Delaware Physical Therapist/ Physical Therapy Assistant in Certification and Licensure
If the projected national growth rate for employment opportunities in the field of physical therapy holds true in Delaware, the state will see a growth of more than 200 additional physical therapist jobs over the next decade. Physical therapists and their assistants provide an essential service to Delaware residents, allowing them to get back to work and their enjoyment of life. Last year the average annual salary of physical therapists in the state totaled $81,850.
Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation tasks the Examining Board of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers with maintaining the rules for PT and PTA licensure, as well as the issuance of these. You will work with this Board as you complete the following steps to become a physical therapy professional in Delaware:
- Step 1: Earn a Degree in Physical Therapy
- Step 2: Apply for a Delaware License
- Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
- Step 4: Renew Your PT/PTA License
Step 1: Earn a Degree in Physical Therapy
As you prepare yourself for a career in the field of physical therapy, the first task you must accomplish is education. All physical therapists or physical therapy assistants in Delaware are required to have graduated from an educational program that is approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In Delaware there is one such program for those who want to become a physical therapist, and there are two such programs for candidates who want to study to become a physical therapy assistant.
In addition to preparing you to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE), your physical therapy degree program will ensure you are prepared to be an effective PT or PTA, covering topics like:
- Human body and major organ systems
- Physical therapy treatment options and methods
- Diagnosis and detection of problems
- Professional ethics and responsibilities
- Supervised physical therapy clinical experience or practicum
Step 2: Apply for a Delaware License
Upon certification or graduation from your physical therapy program you will be qualified to apply for a license to practice in Delaware. A complete application for licensure with the Examining Board of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers should include:
- Application Packet for PT/PTA Licensure
- Application fee of $125
- Verification of your PT or PTA license in another state, if applying based on reciprocity
- Official transcripts from your PT/PTA education program sent directly to the Board
Your application will also be your key to taking the NPTE, as the Board must certify to the sponsors of this exam that you are a qualified candidate. While you are waiting to take the NPTE or while you are waiting for your NPTE score, you can apply for a temporary license that will be valid for three months if you meet all other requirements for a PT/PTA license. To practice with this temporary license you will need to work under the supervision of an experienced and licensed physical therapist in Delaware.
Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
The National Physical Therapy Exam will determine whether or not your are qualified to become a PT or PTA in Delaware. The NPTE is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and costs $370. To take this exam you will start by creating a registration account, and once the Delaware Examining Board of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers approves your for testing, you will be scheduled to take the NPTE.
The NPTE itself is offered for both physical therapists and physical therapy assistants:
- PT Exam – 250 questions on topics such as:
- Major human organ systems
- PT-specific duties, roles, and responsibilities
- Basis for evaluation of a range of prognoses and diagnoses
- PTA Exam – 200 questions on topics such as:
- Major human organ systems
- PTA-specific duties, roles, and responsibilities
- Effective treatment and its impact on different diseases and ailments
A passing score is considered to be a criterion-referenced score of 600.
Step 4: Renew Your PT/PTA License
Your PT or PTA license will expire in odd-numbered years on January 31st. You will be mailed a renewal notice several weeks before your license is set to expire. To renew this you will need to earn 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) during each renewal period. One CEU is equivalent to 10 hours of contact time, and each renewal period you must include the following subjects as part of your CEUs:
- 0.2 units of ethics
- 0.1 unit for a CPR course
You can renew your license online through your Delaware Licensee Online Services account.
You can find more information about employment and renewal activities through local organizations such as the Delaware Physical Therapy Association (DPTA).