The APTA and Me.

I have recently viewed many online discussions regarding the perceived value of the APTA and why some decide to/not to join.
In reading these discussions, I hear three consistent themes on the barrier of joining:

  1. Cost
  2. Transparency
  3. Value

I am a member of the APTA and here are some thoughts on each of these themes (note, I am not soliciting or doing this on behalf of the APTA—just some thoughts after reading online discussions).


The national dues cost for APTA membership is $295 (this is reduced for student members to $80 and there is a career starter dues program offering reduced payments for the first four years of practice  ).  Each state chapter has additional varying dues—my state of Pennsylvania is $165.    My total cost of base membership is $460.
Here is a quick analysis of me reasoning this cost:
I spend $4/day on a daily “flat white” from starbucks.    My daily APTA membership is 1/4 of this price.
Another Comparison:
I spend $1,788/year for my cable/internet package ($149/month).   My APTA membership is 1/4 of this price.
If I can reason a daily flat white or an extended cable plan, I can surely reason paying 1/4 of the price to support an organization that fights on my behalf to practice.  

Transparency & Value

I was a tough critic in the past of the APTAs “lack of transparency” to members/non-members.   What the heck was APTA doing with my money?   Well, they are doing a better job at communicating it on their website—we just have to look…

Here is a very basic overview of what you are paying for (source: apta):

As a physical therapist, you need resources at the ready to move your career forward, keep up with the latest physical therapy practice strategies, get paid appropriately for services, keep abreast of federal legislation and regulations, and make a difference in the lives of your patients.
APTA’s member benefits give you all the tools you need and more!

APTA advocates for you in Washington, DC, and state capitals nationwide.

APTA’s advocacy efforts help you stay on top of the issues important to you and your patients. Resource centers for major legislative issues like health care reform and the Medicare therapy cap allow you to stay informed, while the Legislative Action Center streamlines the process of contacting representatives on Capitol Hill, so that you can advocate for your profession.

APTA speaks out for proper payment for high-quality patient care.

Ensuring that you receive proper payment for physical therapy services is a key component of APTA’s Strategic Plan. APTA helps you navigate the reimbursement maze and get paid appropriately for your services. Stay on top of changing form and code requirements, claim denials, and critical payment topics with the free Medicare Fee Calculator, and more.

APTA promotes the benefits of physical therapy.

APTA gives you the public relations and marketing tools you need to share the benefits of physical therapy with consumers and other health care professionals. includes interactive tools and information for consumers and health care professionals, plus consumer-oriented handouts. BrandBeatempowers you to strengthen the physical therapy brand, including guidelines and training to help you live the “Move Forward” brand.

APTA connects you with colleagues for networking and collaboration.

From the live events to social networking, tap into the collective knowledge and expertise among our 90,000+ physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, and student members… making a difference for careers, patients, and the future. Discover more opportunities to connect through your local chapter and special-interest sections.

APTA saves you money.

Exclusive 40% discounts on national conference registrations, publications, and continuing education opportunities. When you add in discounts on continuing education offerings at the chapter and sectionlevels and the great value on insurance and financial APTA-endorsed member benefits, you’ll be amazed at how much you can save. The APTA Learning Center also provides a collection of free coursesexclusively for members. Plus, APTA educational programs and our active community members always strive to share valuable tips and strategies to help your business thrive.

APTA provides information at your fingertips.

APTA’s Web site gives you a constant connection to the professional resources you need as you practice. Your membership gives you online access to PT in Motion magazine, PT in Motion News news feed, the online Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, and more.

APTA promotes evidence-based practice.

Your membership gives you quick and easy access to clinical research that supports evidence-based physical therapy practice across practice settings and specialty areas. Article Search (Formerly Open Door) provides full-text access to research and articles from more than 4,500 clinical and academic publications. You can explore PTNow for clinical summaries and valuable tests and measures.  PT Journal(PTJ): State-of-the-art research, case reports, technical reports, literature reviews, and perspectives on clinical and professional issues.

APTA strengthens your expertise with clinical and practice resources.

APTA connects you to a wealth of clinical and practice-related resources to help you provide the high-quality care to your patients, meet your professional goals, and thrive in your practice. APTA members enjoy best-practice documentation resources and guidelines on supervision of personnelhealth information technology, and more. Specially priced APTA-endorsed insurance and financial benefits will protect your from risk and help you save money. Plus free advertising via Find a PT, APTA’s consumer search engine, to connect you with potential patients.

APTA helps you advance to the next level.

APTA encourages its members to continue their career development. PTs ready to advance their clinical practice can fast track their education and career by completing credentialed postprofessional clinical residency or fellowship programs, or beginning the path to ABPTS board certification in any of 8 clinical specialization areas. PTs can also earn recognition as an APTA Credentialed Clinical Instructor. Job seekers can search for Red Hot Jobs in physical therapy, but only APTA members can post resumes online and sign up for job alerts. Plus, APTA member employers posting single job listings save 40%.

So why do I belong to the APTA?   Because they are lobbying and advocating for my right to practice.   Sure, I would like to have better reimbursement and be recognized as a front line provider, but things take time.   I follow and attempt to utilize my means to assist in federal advocacy  but we must work together to bring a unifying message to the consumer.   We can do this through ensuring excellence in each of our own practices and advocating for our right to see patients direct.
If you are a non-member, I would highly recommend joining the APTA:
Join  the APTA today, or renew your membership. APTA is your home base for everything you need to succeed, today and in the future.


Article Tags:
Article Categories:

All Comments

  • I could not agree more with this post. I really liked how the cost of an APTA membership was compared to an everyday cost like coffee. The question remains, however, on how to define the concept of value in a way that increases and sustains membership. I personally believe that two things need to happen. The first is that better payment options need to be offered to members in order to reduce the “sticker shock” of membership. The second is that current members need to be incentivized to recruit new members.
    I would love to hear thoughts on this and any other opinions.

    Matthew Condo April 12, 2016 8:31 am Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *