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The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is a postbaccalaureate degree conferred upon successful completion of a doctoral level professional or postprofessional physical therapy education program. The specific nomenclature "DPT" is not a substitute or alternative for the physical therapist clinical designator "PT." There remains significant criticism regarding the granting of a doctoral level degree for a field that until 1998 only required a bachelors degree. The concern centers around both the need for such a degree and the possibility that physical therapists may incur substantial student debt with an extended education that pays no greater than it did when only a bachelors degree was required.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree serves as a credential, conferred by 189 of the nation's 200 accredited physical therapy degree programs.It signifies completion of the current requirements needed to enter the profession and represents the completion of a comprehensive program and the fulfillment of high standards of clinical performance in professional preparation.

The DPT degree was created by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Their Vision 2020 states that "By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health."

Even though, the Physical Therapists holding a BSPT (Bachelor's degree) or MSPT(Master's degree) are not required to obtain a DPT, they are encouraged to do so for the advancement and growth of the profession of Physical Therapy.

Professional degree (the entry-level)

The "first professional" DPT is the current degree conferred upon successful completion of a physical therapist professional (entry-level) education program in the United States. This program prepares the graduate to enter the practice of physical therapy. The entry-level DPT Program is designed for individuals just entering the field of physical therapy for the first time. This three year program prepares students holding a bachelor’s degree in a field other than physical therapy to become a licensed physical therapist.

Transition degree

The "transition" DPT is the degree conferred upon successful completion of a postprofessional physical therapist education program. The "transition" DPT is intended for licensed physical therapists who are already practicing clinicians and typically offers a continuing education which includes current topics in physical therapy practice. Several universities offer postprofessional "transition" DPT programs. Most of these are completed in one to two years of part-time, or they may be completed online.

Advanced clinical science degree

The "advanced clinical science" doctorate (eg, DPTSc or DScPT, DHSc, ScD PT, etc.) is one of several degrees conferred by institutions upon successful completion of a postprofessional physical therapist education program. This program is intended to provide an experienced clinician with advanced knowledge, behaviors, and clinical skills, usually in a specific specialty area. These programs may include specialization, certification, or clinical residencies.

Australia

The University of Melbournemarker and Bond Universitymarker in Australia are now offering a doctor of physical therapy degree as a first professional degree in physical therapy.

Pakistan

The Riphah International University,and Isra College of Rehabilitation Sciences(Isra University Hyderabad) Hyderabad in Pakistan are currently offering a doctor of physical therapy degree as a first professional degree in physical therapy. .

Iran

Iranian Physiotherapists have begun their activities about DPT. In Iran nearly all practitioners are called Dr except PTs. Iranian Physiotherapists hope to achieve to government agreement for DPT course.In Iran T-DPT was approved by Health Ministry in May 2009 and PTs are perpering for participating in DPT's level.

References

  1. American Physical Therapy Association: "DPT Degree FAQs", Retrieved on 10 November 2008
  2. American Physical Therapy Association: "DPT Degree FAQs", Retrieved on 06 June 2009
  3. Credential Creep, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 22 June 2007, pp. A10-12
  4. The Future of PT: Rehab Management: [1], Retrieved on 08 December 2008
  5. [2]
  6. American Physical Therapy Association: "APTA Vision Sentence for Physical Therapy 2020", Retrieved on 10 November 2008
  7. [3]
  8. [4]



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