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  • APTA Responds to NYT Article on Doctoring Professions

    APTA responded to an October 1 article in The New York Times, “When the Nurse Wants to Be Called ‘Doctor,’” in which physicians claim that using the term "doctor" by physical therapists and other health care professionals could lead to patient confusion. APTA clarified that in order to provide accurate information to consumers, the association provides clear guidelines for physical therapists regarding the use of the title "Doctor." The guidelines state that physical therapists, in all clinical settings, who hold a doctor of physical therapy degree (DPT), shall indicate they are physical therapists when using the title "Doctor" or "Dr," and shall use the titles in accord with jurisdictional law. APTA also explained the rationale behind making the DPT degree the minimum educational requirement for the accreditation of physical therapist professional programs by 2015.


    • I have no idea what all the fuss is about. When you hold a doctoral degree in any field, yes you are a doctor. APTA must make sure that they do not bow down to the undue pressure of the few egocentrics. The title is not "honorary" and should not be treated as such. Ego bruising is not a crime. Patients are not confused,most know more than the credits given to them. Psychologist who have PhDs, in mental health and not MDs, and can not prescribe medications are NEVER confused with any other health care professions. There are those among us who have had more education than physicians, yet they have not asked to be called Dr times two or three!!!! The health care community is made up of grown ups, and I will expect that those who are confused are possibly the ones that still have some growing up to do.

      Posted by TOYIN ATORO on 10/7/2011 4:09 PM

    • Unfortunately when you introduce yourself as Doctor of Physical Therapy, all the patient hears is the word doctor. I have had patients who were confused and complained that a PT seemed to be representing themselves as a Physician by using the term "Doctor of PT". So I can understand the confusion.

      Posted by Beverly Falls on 10/7/2011 4:53 PM

    • I fully agree with Toyin Atoro. Professors, podiatrists, psychologists and others are given the title "doctor." As long I do not represent myself as something I am not, and emphasize that I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I feel it is appropriate. Why shouldn't the public be aware of the educational status of physical therapists? We are highly trained specialists, and this should be recognized. Let us continue to educate the public.

      Posted by Miira Allen on 10/7/2011 8:02 PM

    • As one who teaches in a DPT program, I never was in favor of the DPT degree, and I haven't changed my mind. Physicians have much, much more clinical training than PT's do. The DPT has diluted the impact of the PhD. Parents of our graduates proudly announce to their friends that their sons and daughters now have PhD's. DPT's can now teach in PT programs when they have less training than someone with an academic master's degree. Pharmacists have PharmD degrees, but they do not use the "Doctor" title. Same with attorneys, who have Juris Doctor degrees. My attorney neighbor told me that attorneys don't use a "doctor" title because they don't want to confuse the public. There is now a movement to have Physician Assistants awarded doctorate level degrees. When will this absurd degree envy stop?

      Posted by Robert Fuchs on 10/7/2011 10:33 PM

    • I also agree with Toyin. Its all about an individual's academic distinctions. Just like ANY other professional, a doctoral degree is a doctoral degree. Robert does raise some good points as well, a DPT should NOT be misconstrued with a PhD. This is where explanation needs to occur on the spot. The problem herein lies in the fact that you are getting everyday lay people talking about the various degrees who lack full understanding of such degrees.

      Posted by David Ravnikar on 10/8/2011 9:56 AM

    • What is the big deal? Identify yourself as who you are? We try to titer out MD, PhD. and DPT like it some type of holy grail. I have been around long enough to see the evolution of our profession from a bachelors or certificate program exclusively to what it is now. I may be the exception to most as my original degree was a BSPT. It was followed by a MS, then DPT. I also had gone through a three year orthopedic PT residency program. This totals about 12 years of schooling for me. The only difference between a PhD. and a DPT from what I can see is that it is researched base while the DPT is clinical based. The confusion arises with the entry level DPT and the transitional DPT. I had a lot of years of clinical experience before I got the DPT. They did not have MS/MA or DPT programs when I started. I do not want to be marginalized by someone who thinks that because they have a PhD. or MD that their clinical value is greater than mine. I in turn will respect the talent and education that they bring to the table. Fighting over who can be called doctor is plain silliness. The chiropractors have been calling themselves doctors and have been recognized as such for years with a hell of a lot less education and clinical exposure than our MA/MS and DPT students. Keep in mind we continue to evolve more toward the medical model. Internships are much longer. Then you have residencies and fellowships after that. The only difference I see with the DPT (particularly the transitional DPT) is that one is more research based and the other is more clinical based. Each has its value and should not be diminished by infighting or marginalization. I teach along side PhDs and bring 40 years of clinical experience that they don't. I am not a researcher but I do not expect be any less of a "doctor" than they are. I have taught medical residents, interns and students in the military. I experienced a very collegial relationship in dealing with the physicians. They were not threatened by me and should not have been. We are the specialists in our field. We are not MDs. Their training in neuromusculoskeletal evaluation was sparse and they were to a person very anxious learn from us. We need to appreciate each other for what we bring to the table rather than trying to bicker over the relevance of our different degrees.

