Copyright

Physical Therapist Licensure and Credentialing Information

To enter the profession of physical therapy, graduates of an accredited master's degree program must obtain licensure through their state. Additional requirements might be necessary. Optional certification also exists for those interested in specializing in a particular physical therapy discipline.

View 8 Popular Schools »

Physical Therapist Licensing

All states require physical therapists to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy prior to practicing. In addition, some states might further require practical testing or assessment of an applicant's knowledge of state laws and ethics regarding the profession. To qualify for national and state exams, aspiring physical therapists must usually earn a graduate degree in physical therapy or occupational therapy.

Some states also require physical therapists to complete continuing education credits through workshops or courses as a condition of licensure. Professionals can complete courses at universities and colleges, and some states allow attendance of professional seminars and conferences to count toward required continued education.

Reciprocity Agreements

A physical therapist who is licensed in one state might be able to transfer a license or practice in another state if the two states have reciprocity agreements. Though the national examination covers a large portion of states' licensure regulations, interstate physical therapists might need to demonstrate their competency and knowledge of particular legal issues within another state through testing or practical review.

Physical Therapist Credentialing

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) offers certification in eight different specialty fields within physical therapy, including cardiopulmonary, women's health and geriatric therapy specializations (www.abpts.org). Each specialization has individual requirements, though primarily, qualification standards include either completing 2,000 hours of practical work directly with patients or participating in a residency program approved by the American Physical Therapy Association (ATPA). Additional requirements could include certification through the American Heart Association, paramedic or EMT licensure or sufficient supervised work within the specialty.

Physical therapists certified through the ABPTS are registered in the Directory of Certified Specialists, a national database maintained by the organization of all certified physical therapists. Certification must be renewed every ten years by either retaking an examination, submitting to a portfolio review or completing a APTA-accredited residency program.

Physical Therapist Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that physical therapist positions were projected to grow 36% from 2012-2022, which was much faster than other occupations. Career prospects should be best for physical therapists who worked with the elderly and were situated in rural areas. These professionals made a mean yearly salary of $82,180 in May 2013.

Show me popular schools

Related to Physical Therapist Licensure and Credentialing Information

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Be a Physical Therapist Technician: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a physical therapist technician. Research the education requirements, training information and experience...

Physical Therapy: Required Education to Be a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist (PT) evaluates, diagnoses and treats patients with disorders that limit their abilities to move or...

Equine Physical Therapist: Salary Info and Requirements

An equine physical therapist is a veterinary health professional involved in the rehabilitation and care of horses following an...

Animal Physical Therapist: Job Description and Requirements

Animal physical therapists are usually licensed physical therapists who choose to treat animals. However, physical therapist...

Pediatric Physical Therapist: Job Description and Requirements

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Admissions Requirements Vary By Campus
    School locations:
    • Arizona (4 campuses)
    • Colorado (2 campuses)
    • Connecticut (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Illinois (3)
    • Massachusetts (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • Pennsylvania (2)
    • Texas (2)
    • Utah (2)
    • Virginia (1)
    • Washington (2)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Massage Therapy

    What is your highest earned degree?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BS in Health Information Management

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Physical Therapy
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Dental
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
      • Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
        • Occupational Therapy
        • Physical Therapy
        • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics