Arizona Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy Assistant Certification and Licensure

The demand for physical therapists and their assistants is sky-rocketing in Arizona in no small part due to the
increasing percentage of state residents over the age of 65, currently at 15.4 percent. At 1.3 percentage points above
the national average, this number is projected to steadily increase in the future, as is the subsequent demand for
physical therapists. The average yearly PT salary in Arizona is also notable, which last year came out to $80,950.

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy is charged with ensuring all PTs and PTAs in the state meet a certain
standard of professionalism and qualifications. This is the agency you will be working with as you complete the
following steps to become a physical therapist or PTA in Arizona:

  • Step 1: Complete Physical Therapy Education
  • Step 2: Apply for a License
  • Step 3: Pass Arizona’s Required Exams
  • Step 4: Maintain and Renew Your License

Step 1: Complete Physical Therapy Education

Whether you want to become a physical therapy assistant or full-fledged physical therapist in Arizona, the first
thing you will need to do is complete a degree program in this field. This must be qualified to accredit PTs or PTAs,
and be approved by one of the following agencies:

  • Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
  • US Department of Education
  • Council on Higher Education Accreditation

Step 2: Apply for a License

Once you complete your physical therapy certification or degree program you will be ready to make an application for
licensure with the State Board of Physical Therapy. When you submit the application you will also need to register
with a separate agency – the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) – to take the National Physical
Therapy Exam (NPTE). If your application with the State Board is approved you will be cleared to take the NPTE. To
make a complete application for licensure you will need to mail an application packet to become a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant to the State Board at the following address. You must also arrange
for your official transcripts to be mailed directly to the State Board from your physical therapy school:

  • Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy, 4205 North 7th Avenue, Suite 208,Phoenix, AZ 85013

Once you pass your exams the State Board can issue you a license to practice as a physical therapist or physical
therapy assistant.

If you are applying to become a physical therapist in Arizona and you are currently licensed in another state, you
will fill out an application to become licensed by endorsement.

Step 3: Pass Arizona’s Required Exams

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy requires that you pass two exams before you can become a licensed PT or

  • National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
  • Jurisprudence Exam – AZLAW

Both these exams can be administered at any Prometric testing site and you will register for these through the Federation of State Boards of
Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)

The NPTE will determine whether or not you are qualified to practice as a PT or PTA in Arizona. This exam is
sponsored by the FSBPT and is offered in two versions:

These are both multiple-choice exams consisting of 250 and 200 questions, respectively. Both exams will evaluate your
knowledge of the essential aspects of physical therapy including the human body’s major organ systems and the specific
role of a PT or PTA.

Jurisprudence Exam – AZLAW

The Jurisprudence Exam, also referred to as the AZLAW exam, must be passed before you can obtain a physical therapy
license in the state. The State Board will mail you study materials once you register to take the Jurisprudence Exam,
and you may also find it helpful to consult the Candidate Handbook for the Jurisprudence Examination. The exam is taken on a computer and
consists of 50 multiple-choice questions, for which you will have one hour to complete. Specifically, the
Jurisprudence Exam covers:

  • Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §32-2001 et seq.
  • Arizona Administrative Code Title 4, Chapter 24, Articles 1 through 5

You can register to take the exam at any time when you feel you are well prepared. If you fail this exam
twice you will need to re-apply for a PT or PTA license.

Step 4: Maintain and Renew Your License

Your license is issued for two years, beginning September 1st of even-numbered years and ending August 31st two years
later. During this time you must accumulate at least 20 hours of continuing education. At least 10 of these hours must
be from what is known as Category A:

  • An accredited physical therapy, medical, or healthcare education program
  • A national or state association that involves physical therapy or healthcare
  • A national organization that specializes in physical therapy, healthcare, or medical care

You can renew your license online or with a PT or PTA. You will only need to submit proof of your continuing
education if you are audited, at which point you will need to have:

  • The details of the activity or course such as time, place, and sponsor
  • The amount of hours of the activity or course
  • Proof of completion, such as a certificate or attendance log