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Dry Needling Competencies

For several years jurisdictions have sought information from FSBPT regarding the ability of physical therapists to perform dry needling; however, no publically available studies have explicitly examined what PTs must know and be able to do to perform dry needling safely and effectively. In 2015, to provide its members with objective, professionally-developed guidance, FSBPT sponsored a practice analysis of the competencies required of physical therapists to perform dry needling. FSBPT contracted with the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) to conduct the study in accordance with current best-practices in practice analysis procedures. HumRRO is a non-profit, social and behavioral science research and consulting firm dedicated to the measurement and improvement of human and organizational performance. As an independent contractor, HumRRO was instrumental in carrying out an objective, unbiased analysis.

In 2020, FSBPT released an updated review that built on the 2015 analysis of dry needling competencies conducted by FSBPT and HumRRO to define the minimum competency requirements for dry needling.

Competencies are measurable or observable knowledge, skills, and/or abilities an individual must possess to perform a job competently. More than four-fifths of what PTs need to know to be competent in dry needling is acquired during the course of their entry-level education, including knowledge related to evaluation, assessment, diagnosis and plan of care development, documentation, safety, and professional responsibilities. Advanced or specialized training, almost solely related to the needling technique and the psychomotor skills, is required to make up the deficit.