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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr."

 
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 1:21:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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USAPT,

Every now and again, I write an editorial post that I feel as though, for the love of the profession, all PT's and students should read. This is one such post.

I agree completely that using my Dr. title gets me through the front desk of an MD's office much faster --- but it also has on rare occasion had the effect of irritating the referring physician who may not have taken the call having known it was "just a PT."

With a PhD, I can personally generally smooth that over, as can an experienced PT with a post-entry-level DPT or DScPT. A DPT new-grad who demands to be called Dr. simply can't back-up and clarify with any degree of grace or expect to be taken seriously ever again. What's worse, is that most of your new graduate classmates all over the nation (and my wife's an entry-level DPT, so I've some insight into this) have NO IDEA what the MD is thinking of them when they hang up the phone --- nor their reaction to their patients returning to them talking about their "Physical therapy doctor" who graduated only a few short months ago. The new grad DPT must realize that sooner or later they're going to run into someone like me who will educate the MD about the fact that almost all new graduates are DPT's now, and that with the exceptions of PT's who went back to school for a tDPT or PPDPT, all DPT really means is "Diminished Practicing Tenure" or in other words --- lack of experience. Throw in the fact that there are in fact DPT's who went back to school after years of experience and obtained doctoral degree post-professionally, slip in the fact that there are in fact a few in the area, and I happen to be one of them --- and the next thing you know, the DPT looks like an arrogant new-graduate trying to pull the whool over the eyes of the MD. In the end, the new-grad DPT will be left wondering where their patients went (they'll now in my clinic by the way) and why the MD won't return the calls of Dr. New-Grad, DPT.

I'm not a bad guy. I don't want to be that guy, but PT is a business too. I don't want to be placed in the position of having to do that. It's bad for the profession. So will ya'll entry-level DPT's lay-off the "Dr." crap please? It's a battle you're not going to win, and it's a battle that, in a quest of your own self-interests, are going to hurt the profession at large.

My opinion, as an experienced PT who has completed clinical fellowship, completed a post-graduate academic doctorate, and is near completion of a DPT --- is that we as a profession don't have the doctoral saturation within our own ranks to be playing the "Doctor" card quite yet. If anyone should be playing that card, it's the experienced tDPT's and post-professional DPT's/DScPT's paving the way for entry-level DPT's --- and in general, we don't.

Given that reality, I just don't get how when someone with credentials like mine doesn't play the "Doctor card," and knowing that most other experienced PT's with similar credentials don't, why any new-graduate DPT thinks they can. It's in my opinion, arrogant, offensive, and inappropriate. It lacks a certain level of understanding of our current position in the healthcare marketplace, and selfishly disregards PT colleagues, and more importantly the state of the physical therapy profession at large.

It will, of course, be a shame if the day ever comes that all PT's are DPT's and none are called doctor. That's not going to happen --- but the day of the Doctor of Physical Therapy --- while a day long passed in the educational arena ---hasn't yet arrived in the healthcare arena. Just like the study that takes 5-20 years or so to make impact in the practice of clinicians --- so shall be the lag-time of the DPT.

My advice to your classmates is to simply wait. The time for all that they want to be as "Doctors" will come, and they will be in practice when it happens --- unless they muck it up for the rest of us in the interim before the numbers of DPT's reaches around 80% saturation. For the sake of the profession, please gain some maturity quickly. It's not about you new-grad DPT's and a doctoral degree that few outside of the profession understand, and even fewer respect. Please don't muck it up the future of the profession simply because you have an ax to grind with the fact that no one told you that you were being trained for practice 10 years from now --- and that it would frustrate you to wait, or to realize that you may leave the profession by then. Your role is to understand the potential of the DPT, and to help the next generation of DPT students achieve that vision while you train them during their clinical residencies. The sooner that ya'll realize that your first mission isn't really to BE the DPT of the 2020 vision, but rather TRAIN the DPT of the 2020 vision --- the happier you're going to be in the long run, and the better off this profession will be. We may even make it through the transition process without self-imploding as a profession. It's your choice.

You have the ability to help the profession realize that 2020 vision, or force the issue so strongly that the DPT vision is squashed long before it can walk. Understand your charge. Choose wisely. Choose professionally.

