• PT, MPT, MSPT, DPT, Residency – What Does It All Mean?

    For a long time Physical Therapists were trained with a Bachelors degree, and this is
    the degree by which they could apply for and eventually receive a license to practice
    physical therapy. The physical therapy profession is ever changing, and as we arrive
    at a place in the healthcare world where Physical Therapists (P.T.’s) are often at the
    front lines of initial injury and injury prevention – the vast majority of accredited
    physical therapy programs now require a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT).

    Of course, the profession did not change over night from a Bachelors degree to a
    Doctorate. The profession transitioned, first, to a Masters degree (MPT or MSPT)
    and in the past 15 years or so most programs have transformed to doctorate
    degrees. If your P.T. graduated from physical therapy school prior to that time, then
    you might see the letters “tDPT” by his/her name. The “t” stands for “transitional”,
    which means someone whom graduated with a MPT or MSPT went back to school to
    complete additional coursework and research to earn the equivalent of a DPT.

    If you happen to roll your ankle playing in your weekend basketball or soccer game,
    or “tweak” your knee skiing or snowboarding in the greatest snow on Earth – then
    you are likely to see a Physical Therapist before you see any other healthcare
    provider. Utah, like most states, offers Direct Access, meaning most of the time you
    can go straight to see your P.T. versus needing to get a referral from your primary
    physician prior to seeing a P.T. This often eliminates unnecessary X-rays and
    increased healthcare costs. Physical Therapists are excellent diagnosticians, and
    often spend the majority of their day evaluating and re-evaluating injuries. Not only
    that, but often P.T.’s just inherently have more time to spend with you than your
    physician might – making physical therapists the obvious choice to deal with your
    orthopedic injuries. If further care is needed, or your P.T. does not believe your
    injury can be dealt with appropriately in physical therapy, he or she will refer you to
    the most appropriate healthcare professional.

    Because of the increased demand on physical therapists, and P.T.’s performing more
    primary care provider roles, most of us are pushing for further education.
    “Residency” for physical therapists was born from this idea. What is Residency?
    Residency is when a physical therapy graduate (usually someone whom has recently
    earned his/her Doctorate in Physical Therapy) is brought on to an established
    clinical practice, like Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine, to practice
    physical therapy in an environment where he/she can learn from other experienced
    providers and gain one-on- one mentoring while also gaining invaluable P.T.
    experience. Residents have a thirst for knowledge, and a true desire to be valuable
    to their patients/clients as well as their employer. Fast Track Physical Therapy and
    Sports Medicine now offers Orthopedic and Sports Residency programs through
    EIM (Evidence in Motion).

    When you are choosing a Physical Therapist, I hope you consider what the letters
    behind his/her name actually mean. We all practice under the same license (within
    the same state), and if you are utilizing health insurance that each P.T. accepts, then
    we all charge essentially the same amount for our services. I am not saying that
    someone who has received his/her Doctorate in Physical Therapy is a better
    physical therapist than the person whom has received his/her MPT or MSPT – not at
    all. Experience plays a role, as do several other factors, including what other special
    certifications he/she might have or areas of practice he/she work in. I can tell you
    this though: as the owner of a physical therapy private practice, I will only hire those
    P.T.’s that have shown the commitment to the patients/clients they serve, as well as
    to their profession – earning the highest possible degree offered in physical therapy,
    a Doctorate (DPT). As a consumer of physical therapy myself, I want to be treated
    by an individual with those same standards. At Fast Track Physical Therapy and
    Sports Medicine we are also committed to continuing the education of physical
    therapists by hosting Orthopedic and Sports Residencies through EIM.

    George Shirley, PT, DPT, MS, ATC, ASTYM and TPI Certified
    Owner: Fast Track Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
    6717 S. 900 East, Suite 201
    Midvale, UT 84047
    PH: 801-649- 4690
    FAX: 801-984- 4011
    office@fasttrackphysicaltherapy.com
    www.fasttrackphysicaltherapy.com

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