Frequently Asked Questions about Physical Therapists/Physical Therapist Assistants

Have a question about being a PT/PTA? See if your question is answered here.

Physical therapists provide rehabilitative care for patients with physical disabilities or dysfunctions.

 

     

    How do I get an application for the examination and for a license?

    Contact Professional Credential Services, Inc. at 877-887-9727 for an application packet for both the examination and for licensure.

    For additional information about the exam, visit the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy web site at http://www.fsbpt.org .

     

    Can I get a temporary license to practice in Massachusetts?

    The board does not grant temporary licenses for graduates of Physical Therapy or Physical Therapy Assistant programs. The law does allow those who have submitted a complete and accepted application for licensure by examination to practice under the direction of a physical therapist licensed in Massachusetts. Such practice under the direction of a physical therapist may continue until the announcement of the results of the next succeeding examination. Such practice under the direction of a physical therapist is not available for those candidates seeking licensure by endorsement. Candidates, and those licensed physical therapists directing candidates, should review G.L. c. 112, § 23C carefully. Candidates practicing under the direction of a licensed Massachusetts physical therapist must sign their documentation by designating their authorizing academic credential (e.g., DPT or MSPT), although the Board reiterates that its regulations require licensed physical therapists to sign their documentation PT or PTA for licensed physical therapist assistants. Although this policy has theoretical applicability for PTAs, given that they continue to be examined by continuous testing, the Board does not anticipate it will practically have any application to them.

    Do I need continuing education (CE) credits to renew my PT/PTA license?

    No. MA does not currently have a requirement for CE as a condition of license renewal. It is recommended that all licensees engage in continuing competence.

    I am a physical therapist assistant. Can I work under the supervision of a physician rather than a physical therapist?

    No. You must be supervised by a physical therapist. State law (Chapter 112, section 23A), defines a physical therapist assistant as "a person duly licensed…..who assists in the practice of physical therapy under the direction of a duly licensed physical therapist."

    While there is no limit on how many supportive personnel a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant can supervise, you should exercise professional judgement about how many supportive personnel you can safely and effectively supervise.

    Only physical therapist assistant students and physical therapy aides and rehabilitation aides must have their documentation signed by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. Aides may not make any entries in a patient record regarding the patient's status. See the Board regulations at 259 CMR 5.00 for other details about supervision requirements and documentation.

     

     

     

    I have a Physical Therapy/Physical Therapist Assistant license in another state/country. What do I need for a license in MA?

    Under MA law, only graduates of a board-approved, accredited physical therapist assistant program are eligible for licensure as physical therapist assistants. In order to receive a license, you must have:

    • a high school diploma or a passing score on a high school equivalency test;   
    • satisfactory proof of good moral character;
    • graduated from a Board-approved, accredited educational program leading to professional qualification ( (physical therapy/physical therapist assistant);
    • official documentation of a passing score on the licensure examination; and
    • verification of licensure status from every state in which you have ever been licensed.

     

    I am a graduate of a physical therapy program in another country. What is required for a physical therapist license in MA?

    The Board requires a review of educational credentials conducted by the (FCCPT) Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy-Type 1 Evaluation. The FCCPT evaluation must document that the educational preparation is the equivalent of that required of a U.S.-educated applicant. If educated in a language other than English, you must provide official documentation of a passing score on all sections of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). In addition, you must provide official documentation that you are authorized to practice as a physical therapist, without restriction, from the legal jurisdiction in which you graduated or in which you are a citizen.

    FCCPT
    Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy
    124 West Street South
    3rd Floor
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Phone: (703) 684 - 8406
    Fax: (703) 684 - 8715
    Email: help@fccpt.org

    Website (USA)
    http://www.fccpt.org/

    My license expired. What should I do?

    It is not legal for you to practice in MA after your license expires or lapses.

    The requirements for renewal or reactivation of your MA license depends on how long ago the license was last active, and your professional practice since that time.

    • If lapsed for one renewal cycle or less, you must pay the past due license fee, a late fee, and the current license fee ( Fees and License Renewal)
    • If lapsed for more than one renewal cycle, and still practicing in MA you must pay all past due license fees, a late fee, and the current license fee ( Fees and License Renewal). You must sign a statement acknowledging that you have practiced without a valid license. You may be required to appear before the Board to explain your unlicensed practice; Board regulations stipulate that you may also be required to achieve a passing score on the licensing examination.
    • If lapsed for more than one renewal cycle AND if not practicing during the period the license was lapsed, you must pay an application fee, the late fee, and the current license fee ( Fees and License Renewal). You must sign an affidavit, under the penalties of perjury, that you have not practiced while the license was lapsed. You may be required to appear before the Board to explain your unlicensed practice; Board regulations stipulate that you may also be required to achieve a passing score on the licensing examination.
    • If practicing in another state during the period the MA license was lapsed, you must pay an application fee, the late fee, and the current license fee ( Fees and License Renewal). You must provide an official "record of standing" or "certified statement" [license verification] indicating the license is in good standing in the state of current licensure as well as a "record of standing" or "certified statement" indicating the status of the license in every state in which you have been licensed.

    Feedback

    Did you find what you were looking for on this webpage? * required
    We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.
    We use your feedback to help us improve this site but we are not able to respond directly. Please do not include personal or contact information. If you need a response, please locate the contact information elsewhere on this page or in the footer.

    If you need to report child abuse, any other kind of abuse, or need urgent assistance, please click here.

    Feedback