Background Foreign educated physical therapists (FEPT) are often viewed as one possible solution to the current shortage of physical therapists, yet there is very little research regarding these individuals.
Objective The purpose of this study was to describe those physical therapists who are licensed in the United States, but who were educated in another country. This description includes their country of education, their employment patterns and the reasons they decided to emigrate and work as a physical therapist in the United States.
Design Cross-sectional survey
Methods An electronic survey was sent to all physical therapists currently licensed in the United States who had been educated in another country. Those who had been licensed within the last five years are reported.
Results The results of the survey indicated that the typical FEPT is a female, aged 32.2 years and who was born and trained in either the Philippines or India. A majority of FEPTs obtained their first license in New York, Michigan, Illinois, Texas or Florida. The most common reasons cited as to why a particular jurisdiction was chosen for initial employment was “Recruiter Recommendation”, “Family, Spouse, Partner or Friends”, “Ease of the Licensure Process”, and the “Ability to Secure a Visa Sponsor”. A majority of FEPTs in this study initially worked in a skilled nursing facility, long-term care or extended care facility, or in a home health setting.
Limitations Only those licensed within the past five years are reported.
Conclusions These findings are the first to report on FEPTs in the United States. The findings of this study will provide important and useful information to others dealing with physical therapy professional and workforce issues.
- Received December 11, 2014.
- Accepted August 9, 2015.
- © 2015 American Physical Therapy Association