Drew

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 21
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 2:45:00 PM   
USAPT

 

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Drew,
I respect your opinions and that is why I am on here everyday reading postings.

I agree with you entirely. Maybe my posting was vague. I'm not green 3 months out. Yes, I still consider myself new (3 years) but not a new grad by any means. I was simply stating the difference b/t some clinician's attitudes and one's who have a better respect and understanding of where they stand in the profession.

I am an advocate of fellowships, residencies, and APTA certifications. I applied to Delaware's OCS fellowship program last year, although I was not accepted. I am preparing for the OCS exam next year anyway through Healthsouth's OCS prep group with Ed Mulligan.

I appreciate your expertise and clinical relevance.

_____________________________

Jason, PT
Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 22
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 2:56:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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USAPT,

I'm not so much talking to you, so much as the abstract "you" of entry-level DPT's that you may have graduated with (there's at least 2 in every DPT class), who do not agree with our position of respect for the profession being placed above respect for one's own clinical doctorate.

I don't know Ed Mulligan, but Kevin Wilk spoke well of him when we took a on online class together. As the saying goes, "A friend of . . ." So I'd expect that you'll get quite a bit of good stuff out of that. Just curious though, why did you go the U Delaware route instead of the post-professional DPT and clinical residency route (with post entry-level DPT, MTC, and OCS awarded upon completion) with Robert Duvall in Atlanta?

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts (in private) about how Richard Scuchy's actions are impacting your organization. Wasn't his much publicized trial set to begin this week? I'm at DrDrewpt@msn.com if you'd care to comment.

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 23
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 4:15:00 PM   
Wisecracker

 

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So, what do you call someone who has a PhD from an unaccredited school that no longer offers PhD's?

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 24
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 5:12:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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Wisecracker,

It may be academic for on-lookers to know that this question is coming from a chiropractor that I once had an amecable relationship with --- who now has an axe to grind against both our profession, and me personally because several years ago, I gave him a friendly warning that advertising that as a novice chiropractor he provided "physical therapy" was against the law in his state and he'd be wise to review both his chiropractic and the PT practice act before the board moved on him. As I understand it, he changed his advertisement to something like "rehab and physical modalities" or something like that, and the investigation never went much further. By the way Tony, I never did get that Thank You card for helping you to avert a situation before it got ugly. Hmmm, advertising the provision of "physical therapy" without having a license, and in a state that prohibits chiropractors from doing so . . . what, pray tell, is that called?

Our soured professional relationship aside, it's not a bad question, even if it is well below the belt and far, far, out of context in it's implication. The only thing it really serves to do is not incriminate me, which I assume was Tony's intent, but to demonstrate his complete ignorance of what accreditation means in the first place --- especially when it comes to young institutions. It's a common ignorance, and one that we can all learn from --- especially those DPT's thinking about a PhD so as to become university professors.

I went through all the coursework, collected all the data, published a dissertation, defended the work, and wrote a few articles off of the work --- just like any other PhD. The degree, although from a school working toward accreditation, was hard and well earned, and I resent the implication that it was from some sort of cash-for-honorary-degree diploma mill.

Second of all non-accredited is not the same thing as unearned. My program, by the way of point of information, isn't defunct, they just suspended operations for a few months while considering remaining candidate for a board that required them to drop PhD programs, or seek accreditation through another body. As I understand it, they've decided on the latter, which is to say a longer, and more rigorous process.

My PhD is simply not accredited by one of the regional accrediting boards --- yet. That only matters for tenure and promotion purposes, and frankly, only at some institutions. Lucky for me, I'm not on tenure track (thanks for your concern). As PT's will note, Rocky Mountain University, one of the shining stars of PT education, isn't yet accredited either --- that doesn't make the degree worthless. Certainly professors from that school are called "Doctor" just like any other professor with a terminal academic or clinical degree. The regional accreditation process just takes a while, and these schools are rather young.


Dr. Andrew M. Ball

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 25
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 6:27:00 PM   
SJBird55

 

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Drew... geesh. A simple question and what the heck?

I don't know who wisecracker is... but I do know that I mentally answered the question with, "loser." Why the heck would anyone pay money into a program to graduate from a program that isn't/wasn't accredited?

Ummmm, I'd hate to call you a hypocrite, but... you are so inconsistent with how you signature your name at this site. Do you really believe what you posted earlier?

