Pursuing a career in physical therapy can be a very good decision now and in the coming years due to the increasing demand for physical therapy services and care. Because of the rapid increase of population in various countries, healthcare services like physical therapy are widely needed worldwide and with the growing number of aging baby boomers in major countries like the US, more and more physical therapists will be needed.
To become a physical therapist, some of the important factors to consider are the education, training, and of course, the licensure exam known as the NPTE or the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy or the FSBPT.
Anyone who aspires to become a physical therapist or a physical therapy assistant must pass this special exam to earn his or her license and to work legally in the country. The exam is also essential when regaining a new license and even physical therapists from other countries must also pass the NPTE before they can be allowed to work in the country.
What To Expect From The Exam?
- The National Physical Therapy Examination is a computer-administered exam composed of 5 sections wherein each section consists of 50 multiple choice questions. However, from the 250 questions, only the 200 questions are being scored while the remaining 50 multiple questions are only being included for testing purposes so the board can determine if the questions passed the standard and can be included in the future licensure exams.
- For the physical therapy assistant licensure exam, the examination is composed of only 4 sections with 50 multiple choice questions for each section for a total of 200 questions. Just like in the licensure exam for the physical therapists, 50 of the 200 questions are not scored and are only added to the exam for pre-testing purposes.
- The scoring system ranges from 200 to 800 with a minimum passing score of 600 for both the physical therapist and physical therapy assistant examinations.
- During the exam, 15 minutes is allotted for a one scheduled break. However, examinees can take up to three breaks if needed but the time covered during those breaks will reduce the time allocated for the exam so it is up to the examinees if they want to take extra breaks.
Deadlines, Schedule Information And Scheduling Tips
For this year, there will be 4 scheduled exam dates for both the PT and PTA exam. For the PT NPTE, exam dates are January 29, April 30, July 23 to 24, and October 30. For the PTA NPTE, scheduled exam dates are January 8, April 8, July 10, and October 9.
Choosing the scheduled date in taking the exam is crucial especially if you need to take the exam for a specific date other than the scheduled date given or if you need to travel to other testing sites due to various factors. To properly schedule an exam, here are some of the useful tips you should consider:
ü As much as possible, register for the fixed exam dates as early as possible since waiting until the deadlines will affect your chances of getting the schedule you prefer or comfortable for you. Registration for the licensure exams open 6 months before the fixed exam dates so make sure to process the requirements and register early to get your preferred exam date.
ü Applicants are not required to take the exam from the specific state they want to get licensed as a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. Some examinees may need to travel a bit and take the exam from other testing center especially for particular testing sites that easily get filled up like New York and Hawaii. Make sure to be prepared for the travel in case you need to go to the next testing site during the exam date.
ü Although applicants can take the exam from other testing sites aside from the specific state they want to be licensed, you should still apply from the state where you want to get licensed. Before you can schedule an appointment to take the exam, your state jurisdiction must first approve your registration.
ü And lastly, make sure to be fully read and understand the Candidate Handbook given to the applicants so you will know the policies and rules in taking the licensure exam especially regarding registration processes and the scheduled exams.
Preparation Tips For The NPTE
Preparing for the national licensure exam is very important in order to pass the exam. Reviewing for the exam is definitely important so applicants can have guide and some helpful hints about the exam which may not be covered in schools during their physical therapy education and training.
With the emergence of the advanced technologies, studying and preparing for the exam online is now available through the organizations and teams that provide online webinars and lectures on NPTE preparations. Aside from learning the essential topics which may be included in the exam, applicants enrolled or registered in these online exam preparation courses will also learn tips and techniques to increase their confidence and become fully prepared emotionally and physically for the exam.
Reviewing and preparing for the NPTE through online exam preparations may also provide advantage in terms of convenience and concentration. Through these online exam preparation tools, candidates will not have to travel long distances just to get to the review site since webinars and discussions are easily accessible online through computers or even mobile devices.
Aside from less expense on travel costs, these online exam preparations also allow candidates to properly concentrate on the discussions since they can study on their preferred place most comfortable for them plus stress and tiredness caused by traveling is also reduced so they can concentrate more on their lessons.
Exam Fees And Forecast
The exam fee required for taking the NPTE was proposed to be increased from January 1, 2013 to 2014. However, the Board of Directors of the FSBPT passed a motion on August 6 to defer the effective date of the fee increase moving the effective date of the fee increase to January 1, 2014.
For this year, the NPTE fee will still be $370, which will become $400 next year. The Prometric-sitting fee is around $70.60 while the jurisprudence exam fees may vary from state to state but the fees range from $30 to $50.