      Posted by Bill O'Grady on 10/8/2011 11:50 AM

    • I agree with Robert Fuchs. There are currently too many PTs with MS or DPT and other alphabet soup after their name who are an embarassment to the profession by demonstration of their lack of skills. Forget the titles and just do what you license and your Assosciation profess you should and can do. If you can't do it, are disgruntled by your income, get another job.

      Posted by Julie OBrien Thompson on 10/8/2011 5:22 PM

    • There's a difference between what you CAN call yourself and what you SHOULD call yourself. Someone who's earned a DPT CAN call him/herself "doctor." And when interacting with others who understand that distinction, no harm is done. But Beverly has it exactly right: "when you introduce yourself as Doctor of Physical Therapy, all the patient hears is the word doctor." On the other hand, Toyin has it exactly wrong: "Patients are not confused,most know more than the credits given to them. Psychologist who have PhDs, in mental health and not MDs, and can not prescribe medications are NEVER confused with any other health care professions." They're confused all the time. Try going to a meeting of parents involved with special education issues, one that might involve a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a clinical social worker, or even a pediatric GP. Most parents are clueless as to which one(s) can prescribe medications, which engage in multimodal therapies, which can provide professional input on 504 plans and IEPs. While those in the profession may know what a physician can do, what a DPT can do (and the distinction between a DPT and a PT who's also a PhD), what a nurse with a PhD can do--and while each may be entitled to call him/herself "doctor"--the overriding point is best serving the patient. And that isn't done by fostering confusion.

      Posted by D. Edward on 10/8/2011 5:34 PM

    • I am a BSPt with 50 yrs of clinical experience and still counting. The "dinosaur" in me sometimes exposes the curmudgeonly and crusty side of my personality, but on the path of extinction I most certainly am not. The DPT debate does not cause me to lose sleep:however, I am saddened by the obvious move in the profession to separate from physicians. I was trained in the era when the word "teamwork" really had meaning-FOR THE PATIENT! I graduated from the University Of Maryland physical therapy program when our graduates were considered amongst the very best BSPTs in the country. Even during clinical training at large academically-oriented facilities, rehab personnel were regarded with respect. Those of my generation fortunate enough to have practiced in professional environments that fostered the real "team approach" know of where I speak. I have personally practiced in every type of P.T setting possible- acute hospital, ECFs, military hospital during the Vietnam War, POPTS, my own private practice, and now other private P.T. practices as a semi-retired part-timer. I have had the opportunity to work closely with BSPTs, MSPTs, and DPTs. At this time. based upon my experiences - present and past - there is no difference in the clinical skills and outcomes amongst the various degree levels -IF- and ONLY IF - we are talking about dedicated, compassionate, and real professionals in every sense. I admit that in the future the preponderance of the DPT trained therapists may lead to research-based outcomes to change my opinion - if I'm still around. I am somewhat perplexed by the tendency of DPTs to overevaluate patients at the initial visit. There is a concept known as clinical judgment that is beneficial and necessary in any practice environment and such clinical judgment is an important quality in any efficient practice. I have seen DPTs create initial evaluations that could be a monograph on the particular diagnostic problem of the patient. The bottom line plan of care is absolutely no different than mine and the specifics of the goals are also comparable. The DPT's evals are truly magnificently detailed and put together;however, they often take twice as long as what may be considered a perfectly good initial eval and encompass so much paper or computer viewing so as to be impracticable. My point being, I see a tendency amongst some DPTs to consciously or unconsciously justify their long academic training by their all encompassing evaluations so as to demonstrate their knowledge of every arcane test for a specific condition or symptom. To me this is an unnecessary use of a professional's time and usually takes time from actual patient care at the first visit. I respect the wonderful evaluative skills of DPTs I have encountered, but I feel my hands-on skills, although sometimes different than those of the DPT have yields similar positive results for my patients. I'm nearing the final yrs of a profession that has provided me with immense satisfaction on many levels and I realize the 2020 APTA goals are being gradually successfully attained. But, I see, as do others, a coming disruptive direct competition with MDs that will only continue to raise health care costs. Thee are other reasons I was not in favor of the DPT trend but I've said enough for now.

