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The February issue of PT in Motion magazine takes a look at the financial realities faced all too often by graduates of DPT programs—who, on average, have incurred about $83,000 in loan debt—and suggests how to change those realities for future generations. According to some of the individuals interviewed, what’s needed are educational programs as early as high school to teach students basic financial literacy.

Those interviewed include PT educators, financial aid officers, and PTs in the field. All agree that too many PTs carry a debt load that not only consumes a large chunk of their starting salary, but that actually can affect their career path. Experts such as Mary Ann Wharton, PT, curriculum coordinator at St Francis University in Pennsylvania, believe that graduates saddled with so much debt may make career choices "based on saving money," rather than primarily on taking advantage of opportunities to expand their clinical expertise.

Part of the solution, most agree, involves helping students better understand finances early on, so that they avoid taking on so much debt to begin with. But finding the space for that education—be it at the high school, undergraduate, or DPT level—can be a challenge. The piece examines some of the ways PT schools are responding to this educational challenge.

Also included: a quick-read sidebar on efforts by APTA to help current students more thoughtfully consider debt, and to help PTs better manage their student debt load.

"Financial Literacy and the New DPT Grad" is featured in the February issue of PT in Motion magazine and is available to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.

Also newly opened for public access: the latest "Compliance Matters" column on the new current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. Check it out!


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