How to Become a Physical Therapist in Indiana

The field of physical therapy in Indiana is projected to grow much faster than average professions throughout the state, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting expansion upwards of 30 percent in the coming decade. Last year the average Indiana salary for a physical therapist approached $81,000.

You will be applying for your license or certificate with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency’s Physical Therapy Committee. The Committee issues two important credentials: the physical therapist license and the physical therapy assistant certification. The rules and regulations for obtaining these are determined by Indiana State Law as well as the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, and to practice in Indiana you will need to navigate the following steps:

  • Step 1: Earn a Degree in the Field of Physical Therapy
  • Step 2: Make an Application with the Physical Therapy Committee
  • Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)
  • Step 4: Renew Your License

Step 1: Earn a Degree in the Field of Physical Therapy

To become a physical therapy assistant or physical therapist you will first need to earn a degree. Prospective physical therapists must earn at least a bachelor’s degree that is specifically in physical therapy. If you are planning to become a physical therapy assistant you need to earn at least an associate’s degree that is specifically in physical therapy assisting. You must earn your degree from an approved school, and to be approved your educational program must be accredited or meet the standards for accreditation as defined by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Your degree program will include courses in important subjects such as:

  • Human biology and anatomy
  • Skeletal system
  • Physical therapy practices and treatment
  • Ethics
  • Body mechanics and motor skill development
  • Clinical practicum

Step 2: Make an Application with the Physical Therapy Committee

Once you have graduated from your education program you will be ready to make an application to become a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant in Indiana. You will need to arrange for your official transcripts to be sent to the Physical Therapy Committee, along with your application and a $100 application fee:

            Physical Therapy Committee
            Professional Licensing Agency
            402 West Washington Street, Room W072
            Indianapolis, IN 46204

If you already have a PT license or PTA certification in another state, you can make an application for licensure or certification in Indiana by requesting that your NPTE score and physical therapy education program’s transcripts be sent to the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee.

Temporary Permit
You may also consider obtaining a temporary permit that would allow you to work in your profession under the supervision of an Indiana-licensed physical therapist. You are eligible for a temporary permit once you have applied for a traditional Indiana PT license or PTA certificate and you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are a licensed PT or PTA in another state
  • You are waiting to take the NPTE

The temporary permit will expire after 90 days, once you become licensed, or once your application for licensure is denied, whichever comes first.

Step 3: Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)

The NPTE is sponsored by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), an organization that is responsible for administering the test to prospective PTs and PTAs across the country. To register for the NPTE you will need to start by creating an account with the FSBPT. When you application for licensure or certification with the Indiana Physical Therapy Committee is determined to be qualifying and complete, it will notify the FSBPT that you are eligible to sit for the NPTE.

The NPTE itself is offered in different forms depending on the profession you are pursuing:

The exam covers the specific roles, functions, and responsibilities of PTs or PTAs, as well as:

  • Physical therapy intervention choices
  • Treatment effectiveness on a variety of disorders
  • Devices, equipment, and other therapeutic options
  • Important human body systems:
    • Lymphatic system
    • Neuromuscular and nervous systems
    • Musculoskeletal system
    • Cardiovascular and pulmonary system

Indiana considers a scaled score of 600 to be passing.

Step 4: Renew Your License

Your license or certificate is valid for 24 months and will expire in even-numbered years on July 1st. To renew a PT license or PTA certificate you will need to earn 22 hours of continuing competency units, two of which need to include Indiana Jurisprudence and ethics. At least 10 of these units must be in Category I activities and not more than 10 may be in Category II activities:

  • Category I
    • Coursework
    • Workshops
    • Seminars
    • Symposia
  • Category II
    • Professional research or writing
    • Adjunct teaching in a PT or PTA educational program
    • Presenting in a workshop, symposium, or seminar