Does Residency and/or Fellowship Training Impact Job and Career Satisfaction in Physical Therapists?
Purpose/Hypothesis: Postprofessional residency and fellowship education programs are growing in number throughout the United States (US). However, little is known about the impact these programs have on physical therapists (PTs). The purpose of this study was to compare job and career satisfaction among residency trained, fellowship trained, and non-residency/fellowship trained PTs. Number of Subjects: 2940 licensed PTs in the US (91 residency trained, 65 fellowship trained, and 2784 non residency/fellowship trained). Median years of practice was 18 years. Materials and Methods: An online survey was sent to PTs with 10 questions assessing their job satisfaction and 5 assessing their career satisfaction using a Likert Scale. Job satisfaction was assessed with factors known to both negatively and positively impact job satisfaction. Respondents were categorized as completing a residency, fellowship, both, or neither. Residency analyses included all respondents and sub-analyses of only those practicing 8 years or less (first quartile of sample). Responses were respectively summed, then compared between groups: residency vs. non-residency/fellowship and fellowship vs. non-residency/fellowship. Frequency analyses and t-tests were performed. Significance was set a priori to p<0.05. Only respondents with complete data were included in the analyses. Results: Within the first 8 years of practice, those who were residency trained had higher job satisfaction [mean (SD): 21.7(3.2) vs. 20.6(3.1); p=0.01] and greater career satisfaction [19.4(4.9) vs. 17.2(4.7); p<0.001] compared to those who were not residency/fellowship trained with equal years of experience. For the entire sample, job satisfaction was higher in the residency vs. non-residency/fellowship groups [21.5(3.1) vs. 20.8(3.1); p=0.04]. There were no between group differences when comparing the negative job satisfaction factors for either the entire sample or early career sub-group analyses. Those who were fellowship trained had higher job satisfaction [21.8(3.2) vs. 20.8(3.1); p=0.01] compared to those who were not residency/fellowship trained. There were no differences when comparing the negative factors for job/career satisfaction. Conclusions: This is the first national survey evaluating job and career satisfaction of PTs with differing levels of postprofessional training. Results suggest that PTs who are residency and/or fellowship trained have higher job satisfaction compared to those who are not residency or fellowship trained. Further, those who are residency trained have higher career satisfaction during their first 8 years of practice compared to those who are not residency trained. Negative factors that influence job satisfaction seem to be similar across groups. Clinical Relevance: These results may impact the pursuance of residency/fellowship training, development of residency and fellowship opportunities, job choice for PTs, and employer recruitment and retention policies.