"My advice to your classmates is to simply wait.... "

(in reply to wjhanney)
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 6:49:00 PM   
Wisecracker

 

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Methinks thou protesteth too much.

Rocky Mountain U has advertised their DSc degrees extensively in the DC publications. The first thing I did was check their regional accreditation status. As they did not have it, I looked no further, though they are to contact me when it is acquired. And here's the interesting part, they were apologetic about not yet being accredited.

Accreditation has meaning. Accreditation is quite important to not only the institution, but to the students who earn their degrees there. Accreditation not only means the degree has value, but that the degree has similar value to other similar degrees. To say anything else is a disservice to the entire educational community/process and rather disingenious.

Also, when I contacted Century U (it is Century U, is it not?) a couple of years ago they said they had no intention of offering anything higher than a Masters degree due to the difficulty in acquiring accreditation for PhDs. Are you sure they're going to restore their terminal degrees in "a few months"?

My original question wasn't posed to be "below the belt" though I'm not sure how what turned out to be the TRUTH is germane to a groin shot accusation. I do have a follow up question though, where is your MBA from?

(in reply to wjhanney)
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 7:06:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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SJ,

Quite my point. Despite the major points of not having to up-root a family or quit a job to do a PhD, and certainly the decreased cost of study --- students should think long and hard before engaging in a program of study that isn't yet fully accredited. My program was supposed to be five or so years accredited by now . . .

Nevertheless, the education, and I can only speak for Century, is sound, peer-reviewed, and rigorous, and was validated by subsequent peer-review and several publications --- which is really the test and point of a PhD program anyway.

The question becomes, are you in it for the education, or are you in it to climb the faculty ladder?

Drew

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 28
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 7:14:00 PM   
Wisecracker

 

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Nice edit of your original follow up post. Also, I am not TONY, nor did you ever offer me advice about anything pertaining to my practice act or PT practice act. I have no axe to grind with the PT community and in fact hold them in high regard. As an aside Dorko (as well as Sahrmann) should be made a PT deity IMO. I actually find you to be rather intelligent, just find it disingenious of you to call into question other's degrees, ie; MsPT when you in fact have a degree (and let EVERYONE know about it) that some would call into question. Get it?

(in reply to wjhanney)
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 7:34:00 PM   
Wisecracker

 

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Oh, and I do believe that anyone who earns a doctoral level degree should be referred to as "doctor", though this simple chiropractor never introduces himself or refers to himself as "doctor".

(in reply to wjhanney)
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 7:53:00 PM   
SJBird55

 

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If you're asking me if I'd be in it for the education or to climb the faculty ladder, does it matter? I firmly believe in a solid foundation from which to grow. If a facility is not accredited that would be interpreted by me to mean that somewhere, somehow certain criteria levels are not being met. If an educational program does not meet the bare minimum requirements/criteria, then why would I want to pay money for a suboptimal product? You get what you pay for, I guess, but where is the value in a degree from a program that isn't accredited? So, in my mind, I have certain standards and expectations, along with valuing the process of being accredited, so I'd never consider attending a program that wasn't accredited.

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 31
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 26, 2005 9:17:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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SJ,

We're starting to go around in circles, so I'll respond to your post for the sake of on-lookers who may still have something to gain, and then I'm done with this attempted charater assasination.

Sure the reason matters. If your goal is to learn how to do research, stay in the clinic, publish a paper on your own timeline, have an adjunct hand in teaching and have a marketing edge when it comes to provision of continuing education --- the accreditation status of the PhD doesn't at all matter. Remember John Gray, PhD of Venus and Mars fame? His PhD came from a school just like mine, Columbia Pacifica I think. He never went on faculty, but that was never really his goal. His qualitative dissertation, if you've read it, is about as good as any from a brick-and-mortar institution. Joe Kahn, PhD, PT, who wrote all those books that were used in just about every PT electotherapy classroom until a few years back --- a graduate of Century's program. His contributions to the profession are difficult to deny. There are of course others, but for reasons that should be quite clear to anyone reading this thread, keep it on the "down-low" and other than people outside the profession, or since retired, I don't think it's appropriate to "out" them. I simply own up to how I completed my PhD and make no apologies for it. The only reason I'm catching all this, you understand, is because I've told ya'll how and where I completed my PhD, and there are others who don't disclose that fact.