      Posted by Herschel Budlow on 10/8/2011 10:21 PM

    • Hi I have gone through all remarks. One thing I noticed that we have no idea that our profession is used by other professionals including physician as cash cow to support their business. They are ruining our profession image and stander .It is our duty to look out of the box. To protect and prosper we should do all possible measures. Profession always grow and prosper when they are independent. Not working under or for higher medical authorities. Profession grows with R&D . When you work under or for higher medical authority R&D become their choice and not yours. You work and they take credit. It is wake up call for our profession. By the way you have any degree they call you doctor Deepak

      Posted by Deepak sardey on 10/10/2011 7:56 AM

    • We need to support our profession and those who have doctorates. I hope that we will soon change the regulatory designator to PTD. I look forward to the day with this is a non issue and all physical therapists are doctors. MDs didn't used to be MDs. At one time they were MBs. What is happening in our profession is not new. The last profession to change their regulatory designator was optometry to OD. At one time optometrists did not consider themselves doctors and now most do. Patients now consider optometrists doctors as well. I have heard friends of mine say that they are going to see the eye doctor. Times change and we must not be threatened by it. If we want to improve our profession and improve the quality of care that is given we need to move forward as a profession.

      Posted by Dr Randolph on 10/22/2011 1:41 AM

    • Is this actually a debate? How stupid. If I were a doctor I wouldn't care if the physical therapist called him or herself Dr. Smith. :) Why would I?

      Posted by Stephen on 2/1/2012 11:24 AM

    • It is verye simple: if in the rest of the world officially Doctors are only people holding a PhD title then why not MD should be only called physician? The influence of Hollywood is affecting the entire world however oficially physician or health profession practitioners are not holding the title Doctors in any country rather than US and Canada. If a physican wants to hold a doctor degree he needs to follow a PhD. It is not only the time fact but: BSc (4 years + MSC (2.5 years) + PhD (4-5 research years) + Postdoc (2-5 years) and sometimes you need a habilitation (4-5 years) = by 15 years to start your career as a scientist.

      Posted by Harvey on 3/23/2012 4:14 PM

    • Can PhDs legitimately claim to be doctors? Absolutely! The term “doctor” is derived from the Latin verb docere, which means “to teach.” Historically, it refers to a teacher or, by extension, a scholar. It did not specifically refer to a physician. This title was later co-opted by the medical community though, due to the respect and prestige that it imputes. In one of life’s great ironies, many uninformed laypeople now perceive the medical degree to be more prestigious than the lowly PhD, declaring that people who have earned the latter are “not real doctors.” in the most of the countries physician are not holding the title doctor. FX UK, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, ect Only PhD are officially called Doctors. You can get in troubles in Germany if you called him self Doctor if you are a physician.

      Posted by Charles on 3/23/2012 4:37 PM

    • A physical therapist, employed by the Veterans Administration, introduced himself to me as "Doctor" and although he never said "I am a medical doctor," he certainly allowed me to believe that he was. For example, I asked about the drug Meloxicam, triggerpoint injections, etc. and he said "I don't prescribe any drugs here," which implied he COULD precribe drugs, but did not do so in that particular program. He also insisted I begin physical therapy even though I had just suffered a fall in which I badly injured my shoulder and knee without first requesting x-rays or MRIs and the therapy exacerbated these probelms. I thought at the time this man was an orthopedic surgeon and had I known he was only a physical therapist, I would have questioned his decision and saved myself a lot of pain and suffering. I am in the process of filing a complaint against this physical therapist with the state Board of Medicine and one of my complaints is that he misrepresented himself.

