What Physical Therapists Should Know about Multi-State Licensure

Girl receiving physical therapy.

What Physical Therapists Should Know about Multi-State Licensure

Multi-state licensure is a topic of increasing interest in the physical therapy community. With the promise of a Physical Therapy Licensure Compact expanding throughout the states, physical therapists are dreaming of new opportunities thanks to the improved portability of licensure.

Already, some states recognize the physical therapy licensure of other states, allowing physical therapists to continue practicing with just a few additional steps. The adoption of a multi-state compact is making headway, with Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Tennessee having already enacted the compact system and several other states having passed legislation to hop aboard as well.

What Is a Multi-State Licensure Compact?

The promise of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact is a contract between two or more states creating an agreement. Each state considers the rules of others while maintaining authority over the licenses it approves.

Once several states approve the compact, you will not need to obtain a license in each state you want to work in. You must simply seek approval through the state’s licensing agency while maintaining licensure in your designated home state.

Why Is a Multi-State Licensure Compact Important?

Increased mobility for physical therapy licenses can improve the nature of the industry by facilitating helpful changes to the health care system. This new agreement can also change the way physical therapists learn and offer more internships and fellowships to up-and-coming professionals around the country.

This compact could also facilitate the rise of telehealth in many states. Telehealth can improve client engagement and possibly even improve patient outcomes. While government programs do not currently support telehealth, an increase in quality services rendered through this method could change this.

Who Can Work in Multiple States?

Physical therapists must still abide by strict criteria in order to practice across state lines. To maintain your license, you can have no limitation from any other state. You must have had no adverse licensing board action within the last two years, and you must still undergo a criminal background check and prove you passed the National Physical Therapy Exam.

Physical therapist helping an elderly woman.

Physical therapist shortage in your state? Perhaps not in the near future.

After you submit the information to the state’s licensing board, you will receive a decision much more quickly than if you were to apply for a new license. Once you receive the approval to practice physical therapy, you must abide by the state’s regulations to maintain it.

Why Is a Multi-State Licensure Compact Beneficial?

In sum, physical therapists benefit from only having to meet licensing requirements, including physical therapy continuing education, in one state. This agreement will also make the process of moving much less frustrating for physical therapists who are on the go. Additionally, physical therapists can now step in when another state is experiencing a shortage.

To prepare for a potential multi-state compact, you can pursue your physical therapy continuing education requirements. Our physical therapy courses help you prepare to practice in your home state or anywhere else you are approved to work.

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