Physical Therapist/ Physical Therapy Assistant in Georgia Certification and Licensure
Working as a physical therapist or PT assistant in Georgia can be a satisfying and stable career that lasts a lifetime. Jobs in this field are projected to grow much faster than average during the next decade, a growth that can be largely attributed to Georgia’s increasing insurance coverage and percentage of elder residents. Candidates who are interested in pursuing certification in the field of physical therapy in Georgia will work through the State Board of Physical Therapy to obtain a license. To become eligible for a PT or PTA license you must complete the following steps:
- Step 1: Graduate with a Degree in Physical Therapy
- Step 2: Apply for Licensure with the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy
- Step 3: Pass the Required Georgia Exams
- Step 4: Renew Your License
Step 1: Graduate with a Degree in Physical Therapy
The first important step you will take to become a licensed PT or PTA in Georgia is the completion of a physical therapy degree program. The school you choose must be approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). This commission accredits physical therapy educational programs throughout the United States, and in Georgia you can choose from:
- 6 accredited physical therapist programs
- 5 accredited physical therapy assistant programs
Your physical therapy degree program will lay a solid foundation of knowledge in this field which you will build upon with clinical experience and later when you begin work as a licensed PT or PTA. Your program of study will include courses in:
- Ethics and professional responsibilities
- Human anatomy, physiology, and biology
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Options and methods of physical therapy treatment
- Musculoskeletal and other major organ systems
Step 2: Apply for Licensure with the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy
The next step you must take is to complete an application for licensure with the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy. To become a physical therapist you will complete an Application for Licensure. To become a physical therapy assistant you can use this same application. As part of the application process you will also need to provide proof that you graduated or will soon graduate from an approved PT or PTA education program.
You can also apply for either of these licenses online.
If you are already a licensed PT or PTA in another state and are applying for a license based on reciprocity, you will need to arrange to have your NPTE scores sent to the State Board of Physical Therapy, as well as a Verification or Licensure Form. To be eligible for reciprocity you will need to have at least two years of work experience as a PT or PTA.
Step 3: Pass the Required Georgia Exams
You will need to pass the following exams to become a licensed PT or PTA in Georgia. Both of these are administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT):
- National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
- Georgia Jurisprudence Exam
You should register for the NPTE and Jurisprudence Exam when you apply to become licensed with the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy. The Board will review your application and notify the FSBPT that you are eligible to take these.
National Physical Therapy Exam
An important exam for PTs and PTAs across the country, the NPTE will measure whether or not you have the knowledge it takes to become licensed in Georgia. The exam is offered in two formats, one for PTs and one for PTAs. The content of the NPTE includes:
- PT/PTA ethics and responsibilities
- PT/PTA roles, duties, and the performance of such
- Types of physical therapy interventions
- Devices, equipment, and other options for treatment
- Safety and protection
- Current research in the field of physical therapy
- Important systems of the human body
Georgia Jurisprudence Exam
The Jurisprudence Exam is required to ensure that you are aware of the rules and laws that pertain to working as a PT or PTA in Georgia. You can find useful study information for this test in the Candidate Information Bulletin for the Georgia Jurisprudence Exam. This assessment will specifically cover:
You will have one hour to complete the exam’s 50 multiple-choice questions, and a passing score is considered to be a minimum of 80 percent correct answers.
Step 4: Renew Your License
Your license is valid for two years and will expire on December 31st of odd-numbered years. To renew your license you will need to obtain 30 clock hours of continuing education between each renewal. At least four of these hours must be in the subject areas of ethics and jurisprudence.
- $65 for a PT license
- $45 for a PTA license
You can find additional information regarding employment, continuing competency opportunities, and other helpful information with professional organizations such as the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia (PTAG).
Last year the average physical therapist’s annual salary in Georgia was $80,770.