DPT: Preventing Foreign Trained Physical Therapists to Work in The U.S.; New Website Creates Solutions By Providing Resources to Industry Information

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Website Forum goers Weigh In: Credentialing Agencies are saying that Bachelor's Degree is not equivalent. Hospitals and clinics find it difficult to sponsor foreign-trained physical therapists for H1-b or greencard. PTSponsor.com has created an online job board where hospitals and clinics can hire foreign physical therapists directly without going through agencies. Foreign physical therapists can research articles and ptsponsor.com directory in order to get a U.S. physical therapy license.

PTSponsor.com went live April 2007 and acts as a directory for physical therapists by offering information about immigration, physical therapy licensure, career articles, National Physical Therapy Exam Reviewers and other resources needed to obtain a U.S. physical therapy license. Foreign trained physical therapists are getting frustrated in applying for licensure in the United States. Many physical therapists say that the doctorate degree of physical therapy has required an increase of professional credit units from 60 units to 80 units; for general education units from 40 units to 60 units in most states. This resulted in most applications being denied equivalency. The owner of PTSponsor.com says she was frustrated when researching how to obtain a Physical Therapy License in 2001. "The Internet is full of how-to advice, but I had a hard time locating information specific to foreign physical therapists. I needed to find agencies, employers and learn about immigration and the licensure process. It took countless hours of Internet surfing to find what I needed."

A foreign trained physical therapist has to undergo continuing education, take online courses or study abroad on an F-1 visa in order to be licensed in the United States. The transition to DPT has significantly strained foreign physical therapists. Most schools around the world still have physical therapy as a Bachelor's Degree. There are also numerous courses added in the DPT degree that were not on the Bachelor's Degree. The transition to the DPT degree has impacted the labor market outlook of physical therapists. This has contributed to the nationwide shortage of workers in the field of Physical Therapy. The number of graduates from doctor of physical therapy training programs is insufficient to meet national workforce needs. Hospitals and clinics are challenged by the salaries being demanded by physical therapists, primarily because of low reimbursement rates, regulations, demand versus supply of graduates and increased student loans incurred from new educational requirements. As these hospitals and clinics try to sponsor physical therapists that are trained outside the U.S., they are faced with another problem--credit deficiencies. Right now, we can see an increased number of contract employees, increased number of months the PT position stays open (usually 5-7 months).

The owner began considering the need for PTSponsor.com. She says "I began networking with other foreign physical therapists and realized that they had the same problems I had. After a friend got a physical therapy job from an agency that mistreated her, I asked her what the most daunting part of the process was. She said, 'finding my employer and completing the licensure process.' The minute she said it, I knew I was onto something." PTsponsor.com currently offers information for the foreign physical therapist: expense advisor (calculates an approximate cost a physical therapist will incur in a specific state); best states (compares states side by side according to cost of living, salary and license requirements); interactive reviews about agencies, lawyers, useful websites and states; articles pertinent to physical therapy; classified ads and a forum.

The site lists information and articles specific to physical therapy and provides links directly to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (uscis.gov). There are also lists of physical therapy licensing requirements for each of the fifty states, and a variety of employers and lawyers already listed on the site making it easy for prospective physical therapists to get started.

The editors of PTSponsor.com are adding new information daily and promises more guides, website links and articles are on the way. They already boast steady site traffic and subscription request for their free newsletter. The owner says "We're in a time when job satisfaction is low and more and more people are considering moving to another state or getting another job. It shouldn't be that difficult to find what you need and get started. I want to help other people find information efficiently."

PTSponsor.com provides resources and industry information for physical therapists. PTSponsor.com was founded in 1997 to provide the most up-to-date information about the Physical Therapy Licensure Process, the National Physical Therapy Exam and the Immigration of Foreign-Trained Physical Therapists into the U.S. The site offers a range of articles, research materials and message forums for foreign trained physical therapists. PTsponsor.com has an online job board where employers can post their jobs to sponsor physical therapists for the working visa or green card. For more information, visit PTsponsor.com.


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