The DPT: How Did They Miss This?
The more I talk to therapists around the country, the more I get the impression very few of us think that requiring the DPT as the entry-level degree for the profession was a good idea. Taken apart from other issues, the DPT is a good thing. But as the required degree, it created a problem. The market did not and does not support it.
Several years ago when the rollout was being planned, the APTA told us it wouldn't matter. There would be plenty of jobs. The market would recognize the value of the degree and salaries would increase to match it. PTs were encouraged not only to get the DPT but also to sit for one of the specialty exams because specialists would be needed.
They were wrong on all three counts. The market, or rather reimbursement trends, is going in the opposite direction. For as long as I've been practicing, there have been cuts in reimbursement. In turn, decreased reimbursement drives down everything. I can't imagine anyone would think that trend will suddenly reverse.
There are four possible explanations. Those doing the planning didn't take this into consideration. Or they didn't think it would make a difference. Or their calculations were completely off. Or they didn't care. Any of those explanations implies lack of understanding of how the world operates.
The problems we face now aren't solely a result of the DPT, but it did significantly exacerbate them. In response, a new trend is developing. Experienced therapists are leaving the profession. The positions they leave are either filled by new grads or disappear. Experience matters, but not in a good way as no one wants to pay for it.
I, and many others, have figured this out. How did someone not think of this a few years ago?