Membership Matters: FAQ About APTA Membership

Here are some answers to common questions related to APTA membership:

Is APTA membership growing?
Yes! Membership numbers have steadily increased in recent years. In 2008, APTA had fewer than 73,000 members. Today, APTA has more than 88,000 members—nearly 59,000 are physical therapists, more than 6,000 are physical therapist assistants, and more than 23,000 are students of physical therapy. That's an 18% increase! However, while membership growth has generally outpaced the increase in licensed physical therapists, the percentage of physical therapist members—our largest group—has held steady at approximately 30% of the estimated market.

How does APTA's membership compare with other associations?
Some associations (such as the American Speech-Language Hearing Association) have almost 100% participation because membership is a requirement for licensure or certification. Benchmarking data provided by the American Society of Association Executives suggests that the average market share for voluntary national membership associations is 26%, making APTA's 30% market share better than average.

How do APTA's membership dues compare with other associations?
This is difficult to compare because of differences in related benefits. But while APTA's national dues ($295 annually for physical therapists) are higher than some (such as the American Occupational Therapy Association's annual national dues of $225), they are lower than others (such as the American Chiropractic Association's annual national dues of $660). Learn more about the math of APTA membership dues.

Would a significant increase in membership size lead to a decrease in individual dues?
Perhaps. Annual dues for all categories of national APTA membership are set in the APTA Bylaws, which may be amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the House of Delegates. (Chapter and section dues are governed by their respective elected directors.) Thus, APTA's delegates—on behalf of their constituents—are responsible for deciding if, when, and how to adjust member dues rates. That said, APTA's current rates are consistent with other national associations.

Can APTA reduce the dues burden on new graduates struggling with student loans?
Yes! APTA recently launched a pilot program that extends Career Starter Dues savings. Under the current Career Starter Dues program, student members save 50% on national and chapter dues plus get a free registration to NEXT Conference & Exposition (up to $580 value!) at their first renewal postgraduation. In the pilot program, eligible members 2-4 years postgraduation save 40%, 30%, or 20% on national and participating chapter dues. To qualify, a new graduate must have been an APTA student member at graduation and maintained continuous APTA membership postgraduation. See the Career Starter Dues page for full program details.

Would an increase in membership increase APTA's productivity and influence?
Let's answer that this way: Without members, there is no APTA. Without members providing their expertise and their voices, everything that APTA produces and provides goes away. In addition, membership dues are the most significant element of revenue powering the association's initiatives, representing approximately 41 cents of every dollar received. As a not-for-profit association, APTA uses member dues to support initiatives supporting membership and the profession. It's reasonable to assume that an association that's doing dynamic things for the profession with the support of only 30% of the available market could increase its potential and results with greater support.

Can membership dues affect APTA's political influence?
APTA's lobbying efforts are funded in part by membership dues, but APTA also relies on the support of PT-PAC, the sole fundraising organization providing access to and influence of legislators for the purposes of championing physical therapy interests at the federal level. PT-PAC is funded by the voluntary donations of APTA members—it's illegal for APTA to provide membership dues dollars to PT-PAC for contributions to members of Congress or for nonmembers to donate to PT-PAC. Already among the top 10 political action committees among national health care organizations, PT-PAC could move to the top of that list with just an annual $20 donation from each of APTA's 88,000+ current members. Adding additional members would increase the number of eligible PT-PAC supporters, which could lead to greater influence.

Membership Matters!

Join now, or use our Membership Matters resources to encourage a colleague or peer to join!

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