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With a physical therapy degree, what doors does that open ? Are you only eligible to work in a PT center/hospital or can you also work for sports teams ? or is that a whole other degree entirely ?

i play softball in high school and i volunteered at a hospital in a PT program which is what really pushed me, but my softball team also had a PT at every game and she really inspired me too. but did her degree go farther ? did she have to specifically have a sports medicine degree ? #physical-therapy #sports-medicine #kinesiology


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Brendon’s Answer

Hey Brianna, that's an excellent question. Most PTs who practice sports medicine do not have extra education beyond a four-year bachelor and a three-year doctorate of physical therapy. Every PT is required to undergo "continuing education" courses every 2-years to remain licensed. Your friend probably just chose continuing education in sports therapy.


It should be noted, however, usually two professionals working with a team: the athletic trainer and the physical therapist. They have separate rolls that sometimes intermingle when only one or the other is hired.


Athletic Trainers (or AT) are "health care professionals who "provide preventative services, EMERGENCY care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation to athletes." If you watch a professional baseball game they'll be the guys on the sideline stretching players out before the game, taping wrists, and sitting on the sidelines ready to jump in if there is a major injury (like a concussion or a torn shoulder ligament.) They're a lot like physical therapists but their training is specific to rehabilitation athletes, whereas physical therapists are instructed to treat the general populace.


THE BAD NEWS: Medicaid, and almost every other insurance company, will not pay for services rendered by an AT but will pay for a DPT's work. (Stupid-but that's the law.) So ATs are VERY underpaid with the only exceptions being ATs who work in professional sports teams. However, they're often away from home which can make having a family difficult if that is in your plans.


THE GOOD NEWS: You can easily be BOTH an AT and DPT. Athletic Trainers currently only need a Bachelor's degree. Earning both would set you apart from the nearly everyone else and really mark you as an expert. I would recommend that to anyone interested in sports medicine. It's a big deal if you do both.


THE BETTER: There are even colleges that advertise this career path together. I didn't see any in Florida but here's one in Boston (https://www.su.edu/athletic-training/athletic-training-programs/dual-degree-doctor-of-physical-therapymaster-of-science-in-athletic-training/) and others where you earn a MS in Atheltic Training WHILE going to school for your Doctorate in Physical Therapy. (https://www.su.edu/athletic-training/athletic-training-programs/dual-degree-doctor-of-physical-therapymaster-of-science-in-athletic-training/) Google "AT/DPT Programs" for more results.


(Source on the definition of AT's: http://caate.net/becoming-an-athletic-trainer/)


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