      Posted by LeeH on 12/2/2012 12:16 AM

    • Real simple here as I've seen the attitude of the DPT now for years. As a senior therapist who specializes in manual and neuro therapy it is astounding how the new DPT believes their paper with zero days of experience equates to decades of actual clinical experience. I've actually seen clinics where their PT's are arrogantly advertised as "Dr" so and so. It is PT school--I've looked at several programs. The exact same curriculum as my BSPT. You do not go to PT school and then go to "Advanced PT school." Also unlike a legitimate doctorate you do not face orals nor do you have an actual thesis that you must defend. Not your end of the year research project--a year or so long thesis--and defense. Your "doctorate" is a sham and a false representation to the public. Nothing more than a vain attempt to bolster your egos led by the APTA as well as the attempt to gain direct access universally like the chiros. That's what you did. You misled the public. The only ones who think your doctorate is legitimate are the DPTs. The rest of the medical profession is shaking their heads in disgust. And they are right.

      Posted by Chip Hurst PT on 3/30/2013 1:03 AM

    • DPT programs have gross anatomy and write a Disertation.. I'm a nurse and I even know that... They do way more than the old PT program and deserve to be called by their degree "doctor".

      Posted by Jane Goode on 7/27/2014 8:51 PM

    • Chip Hurst: I'm a DPT student. And I'm currently writing my thesis. A thesis I am orally defending next semester mind you. And I don't know what curriculums you're looking at, but we do more than twiddle our thumbs for NINE more semesters than you took in school. Tooth, jaw, mouth specialist (Dentist/Orthodontist) = Dr. Eye Specialist (Optometrist) = Dr. Medication specialist (Pharmacist) = Dr. Foot Specialist (Podiatrist) = Dr. Musculoskeletal & Movement Specialist.....

      Posted by Christina on 9/12/2014 4:31 PM

    • I am totally amazed to see that some say that the patients would confused if a DPT call himself "Doctor". I don't know why physicians find their gluteus maximus burnt when they a DTP is being called "Doctor"? Why this thing doesn't happen in the case of dentists ?

      Posted by Muhammad Ather Hashmi on 10/3/2014 6:50 PM

    • Most of the PT's that are apposed to the DPT are those that dont have it. I have DPT but I went through the 6 years of schooling and doing a residency right now. If you would look at the curriculum of the DPT and of the bachelors or even the earlier masters PT programs you would see that there is more being taught in the DPT programs then was taught before, hence the transition from masters to DPT. How do you claim that MD's have more medical training to be called Doctors when were are in two different fields. PTs treat impairments/dysfunction while physicians treat disease for the most part. If you talk to any MD they will agree they have far less anatomy than we as PT's have had. In addition, the Doctor only denotes the level of education. Hence, MD have a professional doctorates just like DPT's. The fact is we have earned it and we paid for it so we should be able to use it. I agree that we shouldn't confuse patients and denote that we are PT's. However why should be low ball our profession and make it seem like its not important. We are already under valued by physicians and I have been told to my face that all we are exercise boys. We should be letting our patients know that we actually are expanding our knowledge as a profession and therefore providing better care.

      Posted by Max on 11/5/2014 12:37 PM

    • I have a PhD. I would NEVER introduce myself as 'Dr.' to the patients taking part in our research. (Nor do I use the title in any other setting.) In colloquial english, I am NOT 'a doctor'. Neither are you if you have a DPT. If you believe your degree provides you with the title you should use for yourself, then I might start calling myself 'Master' for maximum effect.

      Posted by Dan on 11/18/2014 8:32 PM

    • First to the nurse--actually we had gross anatomy as well. So that would show you really don't have any idea what you're talking about after all. Now to Christina. You did not have "NINE" more semesters of PT school than I did. The "NINE" extra semesters would be a total of an extra four and a half years more than the old traditional PT school. The DPT program can be anywhere from 2.5 years to 4 years after an undergraduate degree in a non PT field--extended more on more internships and less for the shorter programs. If you had gone to the four year DPT that would have given you four extra semesters if it was all academic which it wasn't. As far as "defending your thesis" you are defending in the same way we "defended" our research papers that we did at the end of the curriculum. As you should know which you do but won't admit it, a real defense is a thesis that takes traditionally a year or more to write in graduate school while the graduate student is teaching courses and engaging in research for the university. Do not attempt to compare your end of class paper with a legitimate graduate defense thesis. Also are these "NINE" extra semesters part of your undergraduate degree which have nothing to do with PT school? Because your claim doesn't mathematically add up unless you are on a fellowship post your entry level degree. Your attitude and misconception of what you did is proving my point. You did not go to "advanced PT school" after a regular PT degree. You went to PT school. Sorry you're 100K-200K in debt to do that for the same pay scale. Good luck with that.

