How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your Physical Therapy Specialty Certification

Oct 17, 2019
4 min read
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What do you need to do to convince your employer to pay for your physical therapy certified clinical specialty? Become a better PT and a more valuable employee by following these steps.

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As professionals in the physical therapy industry, it is important to continue to stay current and passionate about our careers. One of the ways that this passion can be grown and maintained is through a physical therapy specialty.

Many times, clinicians graduate with a goal to pursue a specialty certification. Those plans can change when therapists encounter the high costs and risks of becoming a certified clinical specialist. But don’t give up! There are often ways to get up, over, or around this precarious financial hurdle. One of the most effective ways is to ask your employers, organizations, companies, and health systems to invest in you. Below are some ways that you can help your employer see the benefits of investing in your physical therapy specialty.

1. Demonstrate your passion to your employer

If you show your desire to be an expert in a specialty area to your bosses or administration, they may become equally passionate about your goal and invested in helping you achieve a physical therapy board certification. You can volunteer to participate in community and work events outside of work to show your genuine drive to step into this specialty.

  • Offer to mentor new graduate employees in your areas of interest.
  • Volunteer to take extra shifts.
  • Float to other facilities in your health system to educate others.

Doing any of these will certainly demonstrate your passion for that particular physical therapy specialty. If your employer sees that you can be a leader and innovator as a clinical specialist for your peers and other referring providers, this is a great angle to use to request funding for a physical therapy board certification.

2. Show that a specialty will be a great investment

No matter how generous or successful your place of employment is, companies like to make investments more than donations. If your bosses feel that investing in you is a win for you and the company, they will be more likely to provide you with the resources and funding you need to acquire the certified clinical specialty that you desire. Many times, it is in a company’s interest to cultivate a culture of self-improvement and professional growth. This can help a business become the best health system in the region for its patients. As clinicians, we need to state our case and make our requests seem like a win for not only us, but also our company or clinic, our colleagues and patients, and the community as a whole.

3. Present yourself as the best clinician for the job

Your company may already want to help its clinicians achieve a physical therapy board certification. You’ll want to make sure you’re at the top of their list. Let your employer know why your experience, credentials, and journey have led you to the point of being ready to achieve this level of expertise. You can provide resumes, references, and written recommendations that help illustrate and reveal how investing in YOU will be funding well spent.

4. Prove you are committed to the process

Preparing and studying for certified physical therapy specialty exams is a great commitment of time, resources, and energy. Making a study plan that is concise and structured will show you are serious about not only getting funded but also passing the exam. Also, you can compile journals, articles, and resources to show your commitment to the research in your area of clinical expertise. Attend continuing education courses that are focused on the knowledge area, patient population, and diagnoses commonly treated by your specialty groups. This is another great way to show commitment.

5. Explain how your specialty will benefit your patients

The knowledge that you will gain in the process of taking the specialty exam will equip you with the latest evidence-based interventions, tests and measures, and clinical skills. This greater depth of knowledge and skills will allow you to reach your employer’s goals of providing the best patient care possible. All companies know that better patient care will result in better patient outcomes. Better patient outcomes result in a better reputation for the organization in the community and region.

Many companies are able to budget or raise money for clinical education and clinical specialty funding. These funds are in place to help clinicians achieve certifications to improve clinical expertise and patient care. Advocate for yourself, your career and your future, and request funding for a physical therapy board certification to become the best physical therapist that you can be.

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About Felicia Stephens, PT, DPT

Felicia Stephens, PT, DPT has been a neuro physical therapist for 9 years. She has worked in multiple rehab settings from acute care, inpatient rehabilitation to outpatient therapy. She is extremely passionate about helping patients with neurological disorders return to their highest level of mobility and quality of life possible.

Felicia has had the privilege of speaking at several events in the area on the topic of exercise and physical activity with neurological impairments. She is the Founder/Owner of a graduate school admission consulting company for prospective PT, OT and SLP students called Path to Acceptance, LLC. Felicia currently works at Ochsner Therapy and Wellness in Louisiana as a full time PT on their neuro team and is currently pursuing a Neuro Clinical Specialty.


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