My physical therapist tells me that one of the most insulting things he faces is the lack of respect that he gets regarding the level of education necessary to get his postgraduate degree. Some people have gone so far as to ask: “So… did you take couple classes at the junior college to become a physical therapist?”
Well, let me set the record straight: a DPT degree is the equivalent of a Ph.D. in other disciplines. You have to have already earned an undergraduate degree in the life sciences to even be considered for the limited number of slots available in the program. University of California San Francisco, for example, accepts only 50 new students each year. That means the students selected for entry into the program are the cream-of-the-crop.
After that, it’s a difficult 3-year curriculum. See the actual course load by clicking this link: DPT Course of Study: UCSF. Upon completion, they are considered clinical doctors. Oh yeah, the tuition alone runs nearly $30,000 a year plus books, housing, living expenses, etc. All of this in addition to the cost and effort of earning the prerequisite undergraduate degree in the life sciences. After earning a DPT, there are Continuing Education Credits (CECs) that must be earned to maintain certification. Underwater Basket Weaving, this is not.
So tip your hat to your physical therapist next time you see him or her. PTs definitely deserve your respect. They paid some serious dues to earn that DPT credential.