      Posted by chip hurst on 12/25/2014 2:56 AM

    • pls we cn ourselves doctors.. ur problem is dt u dont knw d diff. btw a MD and a doctor we physio dont say we re medical doctor we re saying we can be called doctor bcos we re doctors of physiotherapy simple... go and learn

      Posted by tunde on 1/7/2015 1:09 AM

    • So tired of hearing this argument. I just want to practice PT. And today it requires a doctoral degree, so that is what I will have to get. And I will pay the incredibly high price tag for it, just to be able to have a career I enjoy. When I graduate, I will say, "Hi, I'm Bob, I'm a physical therapist who wants to help you." Forget all the rest. The debate is useless. There are people who abuse their titles in every industry. And their will always be people who are insecure because their "letters" are different than the new generation. Oh well.

      Posted by PTBob123 on 1/29/2015 3:07 PM

    • The big difference and let's all be damn honest fellow DPTs,,none of us is near as smart as MDs and the majority of us would be laughed at if we tried to get into medical school. Same thing with Chiros, Nurses and Dentists (who now call themselves doctor). Get real we are Physical Therapists and should not be posing.

      Posted by Ted Barton, DPT on 3/26/2015 3:35 PM

    • As a lifelong client of PTs, I do not believe DPTs should call themselves or introduce themselves with the title Doctor. Doctor, especially in the healthcare profession, denotes a specific academic degree and a specific profession, that only an MD and licensed physician can perform. I disagree with Mr. Barton that some/all PTs are not as smart as physicians. My current main PT (who is herself a DPT!) holds undergraduate degrees in biology (bachelor of science, which is far more rigorous, and requires two years of chemistry work) and philosophy. Most of the PTs I have had in my life, growing up and now as an adult with cerebral palsy, were outstanding communicators who taught me not only how to maximize gross motor skills but also different surgeries (which led to me getting more info and having several orthopedic surgeries in my teens) and in general, self-empowerment in a way that MDs just cannot. Communication is key in health professions, and in this way PTs are usually much more skilled than physicians!

      Posted by Thomas on 8/23/2015 8:12 AM

    • The DPT denotes an educational level. It in no way makes the therapist a physician. It's no more appropriate a title than introducing oneself as Bachelor so and so or Master so and so.

      Posted by Brian Gehley -> >FX_<J on 9/16/2015 12:18 PM

    • Toyin, would love to know what exactly the "more" education you have is, relative to that of a physician....considering physicians (particularly surgeons/orthopaedists who often refer to PT), have 4 years undergrad, 4 years medical school, 5 years residency training, 1-2 year fellowship...not to mention additional research year MD training and/or traveling fellowships and additional doctorate degrees. Pretty sure you aren't going to get much support arguing there is much more than what MD/DO physicians go to school for....You need a serious fact check. There is no need for physical therapists, nursing doctorates, or any other healthcare professionals other than MDs/DOs to be introducing themselves as doctor. It is misleading and inappropriate.

      Posted by Jessica on 10/20/2015 6:46 PM

    • I have a random question, what is a good major to study for physical therapy before grad school?

      Posted by Juliet on 11/1/2015 10:26 AM

    • Student PT here. I understand where both sides are coming from. Side A discussing how this can lead to patient misconception toward the role of PT regarding using the term "Dr" Side B hardcore APTA advocates that push forward education on the public toward the meaning of the DPT. I agree with both sides, but I lean towards educating the public. Yes BsPTs and MsPTs are more than qualified to Eval and Treat, but it is important to note that we NEEDED the DPT degree for 2 reasons. 1. We needed DPT to push for direct access. Something that would benefit all of our patients. This will help the push toward preventative medicine more. Preventative medicine is cheaper medicine in the lifespan of an individual. All healthcare providers know that. 2 We needed higher level individuals to create more researchers to improve the field of physical therapy as medicine continues its exponential improvement. We are not looking for separation from the MD; we are looking at improving our professional relationships through the growth of our personal knowledge. I look forward to working with ALL healthcare professionals. except Chiropractors.The foundation of Chiropracty is historically absurd.

