Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is on the physical therapy licensing information webpage.

How long does the application process take?

You may get the most current application processing times on our Application Status webpage.

Applications requiring board review may not be considered until the next regularly scheduled board meeting. The board meets about every six weeks. You may view the board meeting schedule here.

If I have a student-issued transcript, can I send that with my application?

No. All required documentation must be sent directly from the issuing institution to:

Department of Health
Board of Physical Therapy
P.O. Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877

If I'm licensed in another state, may I begin practicing once you have my application?

No. You must have a valid Washington physical therapy license before practicing as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.

Is there a limit on how many times I can take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)?

An applicant may take the NPTE a maximum of six times, except that applicants who receive two very low scores on the exam will not be allowed to test again. A very low score is defined as performing at or below chance level (scale score four hundred and below).

How many hours of continuing competency/continuing education am I required to report and when?

To renew a physical therapist license, you must have 32 hours of continuing education and 200 hours of physical therapy employment every two years.

To renew a physical therapist assistant license, you must have 24 hours of continuing education and 200 hours of physical therapy employment every two years.

Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants must have completed this requirement by their birth date every two years. The continuing education (CE) and employment hours must have been obtained during the preceding two years, from birth date to birth date. If you're reporting this year, any CE that was obtained before your birth date two years ago or after your current birth date, cannot be used to satisfy the continuing education or employment requirement. The expiration date for all credentials is the practitioner's birthday.

Does the board pre-approve continuing education courses?

The board does not pre-approve continuing education courses for presenters or licensees. Licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants may only report continuing education courses that are specifically related to the practice of physical therapy. Continuing education courses must also have specified goals and objectives.

May I get an extension of time to complete my continuing education?

Extensions may be granted for emergency situations only. It's not advisable to wait until the continuing education is due to request the extension. If you have exhausted all possibilities for fulfilling your continuing competency requirements and are contemplating requesting an extension, keep in mind that:

  • Requests can take six weeks or longer. If your license is set to expire before your request can be considered, you can't practice without an active license.
  • If your request is denied, you'll still have to complete the CE hours and 200 hours employment prior to your expiration date.
  • If an extension is granted, you must complete all past due requirements in addition to the 32 hours of CE and 200 hours of employment for physical therapists and 24 hours of CE and 200 hours of employment for physical therapist assistants required for the next renewal cycle.
  • The board grants extensions of time to complete continuing competency requirements only for extenuating circumstances.

    Examples of circumstances the board does not consider to be extenuating are:

    • Employer no longer pays for CE/limited personal funds
    • Childcare/pregnancy
    • Living outside the United States
    • Course was cancelled - not enough time to find another
    • Working in a state that doesn't require CE
    • Recently divorced
What happens if I'm audited?

The board audits a percentage of all currently licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants to ensure compliance with the continuing competency requirements. If audited, you'll be required to provide:

  • Certificates of completion for each course, and, if not contained in the certificate of completion, information describing the course sponsors, the goals and objectives of the course, the credentials of the presenter as a recognized authority on the subject presented, dates of attendance, and total hours for all CE courses being reported.
  • One-page synopsis in twelve-point font for each hour of reading time for books or articles reviewed. The time spent writing a synopsis is not reportable
  • One-page synopsis in twelve-point font for each hour of running time for live or recorded instructional electronic media
  • Outline of presentation materials, date, and location of presentation for preparation
  • Proof of publication which may include poster presentations
  • A transcript verifying courses taken. One quarter credit is equal to ten hours; one trimester credit is equal to 12 hours; and one semester credit is equal to 15 hours.
  • Certificate of completion of Option from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)
  • Verification of aptitude continuing competency completion from the FSBPT
  • A letter or certificate from the student's academic institution verifying that the student has completed the course of clinical instruction. Each thirty-two hours of student mentorship equals one hour for purposes of CE credit
  • Proof of 200 hours of physical therapy employment
What credential evaluation agencies does Washington accept?

The Board of Physical Therapy recognizes only the following credential evaluation services. The board requires each credential evaluation service to complete the appropriate Course Work Tool (CWT) adopted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). The appropriate CWT means the CWT in place at the time the foreign educated physical therapist earned their first professional degree in physical therapy.

Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy, Inc. (FCCPT)
124 W. St. S., 3rd Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314-1917
703-684-8406

International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD)
3600 Market St., Ste. 450
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2651
215-222-8454, ext. 510, fax 215-349-0026

International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
P.O. Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
310-258-9451

Under my graduate interim permit, may I have more than one sponsoring physical therapist?

Yes. The law requires you to be directly supervised, including co-signature of notes, by a licensed physical therapist. Some interim permit holders work at more than one facility. You may be sponsored by as many supervising physical therapists as you need

What is the process for having a verification of my Washington physical therapy license sent to another jurisdiction?

Submit a written request and the verification fee with a check or money order made payable to:

Department of Health
Board of Physical Therapy
P.O. Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

How much is my renewal fee?

If you renew on or before your birth date, pay the annual fee. If you renew after your birth date, pay the renewal and late penalty fees. Late penalty fees aren't waived.

How long does the renewal process take?

Renewal notices are mailed six to eight weeks before your expiration date to allow enough processing time. It's important to remit payment immediately to ensure that your license will be delivered on or before your expiration date. It's against the law to work without a current license and you're required to post a copy of the license in a conspicuous location at your worksite.

It's important to plan ahead. With more than 7,000 licensed physical therapists and 2,300 licensed physical therapist assistants in Washington, the board isn't able to fax copies of licenses or provide written verification for those who renew late.