As for the rest of your post, we simply disagree on what constitutes as "suboptimal product." I've made my reasons quite clear, as well as provided candid variables for those considering a similar path to consider. I'm quite proud and content with what I learned, published, and accomplished through and because of the program despite the fact that I ended up with a few more hoops to jump before gaining faculty appointment at the the school I'd want to teach, in an area of the country I'd want to live. For those who care to know, it didn't prove to make a bit of difference at several schools that offered me a faculty position.

Anyway, I appreciate the fact that you'd never consider attending a program that wasn't accredited and perhaps that's the reason why one of us spent 4 years earning a PhD and another 1-2 in near completion of a tDPT (none of which are accredited by the APTA, by the way), and has contributed to the evidence-base ---while the other has not. I'd disagree that the quality of a program should be discounted on the sole basis of accreditation status and believe that I've made a clear case with respect to the issue. I also think you'd be in the minority of PT's in classifying a DHs or DScPT from Rocky Mountain that way.

Opinions vary, however. Maybe I'm wrong.

Drew

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 32
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 27, 2005 3:40:00 PM   
Wisecracker

 

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I mean not to belabor the point or hijack the thread, but I in NO way attempted to "charater (sp) assasinate" you, and any attempt on your part to build a strawman is specious at best.

As a point of clarification, Columbia Southern U was not only non-accredited, the feds "dis"-accredited the "institution" and compelled the degree receipients to discontinue using their credentials. I believe, and will clarify later, that John Gray received his "PhD" from this institution and is supposed to no longer claim this degree. So falling back on "Dr" Gray as part of your defense may be of zero value.

I am quite surprised at how you have handled this dialogue/topic in such a convoluted manner. Any chance that you're going to let us in on the institution that granted your MBA?

(in reply to wjhanney)
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Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 27, 2005 4:03:00 PM   
SJBird55

 

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Drew, belittling me really doesn't elevate your status. I am perfectly comfortable with the choices I have made through my career. I probably will be contributing to evidence-based literature when the Canadians I have been working with finish writing the paper. I'm not affiliated with any educational facility and I just work part-time in a clinic, but I collected two years of data.

I'm someone who believes in quality and I may be in the minority, but I personally wouldn't pay for anything suboptimal and I would choose differently. Junk is junk. I would wonder if a person goes through a program without being a physical therapist first... graduates from a nonaccredited program... ummm, can they get licensed in their state? I would assume that the majority of the states would have it mandated that to be licensed the professional had to graduate from an accredited program. You already had your license, so it didn't matter from that perspective, but for anyone who doesn't have a license already, being accredited should be an important quality that is met.

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 34
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 27, 2005 5:19:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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SJ,

No belittling intended. The fact is that I've published several times, which is really what a PhD is designed to teach --- how to conduct research and have it stand up under peer-review. I've done that.

We appear to agree on something. I too am comfortable with the choices I've made.

Drew

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 35
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 27, 2005 6:14:00 PM   
FLOrthoPT

 

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wow lots of angst...back to a point earlier.. I have posted this before, but I feel that every PT who is full time in one area of "expertise" should have to have their specialty certification in this area..and maybe not HAVE to have, but it should be publically recognized what it stands for and what it means. I feel that a pediatric PT should be pediatric certified, geriatric, orthopedic, etc...not many of us have time to do fellowships, though I'd love to do a fellowship with ola or with the NAIOMT group or some of the other manual orthopedic groups, I just cannot afford to not work for a year or two with 100K in student loan debt. So, now that I have rambled, all I am saying is YES DPT or some derivative thereon will pibilically help market our profession, but I think having people demonstrate proficiency in their chosen area of PT should be addressed first. I personally feel that the terminal degree at this point, or at least the only one recognized by APTA, are the specialty boards..that being said why are so few people taking them? I think that there is a lot of people being misrepresented about our profession when they see someone who "doesn't know backs" etc..i think it does not help to have your DPT to be more knowledgeable in prthopedics, pediatrics, etc...so there should be more of a push to either allow students to go on a DPT track, or a specialty degree track while attaining their masters...anyway, really now rambling, i am hungry and need to go eat...
GO PATS
Benjamin Galin, MPT, OCS

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 36
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 28, 2005 8:23:00 AM   
jimptdpt

 

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Since we have been talking about accredidation, what do people think of schools that are DETC accredited as compared to regional accredidation? DETC is acceptable form of accredidation, but I know many believe that regional accredidation is the gold standard. I was looking at going for my MBA and there are some DETC accredited that are much less expensive.