      Posted by Ricardo on 12/6/2015 12:22 AM

    • Physician, Dentists and veterinarian are the real doctors no more no less!

      Posted by Mar Joon Obfenda on 2/18/2017 5:54 PM

    • Wow. Interesting topic. Anyone with doctoral level degree can be called a Dr. I think I am fine with that. That's what I've been doing anyway. Now DPT is added to the doctoral program list. I think APTA's mistake is to make DPT the entry level in the physical therapy profession, rather than an advanced/specialized degree above Master degree. The entry level PT should be bachelor degree or master degree, not doctoral degree. Most medical doctor is shortened to Dr. In my opinion, Medical Doctors should introduce themselves as Medical Doctor rather than just vaguely as a "Doctor". I think APTA made DPT the entry level so all new PT needs more years of schooling, and also at the same time forcing the practicing clinicians to acquire more schooling to comply with the new requirement. This practice is unethical and it will backfire. Who will pay 100K of schooling from undergraduate to DPT, so they can make 60K a year?

      Posted by Maggie on 7/6/2017 2:05 PM

    • I totally agree with the comment above from Brian Gehley that the DPT denotes an educational level and in no way, it makes the therapist a physician or a doctor. I have a DPT degree myself and I believe that it's about time APTA release an official guideline that PTs with DPTs are not supposed to address themselves or by their patients and colleagues as "Dr. Joe" and so on. Because we never address those PTs with MSPT as "Master Joe". It's purely an advanced form of education and should not confuse the patients, most especially.

      Posted by Raf on 11/19/2017 11:18 AM

    • This is the big point. The entire notion of the DPT was for one reason--to gain direct access. And most insurances don't reimburse direct access as the DPT is not a specialty doctor. A specialty doctor went to medical school then specialized--like a dermatologist or psychiatrist or radiologist. Or six years of chiro. Or podiatry school with a surgical residency. The PT went to an unrelated four year degree then PT school. The PT school got extended mainly with internships, they call the end of term paper we all did the "thesis," and the whole thing accomplished nothing more than getting PT students hugely in debt for a failed experiment. But it makes some feel better about their insurmountable debt by calling themselves doctor when they aren't--at all. In academia an english teacher may refer to himself as Dr in class as a teacher at a university. He would not come to a scene of an accident and say "everyone be calm--I'm a doctor." Absurd? Well that's exactly what the DPT is doing. The degree never even had to go past a BS. The core requirements are the same--BS,MS,DPT. Sorry most of you made terrible strategic life choices. But your not entitled to say Doctor in healthcare next to a real one.

      Posted by charles on 1/8/2018 4:33 AM

    • The fact that the PT programs have moved to a DPT is just for prestige. The program itself is slightly different than my MPT program. Clients and the public are confused by this degree. They equate it to a PHD degree, which it certainly is not. I’ve heard this several times from patients and the public, Whom I quickly try to correct. Any PT who refers to him/herself as doctor is just false, confusing and unnecessary. The whole shift was really not in the best interest of the profession.

      Posted by Kristyn on 4/1/2018 12:22 PM

    • I work with these "Dr's" everyday. It's a complete ego boosting joke. Especially when you see them attaching 1# ankle weights to 65-year-old pts with broken arms, etc. Call yourselves whatever you like. The medical community knows it's nothing more than an attempt to be a real Dr

      Posted by Joe on 4/17/2018 3:31 PM

    • Mar Joon Obfenda. Agree 100%. I also believe the PhDs too should be referred to either “Dr.” if they conduct research or teach then “Professor” if and only when they attain full professorship. Any other “doctoral” program is just an ego builder. An extra semester beyond a Master’s program is a joke for the right to call yourself “doctor.” and offensive to those who have a Master’s degree. Now if you actually perform some type of research, actually complete a thesis then go on to successfully defend a dissertation and earn a PhD, well that’s a different story. That has earned you the right to refer to yourself as “Doctor.” The funny thing is, people who demand to be referred to as “Doctor” for a sham degree are usually compensating for lack of ability. “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls***.” You know, like your sham degree does.

