Let The Research Begin...
It was not an easy choice to pick up and move to another country at my current age (let's just call me a "geezer" and leave it at that) nor when I'm in a position that I particularly like in a company that I really believe in. I first had to find out if I could practice in England. Being a geezer, I'm educated at a BS level and have made an informed choice not to pursue a DPT. Would my education be sufficient? How would I find out?
I have a few mentors here in the US, one on each coast as a matter of fact. I have no professional contacts in the UK. Thank goodness for search engines! I was able to find out that most allied health professions in the UK are registered by the Health Professions Council and they offer guidance notes for people applying from abroad. The application is quite long and grows longer depending upon how much experience one has. I've been practicing for 17 years and they wanted to know, in depth, about each position I've held, how I practiced, who I reported to, and what specific PT skills I utilized in each setting. That took some time to document. The real challenge was the extent to which they wanted detail on my training.
Now I must pay Dr. Joanne Katz from SUNY Downstate Medical Center a huge note of thanks. I've never met Dr. Katz, she took over the PT program there long after I'd left and it is now nothing like the program I graduated from. She recreated for me my old curriculum including material covered in each module and methods of assessment. This document was the keystone to my application and I couldn't have done this without her assistance. After completing the application and providing about 40 pages of supporting documentation I was allowed to pay my scrutiny fee of nearly $700.00 USD.
Four weeks later I was informed that I had met their requirements and I was now invited to join the HPC (yes, another fee). The registration is the equivalent of our state licensure, however the UK registration allows me to work in Scotland, Wales or England without separate licenses for each, unlike my maintaining licenses in Florida and New York, each with different fee schedules, CE requirements, and cycles of renewal. I do think the US would benefit, as would the profession from having this type of national registration and uniform practice acts. It would make it much easier to relocate for work and might provide more cohesion for the profession on the whole.
I've been an off-and-on member of the APTA over the course of my career. Being a geezer, cantankerous is another adjective that could describe me. I've joined the APTA to be part of the professional community, then left in protest when I've disagreed with the major positions taken by the association, and rejoined to stay abreast of what changes are occurring. It is wonderful to have the option to do that.
I had to find what organization is the equivalent over there and once again went to the search engines! I found the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. I'm still exploring this organization and will fill you all in once I learn more.
Next post will be about learning the new terms like "banding" and "locum." They have a similar language to us but in reality, it is different!