It’s a limited study—based on a small number of respondents who are early-career APTA members in Florida—but the conclusions might sound familiar to recent graduates of DPT programs: The average amount of educational debt owed by entry-level PTs is equal to almost two years’ average salary, a 197% debt-to-income ratio. That’s more than the average debt-to-income ratio for newly minted family medicine physicians and veterinarians, according to the study’s author, and a burden that may affect a PT’s choice of practice setting.
The analysis was developed from surveys administered to members of the Florida Physical Therapy Association’s Early Professional Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2016, all of whom were entry-level professionals (0-5 years after graduation) and practicing as PTs in Florida. The final results were based on responses from 86 individuals (out of approximately 350 PT SIG members) who answered questions related to income, amount of debt held, and clinical practice choices. The study asserts that the sample reflects “all major practice settings.” The study was authored by APTA member Steven Ambler, PT, DPT, MPH, PhD.