts degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and loved anything that involved a performance.
Samantha eventually moved from the Chicago area to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood’s entertainment industry. However, after years of auditions and hard work, Samantha began losing her passion for comedic acting and was suddenly diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“While I was going through my recovery, I started to question my decision to stay in the entertainment industry,” Samantha said. “It became really clear to me that life is short. I should be doing something I’m really passionate about and acting wasn’t it anymore.”
Samantha’s cancer treatment involved surgeries that eventually required physical therapy to achieve a full recovery. It was during this time she found a new love for health and learning about the human body. Samantha then decided to pursue a career in physical therapy and enrolled in Concorde, North Hollywood’s Physical Therapy Assistant program in 2018.
Practicing Physical Therapy
Samantha’s biggest challenge during her PTA program was believing in herself. She hadn’t been to school in eight years and was enrolled in courses that were vastly different from her previous acting classes.
But despite her initial reservations, her instructors were always there to help.
“My teachers really motivated me to keep going and made sure I took the extra time to prepare,” Samantha said. “To this day, I still remember and follow the guidance of my program director – ‘if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.’”
Samantha graduated in May 2020 and earned a perfect score on her board exams two months later. She now works as a physical therapist assistant at a skilled nursing facility where she treats mostly geriatric patients. Though she may not be a professional comedian, she is still able to make all her patients smile when they progress in their PT work, even if it’s getting out of bed or trying a new exercise.
“I’ve never been happier,” Samantha said. “I’ve been through it. I know what a vulnerable spot a lot of these people are in, which is why it’s so satisfying and humbling to be able to help them. I have Concorde to thank for that.”