How to Become a Physical Therapist in Connecticut
The demand for professionals in the field of physical therapy is projected to be strong going into the coming decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a field with a predicted nationwide growth rate of over 35 percent, the higher-than-average percentage of seniors in Connecticut may drive the growth of physical therapy jobs to an even higher rate across the state. The average physical therapist in Connecticut earned over $84,000 last year.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is responsible for licensing physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in association with the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists. To earn your license you will need to complete the following steps:
- Step 1: Complete a PT/PTA Education Program
- Step 2: Apply for a License
- Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
- Step 4: Renew Your Connecticut License
Step 1: Complete a PT/PTA Education Program
As you research how to become a physical therapist or PT assistant in Connecticut, the first requirement you will encounter is school. To become licensed you must complete a PT or PTA program that is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association’s Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). There are four PT and two PTA degree or certification programs with CAPTE accreditation in Connecticut.
Your education in the field of physical therapy will prepare you to take the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) as well as practice as an qualified professional in your field. Courses of study will include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Human biology
- Major body systems
- Physical therapy diagnoses and treatments
- Conducting examinations
- Clinical practice or practicum
Step 2: Apply for a License
Once you’ve graduated from your PT or PTA educational program you will be ready to make an application for licensure to the Department of Public Health. Before you will be eligible for a license you will need to pass the NPTE, however the Department of Public Health must first clear you to take this exam, and this clearance is based on a complete and qualified application with the Department.
Prospective physical therapists will need to complete a Physical Therapist License Application. To become a physical therapy assistant in Connecticut you will need to submit a PTA License Application. You must also arrange for the following materials to be sent to the Department of Public Health:
- $285 PT application fee or $190 PTA application fee
- Official transcripts from the school where you completed – or will soon complete – your PT or PTA education
All required materials should be sent to:
Connecticut Department of Public Health
PT or PTA Application Processing
410 Capitol Avenue, MS#12 MQA
PO Box 340308
Hartford, CT 06134
If you are already a licensed PT or PTA in a different state, you will need to include proof of such with your
application for Connecticut licensure.
Prospective physical therapists have the option of applying for a temporary permit if the following conditions are
- You are a recent graduate of a physical therapy education program
- You have not taken the NPTE
- Your Application for a Temporary Permit has been approved and you have received your temporary permit
Your temporary permit will be valid for 120 days from the time it is issued and cannot be renewed. It will allow you to practice as a physical therapist under the close supervision of an experienced and licensed Connecticut PT.
Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
The NPTE is sponsored by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), and you must pass this exam before you will be eligible for licensure. The exam itself costs $370 and you are allowed to test a maximum or three times per year, up to a total of a maximum of six times. There are two different versions of the exam, depending on whether you are trying to become a a PT or PTA:
- 250 questions on the subjects of:
- Major body organ systems
- Conducting a physical therapy examination
- Types of PT interventions, devices, equipment, and therapeutic options
- 200 questions on the subjects of:
- Major body organ systems
- Collection of physical therapy data
- Types of PTA interventions, devices, equipment, and therapeutic options
Step 4: Renew Your Connecticut License
Your PT or PTA license will expire every year, and you will receive a renewal reminder notice 60 days before it expires.
If you are a physical therapist you will need to earn at least 20 hours of continuing education in order to renew your license. You are responsible for determining what qualifies as continuing education, and this should be related to improving your practice as a physical therapist. This could include:
- Attending workshops or conferences on the topic of physical therapy
- Taking college and university courses that develop your skills as a physical therapist
- Pursuing online learning opportunities that relate to your field of practice
When earning your continuing education, make sure to retain proof of attendance or completion. You are exempt from earning continuing education during your first year of practice.