Jim Hosker PT, DPT, OCS

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 37
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 28, 2005 3:18:00 PM   
Andrew M. Ball PT PhD

 

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Jim,

My position is that it depends upon the purpose of you doing the degree. For facutly, have a degree from a school with DETC accreditation generally isn't enough for tenure. As for an MBA, it may be of interest to note that last time I checked, only about 50% of BRICK AND MORTAR MBA programs were accredited programs (not to confuse the issue, but that's program accreditation, not accreditation of the university).

As a further point of information, it may also be of interest to note that most universities, Century University being one of them, are accredited by some body (DETC, ICA, ACI, etc.) but just not one of the 6 regional accrediting boards.

Drew

_____________________________

Andrew M. Ball, PT, DPT, Ph.D.
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Resident
Carolinas Rehabilitation

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 38
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 29, 2005 1:23:00 PM   
ptdan23

 

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I feel that if you work hard for something you should be rewarded for it. Those PT's that have the DPT should be able to use the appropriate title.
One problem that arrises is public perception. When people hear the term Dr. they most often think of a medical doctor. I really don't think that PT's using the doctor title would run into a huge problem. If a MD refers a patient to PT and that PT does have their DPT (or other doctorate degree), that patient knows they are going to see a physical therapist and not another medical doctor. Using the title with a patient may be confusing but how else is the public going to get educated? That is the job of the PT is to educate the patient on what they are going to do for them.

I think PT as a profession needs to be elevated and I thought the DPT degree was a step in doing so. Our knowledge base is more than that of other professions that are Dr.'s however we are hesitant to use the title even though we have deserved and earned it. How can the public or other professionals respect the use of the title if we don't ourselves? I also think that a lot of times patients try to give us that same respect that they give an MD. How many times have you been called Dr. so and so by a patient (most of the time they know you are not a doctor)?

I have not earned my DPT or other doctorate degree yet so I cannot give practical experience about the use of the doctor title. I think that if I did have it I would use it in professional communications and may introduce myself like that to patients but with a patient would most likely request that they call me by my first name.

This is definitely an interesting discussion. Will be interesting to see how all this evolves over the next couple of years.

Dan, PT.

(in reply to wjhanney)
Post #: 39
Re: Should PTs be called "Dr." - January 29, 2005 5:54:00 PM   
tc

 

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ptdan-
I think I agree with your overall premise, and I don't have a DPT either, but I don't think you can accurately say "our knowledge base is more than that of other profesions that are dr's" and include *all* other drs. (I am assuming you're not including medical doctors) I would not equate a DPT with a DVM for sure, and I'm more than sure than a doctorate in pharmacy is an incredible amount of information, (and in general I don't think they call themselves Dr.) In all honesty I don't know what amount of information/time spent leads someone to "deserve" to be called a doctor, since it can vary from a DPT in 3 years, or up to 7 years or more to complete an MD or DO +residency or a PhD program. How can we really have the same breadth of knowledge in 3 years vs. 7+?

In some ways I think our society is too caught up in these labels. Why should we need to be called Dr. to be more respected as PTs? Because regardless of whether we are "doctors", what we really are at the heart of it is PTs. I remember when I graduated with an MPT, I felt like I would be silly to write MPT when all my collegues were PT's, because they were both entry-level degrees. Just because I had a "master's" didn't mean I had extra knowledge in PT. So maybe it's the entry-level vs. post-professional DPT that should be termed differently. But from what I've investigated of all the PP DPT programs - they are all so different, I really don't know how they all can be giving the same degree. And they don't seem to be regulated well in my opinion.

But I can't say that I wouldn't like to be called dr, as well. However I think I am also of the "old school" mind set that you need the full on time spent in med school (MD or DO) or PhD to deserve this term of respect.

Anyhow, long tangent based on one of your sentences, sorry! Just thought I'd add my .02$ since everyone else is. What a lively thread this is!

(in reply to wjhanney)
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