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More needs to be done to care for the physical therapy workforce.

Physical therapy is recognized as an essential health care service, yet PTs and PTAs are often excluded from state and federal programs that would incentivize individuals from pursuing careers in the field through student loan debt relief or assistance in defraying the cost of education.

Why It Matters

The need for care from PTs and PTAs is rising, but education costs are high. To expand the physical therapy workforce to meet this need, more needs to be done to relieve the financial pressures faced by the profession.

Our Position

APTA supports legislation that allows PTs and PTAs to access federal student loan debt repayment programs and other incentives to pursue a career in physical therapy.


Two important initiatives are expected to be introduced that could have significant impact on the physical therapy workforce.

The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act, introduced in the previous Congress, would allow physical therapists to participate in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, helping to ensure that individuals in rural and underserved areas have access to needed care. APTA is working with members of Congress in both parties to reintroduce this bill. 

The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act, signed into law at the end of 2022, is a new federal program that will provide scholarships and stipends to accredited higher education programs to recruit qualified individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue education in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, respiratory therapy, and audiology. APTA is working to secure the necessary federal funding is appropriated for this program.

Provide your support easily via APTA's Patient Action Center.

Recommended Content

Position Paper: Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access

Aug 12, 2021 / Position Paper

Position Paper: The Allied Health Work Diversity Act

Jul 15, 2021 / Position Paper

Additional Education and Workforce Legislation Advocacy Content

APTA's Advocacy Road Map: Empowerment for the Profession, Results for Patients

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The association's public policy priorities are aimed at unleashing physical therapy's potential to take on pressing health care challenges.

Final Spending Bill Falls Short in Offsetting Fee Schedule Cuts

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The omnibus package provides insufficient relief, but it does include several wins for the profession in other areas.

APTA Advocacy Roundup: What's Been Passed by Congress, What's Still on the Table

Sep 20, 2022 / Roundup

Here's the status of APTA-supported legislation on the fee schedule, telehealth, prior authorization, the PTA differential, and more.

More Access, Less Student Debt: 'Flash Action' Advocacy Coming Sept. 14-15

Sep 12, 2022 / News

The 2022 APTA Flash Action Strategy is a two-day effort to support the inclusion of PTs in the National Health Services Corps.

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Aug 1, 2022 / Roundup

District offices, town halls, maybe a visit to your clinic? Here are some topics worth mentioning.

Lawmakers Urge Veterans Affairs to Raise Pay, Expand Roles of PTs and PTAs

Jul 5, 2022 / News

In an advocacy win, APTA-supported recommendations aimed at increasing veterans' access to PTs and PTAs are now part of a spending bill.

Support for Workforce Diversity, Research on SDOH Solutions Part of New Bill

Mar 18, 2022 / News

The APTA-backed federal legislation would provide scholarships and stipends to increase diversity in physical therapy education programs.

Toward a More Diverse Profession: 'Flash Action' Advocacy Coming Oct. 20-21

Oct 15, 2021 / News

The 2021 APTA Flash Action Strategy begins with a virtual event, followed by a two-day effort to support a proposed federal grants program.

Overhaul of Federal Loan Forgiveness Program Could Make It More Accessible

Oct 12, 2021 / News

Retooling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program opens up the possibility of greater participation — including for some PTs and PTAs.

Workforce Diversity Bills in Congress Would Aid PT Education Programs

May 21, 2021 / News

APTA-supported bipartisan legislation would help 5 health care professions, including physical therapy, increase student diversity.