FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What can physical therapists help me accomplish?
A: Physical therapists can help you improve your mobility and quality of life without the expense of surgery or side effects of pain medication. Physical therapists are also the health care professionals of choice for rehabilitation for orthopedic, neurologic, cardiopulmonary and many other conditions and injuries.
Q: What are the educational requirements to become a physical therapist?
A: Many physical therapy programs require that graduates obtain a doctor of physical therapy degree. The minimum educational requirement is a master’s degree.
Q: Are physical therapists doctors?
A: More and more physical therapists are graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. More than 92 percent of the more than 200 accredited academic institutions nationwide offering professional physical therapist education programs now offer the DPT degree - and more than 75 percent of all 2008 PT graduates hold a DPT degree.
Q: How can a physical therapist help me?
A: Physical therapists are experts in the way the human body moves. They use treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. They will also help you prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs to help you achieve a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Q: How can I see a physical therapist?
A: In most states, you can make an appointment with a physical therapist directly, without a physician referral.
Q: Can a physical therapist help to alleviate pain?
A: Yes, in many cases, a personal, comprehensive treatment plan by a physical therapist can help you reduce and/or eliminate pain.
Q: Can a physical therapist help me avoid surgery?
A: Yes, many conditions can be successfully treated without expensive and painful surgery. Talk to your physical therapist to see what options are available to you. Surgery does not have to be your only course of action.
Q: Are physical therapists covered by my health insurance?
A: In most cases, yes. Click on the links below to learn more about insurance coverage for physical therapy.
Q: Do physical therapists have specialist certifications in areas of expertise?
A: Some physical therapists choose to advance their knowledge and expertise in specialty areas such as pediatrics, neurology, sports or geriatrics to name a few. To achieve these certifications, they must sit for specialist certification exams, and have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct patient care in the specialty area. Other specific requirements may apply based on specialty area. Specialist certifications can be held in the areas of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatric, Neurologic, Orthopedic, Pediatric, Sports, and Women’s Health (approved for status, available in 2009).
Q: How can I lobby Congress to support physical therapy legislation?
A: Click here to visit American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Patient Action Center and contact Congress about important physical therapy issues.