      Posted by Haze on 5/11/2018 12:45 AM

    • The elephant in the room already mentioned is to account for why a DPT was ever desired. Social psychologists inform us that society is becoming more narcissistic. The DPT is simply a reflection of that, the special, important snowflake that it represents.

      Posted by Gudrun on 6/14/2018 6:23 PM

    • First, I would like to say, I very much agree with Gudrun's 6/14/2018 comment. I went to physical therapy for hydrocephalus when I was kid in a small town and the therapist had a bachelors degree and many years of experience. Fast forward 30+ years, I went to a young physical therapist with a DPT after foot surgery along with damage that hydrocephalus causes after being undiagnosed for many years as well as spinal muscular atrophy which was not diagnosed until I was in my 20s. If I feel I need physical therapy, I still go to an MD for diagnosis and referral to a physical therapist. I believe the DPT can definitely be misleading to a patient seeking treatment. The credential does not make the physical therapist. I think experience and bedside manner in addition to the basic education make the physical therapist.

      Posted by Chris on 9/7/2018 7:09 AM

    • I suffered pains on my back, neck and shoulders after a car accident. A physician prescribed me with meds. to relax muscles and for arthritis. Meds. did not help, I had to stop because it bothers my digestive system. I requested for a PT to help me and I am glad I did. To get a PT, one needs a referral from a Physician. My Physical Therapist is wonderful. He knows what he is doing and I call him Dr. "__" because of his expertise. He did not introduce himself as a doctor but I call him Dr. "__" anyway. Do PTs take board exams to be License Physical Therapists? I think if they are board passers and licensed to do physical therapy, they should be addressed as doctors in the field of physical therapy, same as denstists, opthalmologists, ortho, etc.... They all work for patients to get better. The only difference, PTs can't prescribe medications but with their expertise, help patients manually get better from pains and sufferings.

      Posted by Maria on 9/23/2018 11:15 AM

    • For the person who said that people who get confused about the Dr title should “grow up” - that is a very narrow minded stance and you need to reconsider. It IS misleading. Many folks equate Dr with physician. Have you ever heard of health literacy? You’d be surprised how little the general public knows about the health care system. I’ve worked with geriatrics for 15 years and they would ABSOLUTELY be confused. When I was in home health and wore scrubs, patients and family members repeatedly referred to me as a “nurse,” simply because of my gender and clothing choice! It didn’t matter that I explained the difference to them a dozen times and wore a name badge with a LARGE tag with the letters PT on it. So I absolutely agree that they would stop listening after hearing the title Dr and assume you have the same skills and training as a physician. If you want to be called Dr them you need to pursue a different area of work. I can go online and get a DPT degree in about a year! There is no doctoral thesis. A few classes on differential diagnosis and pharmacology. That’s it! No research project, no dissertation...just a few extra credits. It’s just not the same level of training as any other “Dr” and I don’t think any PT should be representing themselves as a Dr.

      Posted by Alexis on 1/25/2019 4:13 PM

    • @Haze I don't know of ANY Doctoral program that awards a Doctorate in just one semester. Every one I'm aware of is somewhere between 4 and 8.

      Posted by Max Sedanka on 2/28/2019 6:16 PM

    • Physical therapists of all education levels should be proud of the direction the profession is headed. As a DPT student I am looking forward to having a Doctorate degree. I have worked with a variety of therapists, some who wish to be called Dr., some who do not, and some who can not. The doctorate degree is not a higher level of experience, but a higher level of education that better prepares you to function as an autonomous practitioner who can treat patients safely and effectively without physician referral or consultation. We are taught how to differentiate between musculoskeletal conditions that can be effectively treated through therapeutic interventions and conditions that require physician referral or a trip to the ER. We respect the realm of the physician, which is different from the realm we specialize in. As in any profession, including medical doctors, experience should improve performance. I do not want to be a medical doctor, but I do want to be a doctor of physical therapy. And I would venture to guess that most physical therapists do not wish to be confused with a medical doctor. It is true that patients may confuse one type of doctors with another, but this is not a legitimate argument for the case against our title. Patient confusion is very common in the health care setting for a multitude of reasons and should not be used to deny a title earned. The Doctorate also puts an emphasis on evidence based practice. Where is the evidence to support patient confusion as a determinant? Current evidence supports the doctorate level education for safe, competent, and effective autonomous practice without a script from a physician. Our education prepares us to identify when to treat, refer the patient to their physician, or send the patient to the ER. PTs of all levels of academic achievement and experience level can be proud that the profession is progressing and preparing for the future, where more Doctorate level professionals will be a benefit to our communities.

