njstudent

10+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2008
5
0
Status
So while it's informative to find information on pay grades, interviews, and the like, I have not found any information on what's next or what's after DPT. Many purport that opportunities abound, and I'd like to ask the question so that these may be fleshed out. As an applicant to several DPT programs I'd like to know more about what's after as I foot the 100k bill. Can I expect a (for me) dull career in a small practice doing the same stuff for decades or are there other more exciting opportunities? Furthermore, while most discuss how PT is and will pay as it is in the future I haven't heard many discuss what PT will become. What do the shareholders, especially those with more power, have to say about this? What's beyond 2020?
 

DPT2DO

10+ Year Member
Sep 22, 2008
69
1
New England
Status
Medical Student
Be prepared for vision 2040, which will feature the double-doctorate degree and mandatory 6-8 year residencies for all PT's. Keep in mind, though, that those with bachelor's and master's degrees will still practice and be reimbursed at the same level, a level which will remain as it has since the infamous balanced budget act. ** I'm just kidding.

Look forward to excellent flexibility and diversity in your career, IF YOU WANT IT. You can wallow away in a small private practice if you would like, billing infinite units of heat, e-stim and ther-ex supervised by an aide.
OR, you can practice full-time in your favorite area of PT, use new techniques, keep up-to-date on current evidence; all while working per-diem in another setting for a grand total of 50 hours per week. This could earn you a nice 80,000+ per year, and there are plenty of jobs so choose freely and wisely. And it will be challenging and interesting, because our field is constantly changing and evolving. Unfortunately, I don't feel that PT will continue to progress beyond its current form with regards to scope, which I think is perfectly fine. Don't worry, there is plenty of work and challenge as it is.

Good luck, and be careful not to get stuck in the rut mentioned above. I've been practicing for nearly 2 years, and thoroughly enjoy the job, outlook and earnings. However, I am compelled to move forward to something I find even more fascinating, as suggested by my handle.
 

fallbackplan

10+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2008
53
0
Status
Rehab Sci Student
Be prepared for vision 2040, which will feature the double-doctorate degree and mandatory 6-8 year residencies for all PT's. Keep in mind, though, that those with bachelor's and master's degrees will still practice and be reimbursed at the same level, a level which will remain as it has since the infamous balanced budget act. ** I'm just kidding.

Even though you're just joking about this, it raises a good question. I was under the impression that with the ATPA's Vision 2020, re-licensure was going to be withheld for those therapists that were not DPTs.

Also Vision 2040 may not be too far off the mark...lol
 
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jesspt

10+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2008
1,120
404
Chicago, IL
Status
DPT / OTD
Fallback -
There's no way that's going to happen. Way too many MS and some BS trained PTs will still be practicing at that time.


Can I expect a (for me) dull career in a small practice doing the same stuff for decades or are there other more exciting opportunities?
NJstudent -
Your career will be what you make it, to a large extent. If you are practicing in a small outpatient clinic and are doing the same thing day and day out, you're to blame, not your employer or your chosen profession.
Essentially, you can chose to become vested in your career and your profession and keep abreast of the latest evidence regarding your given area of practice, or you can "mail it in" and slap some electrical stimulation on a patient, have them regurgitate their home exercise program everyday in the clinic, and have a misearable existence as a therapist.

As for myself, I've been a therapist for ten years, and have seen my practice patterns change markedly over that time frame, while my patient outcomes continue to get better. But, change like this only happens through hard work after graduation, and I've seen way too many therapists who think that the hard work is over once they get their diploma.

As cheesy as it sounds, a commitment to life-long learning is critical to being an effective therapist. If one embraces this, they have many avenues through which they can develop and continue to remain engaged in their practice and profession.
 

njstudent

10+ Year Member
Dec 10, 2008
5
0
Status
All this input makes sense. What have you done since earning your license and what do you foresee happening with regard to your career? What are the different options, specifically, that you know of that PT's take and make?
 

kjvandal

10+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2008
8
1
Status
Rehab Sci Student
part of your physical therapy education is devoting time to teach you about the different specializations and settings in which you can practice in. Keep in mind that when you graduate you will be a generalist physical therapist....the oppurtunities to follow your passion and pursue your favorite pracitice setting is upon you.

Some of the patient settings are:
outpatient orthopedics
acute care hospitals
TBI, spinal cord, and stroke rehabilitation centers
wound/burn care/integumentary
academia/research

Keep in mind that each practice setting has different business models goals. Some outpatient orthopedic clinics are owned by therapists themselves, some are unfortunately owned by physicians (POPTS), while others operate within a hospital. The same is true for all other practice settings. So not only do you need to decide the patient setting, but also the business model/administrative philosophy that the health caree center chooses to operate with.

as touched upon by other posters, the rural settings and urban settings have complete different aspects of health care. In a rural setting you may be the only therapist for 50-100 miles, so you will see such a huge variety of patients with all different pathologies.
 

jesspt

10+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2008
1,120
404
Chicago, IL
Status
DPT / OTD
What have you done since earning your license and what do you foresee happening with regard to your career? What are the different options, specifically, that you know of that PT's take and make?/QUOTE]

The biggest thing I have done is I've attempted to keep up with current best evidence regarding management of orthopaedic conditions. This has allowed my patient outcomes to improve, kept me engaged in the profession, and also helped me achieve board certification as a clinical specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy. Additionally, I've taken a good deal of continuing education; considerably more than is required of me to maintain my license.

I'm currently pursuing my manual therapy certification.

Soon, I'll begin presenting one day continuing education courses for a local education provider, in addition to my full-time job as the manager of an outpatient orthopaedic clinic.

I eventually see myself enrolling in either a t-DPT or an DScPT program and likely participating in a manual therapy fellowship.

The above path is obviously focused on improving my clinical acumen. Other PTs may take more administrative or business-oriented paths, but there are numerous options for those therapists as well.

Additionally, some choose to pursue a PhD and teach in a PT or PTA program.

I'm probably missing some other obvious options, but you get the idea.
 
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