A physical therapy license is the first step for anyone who wishes to practice physical therapy in California. In order to obtain a physical therapy license, you must meet certain requirements, including education and continuing professional development. While it may seem like obtaining a license is an easy process, there are several steps that prepare candidates for the process, such as taking the required courses and completing the application process.
The article discusses how to get a license for physical therapy in California which is an important step for anyone interested in becoming a physical therapist.
What is a physical therapy license?
The first step in becoming a licensed physical therapist is to obtain a physical therapy license. As part of the process, you must meet certain requirements, including education and continuing professional development. While it may seem like obtaining a license is an easy process, there are several steps that prepare candidates for the process, such as taking the required courses and completing the application process.
Unlike other professions, your education never ends. A lot of work goes into attaining a license from each state in which you wish to practice. Consider taking some classes at a local university or community college to earn certification for specific states.
How do I get a physical therapy license in California?
Obtaining a physical therapy license in California is the first step for anyone who wishes to practice physical therapy. In order to qualify for a physical therapy license, candidates must meet certain requirements, including education and continuing professional development. While it may seem like obtaining a license is an easy process, there are several steps that prepare candidates for the process, such as taking the required courses and completing the application process.
The physical Therapy Board requires students to follow these steps if they want to become physical therapists or physical therapy assistants in California.
These requirements are required of all California PTs and PTA:
Step 1: Physical Therapy Education Program
Step 2: Apply for Licensure to the California Physical Therapy Board
Step 3: Complete you’re Testing Requirements and Renew Your License
Step 1: Complete a Physical Therapy Education Program
To become a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant in California it is necessary to graduate from an accredited PT/PTA degree program. There are currently 14 PT and 11 PTA programs across the state that confers degrees and certification for licensure, including courses in:
-Human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, neuroscience, clinical practice in, clinical imaging, tract physiology, etc.
To graduate from a Physical Therapy or Physician Assistant program, your school must issue you a Certificate of Completion with the P1E Form. You will be required to submit this form later when applying for licensure in California.
PTA candidates who meet these three alternative pathway requirements will be eligible for a California license:
- In technical physical therapy training at least 30 credits
- In general education 15 credits
- They also need three years of experience working under the supervision of a licensed PT.
Step 2: Submit an Application for Licensure to the California Physical Therapy Board
If you have graduated from your education program, then fill out a complete application for licensure. It should include:
- Application fees:
- Application fees $125
- For physical therapists $100 initial license fees
- fingerprint fee $49 for out-of-state residents
- Completed application of PT or PTA
- Certificate of Completion of the P1E Form
- Fingerprints for a criminal background check
Your initial application will be your first step to taking the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE). Once you submit a complete and qualified application, based on its evaluation by the state Physical Therapy Board, it will allow you to register for the NPTE.
If you are already a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant in another state, then you will still need to provide the P1E form and proof of your out-of-state license NPTE score.
Step 3: Complete California Testing Requirements
There are two exams you must complete in order to receive your license from the California Board of Physical Therapy:
- CAL-LAW- California Law Examination
- NPTE- National Physical Therapy Exam
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) offers physical therapy exams through Prometric testing locations. You can register and take both the physical therapy exam and the California law exam here.
CAL-LAW- California Law Examination – The California Law Examination is a test that ensures your understanding of state laws and regulations which regulate your practice as a PT or PTA. More specifically, it will cover topics such as:
- Physical Therapy Practice Act
- Statutes Outside the Physical Therapist Practice Act
- Physical Therapy Regulations
National Physical Therapy Exam-
The physical therapist and physical therapy assistants both are presented by the NPTE:
250 questions – PT Exam
200 questions – PTA Exam
These exams are conducted for your knowledge of the specific areas of physical therapy, including:
Treatments, Function and Practice-specific roles
- Musculoskeletal system
- Therapeutic options, devices, and equipment
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary system
- Other important body systems
- Lymphatic system
- Intervention options
- Neuromuscular and nervous systems
Step 4: Renew Your License-
You need to renew your license as this license is valid for two years and then it will expire at the end of the month of your birth. You will receive a renewal notice notifying you that your license will expire soon. You receive this notice approximately three months before your license expires. You should note that your renewal application process takes up to six weeks. You can renew your license on paper or online.
The number of physical therapists practicing in California is on the rise, with more than 22,100 licensed professionals currently employed in this field. With an average salary at almost $$ 104,500 per year and a projected increase for demand according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 2017-2022: Physical Therapists and Therapy Assistants; Future Demand Projections show that there will be greater opportunities for these workers.