      Posted by Rachel on 4/3/2019 10:22 PM

    • The DPT is earned through an accredited school which has met the criteria to offer a doctorate level education. If you graduate with a degree, you are a doctor of physical therapy. A "doctor" is a level of education, not a profession. A "physician" is a profession and not a level of education. You are free to call yourself Dr. X as long as you qualify what your education was in, as any "Dr." should. There's really no debate. It's that simple.

      Posted by DC on 4/19/2019 12:38 PM

    • Funny it was a “surgeon”, a “MD, and a ortho specialist that told my daughter she would never jump, walk normal, or possibly never run again after she suffered a blow to her knee. Those words destroyed a young healthy confident and beautiful girl. Her physical scars were nothing compared to the mental scarring. BUT it was a DPT who ,, let me say that again, it was a DPT who gave her life back, she is now a DIV 1 college athletic competing in sprints/ long jump which by the way she using the leg she injured to jump!! Along with a new orthopedic surgeon who believes in what the DPT do and working as a team , my daughter now shows her scars proudly as a reminder of the strength it took to overcome this and not as a reminder of what was lost. This experience changed her life and is now in the DPT program herself!( yes she has a thesis for those who feel they don’t)

      Posted by Momofsky on 6/1/2019 9:18 AM

    • Like any product in the free enterprise world, the product must be properly licensed as well as "protected". The problem will continue to persist becasue as we advanced from a BS, to MPT to DPT our practice act remained the same and we were never taken out of the "Ancillary group category" The insurance fee schedules are not changed despite the level of advancement in the education represented by DPT and residencies and fellowships. The problem is that everyone keeps thinking that is not about the money. Its called a return on investment. So, we cant move an inch unless we change our practice act and remove ourselves from the ancillary group. Chiropractors have already stepped in our turf and are calling it Chiropractic Therapy and can bill 97110, 97140, 97112 the same as we can. The only difference they got 6 credits of rehab training called Physio 1 and Physio 2. Insurance companies are already considering them "preventative care" which will replace us soon. Imagine us being able to bill and treat patients with only 6 credits of training and no school debt. So lets leave aside the divisiveness and unite to change our practice act and forget the nonsense focus on title usage and dry needling. It about advancing the profession and not fighting over BS; MPT and or DPT. Unity and self-respect is what Chiropractors have established and maintained ahead of us enabling them to do whatever the hell they want and laugh in our face.

      Posted by Tom Holiday on 8/19/2019 11:41 AM

    • I do what is best for my patient. I’m proud to have a clinical doctorate of physical therapy, but announcing that or wearing a white lab coat is not helpful to my patients. My goal is to be the best practitioner I can be. In particular, the hospital is a mysterious place for most people so my job, the reason I’m there, is provide the best patient centered care I am able to do. At my hospital, that means I go beyond my job description. Introducing myself by my first name doesn’t lessen my impact on my contribution to their care or hold back my field of study. Helping a nursing assistant doesn’t change the fact I have a doctorate, but it may change the patient’s experience. It’s the little things that matter. And let us not forget... Physical Therapist are educators!!! It’s such an important role we have in health care. Why not educate people about our education and our role in their recovery?

      Posted by Jillian on 10/6/2019 4:47 AM

    • I would also say there is a reason why physical therapists exist and why we are well educated. There is just too much information out there that medical physicians cannot keep on hand. We are specialists on human movement. That’s why we go to doctorate programs... to specialize! And writing a thesis doesn’t make you a better clinician!!! Being educated on how to understand the information given in scholarly journals is very crucial! My job is to educate my patients guided by my experience and the selected research of others. I will not believe my job is less than because I relied on evidence based research than proving my own theory.

      Posted by Jillan on 10/6/2019 5:31 AM

    • fine ok if they want to be called "dr" it must be important to those who want that title-as long as they know and make it clear to their patients that they are NOT an md/physician/medical DR. some think they know as much or more than a physician THEY DONOT!!!! I all my dentist fr and may a psychologist with that degree dr--these all know and let others know what their title of "dr" means/stand for and not physician

      Posted by maman on 12/29/2019 12:49 AM

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