National And State Licensure Requirements For Physical Therapist

For aspiring physical therapists, the next step to take in order to become a licensed PT and be able to legally practice their profession is to comply with the necessary licensing requirements required by the federal government and state governments. All physical therapists working in the country are required to take the NPTE or the National Physical Therapists Examination in order to become a licensed physical therapist. However, in order to practice in a certain state, state-licensing requirements must also be accomplished.

State license requirements may vary from state to state so it is essential to research and inquire the licensure requirements in the specific state you are planning to be employed to know the organizations or agencies to apply for licensure. Some states may also accept license reciprocity depending on the licensing laws imposed in the state or through the decision of the licensing board in the state since each state usually have their own licensing body for physical therapists.

 Licensure Requirements To Comply Depending On States


  • NPTE or the National Physical Therapy Examination – overseen by the FSBPT or the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
  • To apply for state licensure some states require credentialing from one of the known credentialing companies in the country such as:

              ICA – International Credentialing Associates, Inc

              FCCPT – Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy

              ICD – International Consultants of Delaware

              IERF – International Education Research Foundation

  • Jurisprudence Exam – this exam is required in states like California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and Utah.

             Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Codes for Wisconsin applicants

             Utah Physical Therapy Law and Rule Examination for Utah applicants

  • Licensure Requirements For Physical TherapistContinuing education or course requirements to maintain and renew state license – Most states require licensed physical therapists to attend a continuing education program in order to refresh their knowledge and know the updates related to their profession. Continuing education programs for physical therapists can be acquired from accredited universities or through professional organizations like the APTA and the RPTA.

Some states may also impose other exams before a physical therapist can acquire their license and practice their profession in a specific state especially for foreign-trained applicants. Examples of other exams you need to take for physical therapists are:

  • TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language
  • TSE – Test of Spoken English
  • TWE – Test of Written English
  • SPEAK – Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit


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