Do You Call A Physical Therapist A Doctor?

Do you call a physical therapist or a doctor? People often say that you shouldn’t call a physical therapist a doctor or take advice from them, but are they really doctors?

Physical therapists don’t practice medical or surgical treatment of injuries. They work to prevent, assess and rehabilitate injuries. They require an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree.

Check out this article for more information on the differences between a medical doctor and a physical therapist!

Do You Call A Physical Therapist A Doctor: The Forgotten Doctors!

Physical therapists aren’t doctors, but the patients and the public often address a physical therapist or are called “doctors” or “Dr.”.

They have advanced degrees in their field of study. A doctor of physical therapy abbreviation of DPT, and is licensed to practice in all 50 states, but that doesn’t mean they’re physicians.

It depends on what the jurisdiction is. Some states, like California, require licensure for individuals to call themselves therapists or doctors.

Many PTs across the US are licensed by either state licensure boards or other special boards (like the military). Check with your local school to find out if they’re accredited through any of them.

What Is The Difference Between A Doctor And A Physical Therapist?

In the medical community, both a doctor and a physical therapist have some similarities. And this leads to the concept of physical therapists calling themselves doctors. The main distinguishing between medical doctors vs physical therapists is here for you:


A physiatrist studies the body for years and is certified, but physical therapists only study for 3 years after college.

Physiatrists know what makes up the human body on a deeper level as well. Their training helps them treat musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses like back pain from herniated discs.”


In cases like this, the physiatrist takes a leading role in diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal issues. The doctor creates a treatment plan and physical therapists check to make sure it works.

A physical therapist is someone you can trust to carry out orders from your MD about how best to manage certain health problems at hand. They are not as powerful as doctors, but their decisions are still important!

Initial Visit:

When a patient visits for physical medicine and rehabilitation diagnosis at any health center. The physiatrist conducts an initial examination to formulate their treatment plan.

The next step is when patients visit with the PT, who assemble a team of specialists whom they will consult to determine all facets of their body before formulating their individualized care plans.

After diagnosing patients through consultation with various doctors, therapists are able to share information from different perspectives, which allows them to create specialized rehab programs for specific populations like athletes or children.

The physical therapist works with medical specialists to ensure follow-up care after discharge.


Physical therapists and psychiatrists work closely together to design the most effective treatment plan. They each bring their own expertise into play, with physical therapists focusing on helping patients regain movement and strength, while physiologists focus on underlying medical issues that require rehabilitation.

The information from the diagnosis is used by both parties in order to create a well-rounded individualized treatment protocol for every patient; this may include pain management techniques such as ice or electrical stimulation therapy if desired.


A physiatrist will not be the one who works with a patient day to day until they reach their rehabilitation goals. Instead, it would be the physical therapist that does this important work.

Physiatrist visits are required during evaluation or emergencies, but not as frequently as with a physical therapist.

It’s important to note that there are two types of physical therapists: a physiatrist and a regular therapist.

A regularly sized therapy team will include the patient, their family members, or friends. Other caregivers, like nurses and occupational therapists. And assistants work with them on specific treatments such as exercises for stretching out certain muscles in order to prevent contractures from setting in because of prolonged bed rest after surgery or injury. But they would not visit daily, unlike those working under an institution at which patients are sent when hospitalized because it’s usually required by law.

Why You Shouldn’t Call A Physical Therapist A Doctor?

The New York Times wrote about the confusion over who can be called “doctors.”.

They believe this is because many fields, such as physical therapy require extensive schooling. But still allow individuals to claim they’re a doctor because there’s nothing stopping them from doing so. Does this help to make the answer of Is a physical therapist a Medical Doctor?

Do Physical Therapists Deserve To Be Called “Doctors?”

Physical therapists diagnose injuries and use movement-based therapies to treat them.

They work closely with your physician to provide an integrated approach that helps get you back on track as quickly as possible. So next time someone asks are physical therapists doctors?–say yes! They deserve it!

They have the same education and training as doctors but without residency or board certification requirements. Plus, doctors of physical therapy salary on average is $20k less than physicians per year, which makes us even better value for money in this economy!

So don’t be shy – let’s stand together against these misconceptions that only serve to keep patients from getting the best care available today… and at a lower cost too!!

Let’s make sure everyone knows what we really do!!! Call yourself a Doctor if you think it fits!!! If you’re a Physical Therapist, you can use these tips too.


Physical therapists are not considered doctors, but do you call a medical doctor a physical therapist? Doctor’s practice medical or surgical treatment of injuries or illnesses while physical therapists work to prevent, assess and rehabilitate injuries.

Becoming a medical doctor requires an undergraduate and master’s degree. While physical therapy requires an undergraduate and 4-year graduate program.