Career Considerations for Women in Physical Therapy

In APTA's 2010 membership demographic profile, women comprised 68.3% of the membership.

In an effort to develop resources for women in physical therapy, APTA created the Task Force on Women's Initiatives. This group met in 2012 and developed the Operational Plan for Women's Initiatives. The task force discussed a myriad of issues as they pertain to women in the profession of physical therapy and how women function within the association. The issues were complex (as identified in Appendix B).

The task force determined that much of what is happening in the profession as it pertains to women is what is happening in society. Some issues were too large to try and "fix," and it was determined that the best way to assist women in the profession is to improve the professional and educational opportunities, especially for women in their child-rearing years (women who leave the workforce to raise children for a specified period of time and to be determined), as this is the time that many women leave the profession and the association.

A major activity is to provide information on maintaining clinical competence and licensure for women that may scale back or exit clinical practice for a period of time. APTA developed resources to assist women when they choose to reenter practice. Keep in mind that maintaining APTA membership and, when possible, attending continuing education courses either in person or online is of major importance in maintaining a professional profile even while not actively practicing physical therapy.

The following resources may be of assistance to women in physical therapy.

  • Reentering Physical Therapy Practice

    A quick list to support physical therapists and employers in navigating a successful reentry into clinical practice.

  • Licensure

    If at all possible, therapists should maintain a current license. However, if the physical therapy license has lapsed, there is information for each jurisdiction on how to obtain a new license.

  • Self-Assessment Tools

    Includes resources specific to women.

  • Continuing Competence

    Continuing competence of health care professionals is of the utmost importance to a diverse range of stakeholders including the public, health care providers, regulatory bodies, employers, insurers, and professional associations.

  • Owning a Practice

    Practice ownership can result in wonderful rewards and tremendous satisfaction, but there are many factors to consider before starting a private practice.

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