Words matter. The use of "physical therapy," "physiotherapy," and the PT, DPT, and PTA titles should be restricted to qualified professionals.
When the public receives physical therapy treatment, people deserve to know what treatment they are receiving and that the person performing the treatment is a licensed physical therapist who has the requisite education and training to provide it. Unfortunately, people who are not licensed physical therapists have held themselves out to the public as providing "physical therapy" or "physiotherapy," or use the initials "PT" to describe their services. It's misleading, unethical, and, in some states, illegal. Worse, it's a disservice to individuals who are in need of physical therapy
Why It Matters
The training that physical therapists receive through accredited physical therapy education programs and the licensing requirements PTs must meet—including passing a national competency examination—ensure that the public is served by professionals with necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities. Allowing terms and titles to be used by individuals without these unique qualifications weakens the profession and puts the public at risk.
APTA works to ensure that state and federal laws and regulations support term and title protection for physical therapists.
Oct 1, 2019 / Open Access
Physical therapy is not a generic term. It describes the care and services provided by or under the direction of a licensed physical therapist.
Additional Term and Title Protection Advocacy Content
Mar 21, 2023 / News
The resource center, created by APTA and APTA Private Practice, now offers information on MPPR, the PTA differential, and more.
Mar 1, 2023 / Roundup
It's looking like a busy year for state legislatures, with the potential for some good news for the profession. Now's your chance to help.
Aug 26, 2022 / Roundup
State advocates for the profession racked up some important wins this year. Here are highlights.
Apr 15, 2022 / Statement
APTA maintains that "physical therapy," whether provided in person or virtually, is performed or directed by licensed physical therapists.
Feb 23, 2021 / Roundup
The fight to improve direct access continues, use of the licensure compact grows, and telehealth is being discussed just about everywhere.