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PTA Blog Talk

Is 'ASPT' the Answer?

Published February 19, 2014 9:32 PM by Jason Marketti

‘ASPT' should be the new designation for PTAs who have an associate's degree in physical therapy. The PTAs who have successfully challenged the testing and don't have a degree as a PTA should not be allowed to use this. These new letters will denote we have an associate's degree in physical therapy and will practice and be licensed as a physical therapist assistant.

This new degree designation may combat some insurances that have stipulations preventing PTAs from seeing their patients. If a degree in physical therapy is required to treat a patient, the ASPT will fill that role so PTAs may qualify. This new designation wouldn't change anything in regard to a state's practice act or interfere with supervision levels required.

Some may argue that a PTA's degree is physical therapy assist, or is it physical therapist assist? But that makes no sense. This would mean I'll tell people I have an associate's of applied science degree in physical therapist assistant. Or is my degree in physical therapy assisting? Maybe I should get my degree out of storage and take a peek. My wallet license says physical therapist assistant but that doesn't mean that is the degree earned.

We should look at the PT degree designations. There was a certificate as a PT, then a BSPT, an MPT, a MSPT, a DPT, a PhD PT etc. All of those denote the degree level earned, which makes them eligible to practice and become licensed as physical therapists. As a consumer of healthcare, all the levels of degrees for a physical therapist seem confusing. Maybe PT schools should add the habilitation degree and the higher doctorate degree for physical therapists too just to have some fun with the public.

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I agree that this post is quite all over the place.  

The alphabet soup after a PT's name is already confusing enough, especially for the public, why add even more.  In addition, your proposed designation of "ASPT" could be very misleading and could be construed as portraying yourself as a PT.

As a PTA, make yourself so valuable to the PT that they come to you first when they are looking for assistance in caring for their patients.  There is a discussion of moving the PTA to a BS degree but the results of that discussion are yet to come.  Whatever degree the PTA holds, if they show their value to their supervising PT, they have nothing to worry about.  If the PTA is passive and does not strive for this the PT may choose others over the PTA to participate in the care of their patients.  The new billing system is coming in less than 2 years and this will allow the PT to do this.

Dan , PT February 19, 2014 9:42 PM
Orlando FL

I wish that the PTA perspective posted here  was more realistic of what is true of the profession. Arguments like this do not show the PTA in the proper light, but surely an insurance company will see this and use it against the PT/PTA team.The need for this is not based on the realities of the issues that are occurring in practice and payment. If you want to advance the PTA in practice we need to turn our attention to changing the education to the BS level. Follow the historical advancement of the PT as a blueprint of how educational change can help us all. We need to be working on protection of the Pt/PTA team. We need to be a voice of change for our patients.  These are a few issues that if we put our energy towards would better our future.

Sean Bagbey February 19, 2014 5:44 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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