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How to Become a Physical Therapist in Maryland

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3,990 Physical Therapists were employed in Maryland in 2013 along with 1,340 Physical Therapy Assistants.  Their annual salaries were $87,190 and $53,520 respectively.
The Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (BPHTE) regulates Physical Therapy professionals in Maryland.  Here are the steps you need to complete to become a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant in Maryland:

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Physical Therapy Assistant:                      

  • Earn a Physical Therapy Assistant Associate’s degree from an accredited program.
  • Apply for your Maryland Physical Therapy Assistant license and submit your exam questionnaire.
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
  • Pass the Maryland Jurisprudence Examination.
  • Meet your Continuing Education requirements.

Physical Therapist:

  • Earn a Physical Therapy Doctoral degree from an accredited program.
  • Apply for your Maryland Physical Therapist license and submit your exam questionnaire.
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
  • Pass the Maryland Jurisprudence Examination.
  • Meet your Continuing Education requirements.

Step 1:  Complete Your Physical Therapy Degree

Physical Therapy Assistant

You need to have an Associate’s degree from a school approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE) to practice as a Physical Therapy Assistant in Maryland.  You can get an Associate of Applied Science in the field from these Maryland schools:

  • Allegany College of Maryland
  • Baltimore City Community College
  • Carroll Community College
  • Chesapeake Area Consortium for Higher Education
  • Montgomery College—Takoma Park Campus

Physical Therapist

You need to have a Physical Therapist degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE) approved school to practice in Maryland.  You can obtain a Doctorate in the field from the following Maryland universities:

  • University of Maryland—Baltimore
  • University of Maryland—Eastern Shore

Step 2:  Apply for Your Maryland Physical Therapy License

Once you have your degree, your next step to getting Maryland licensure in the PT field is to fill out your application form and exam questionnaire.  You will use the same application form to apply for Physical Therapist and Physical Therapy Assistant licenses.  After you have filled it out, you will need to get the application form notarized and include a picture of your head and shoulders.  You need to have your transcripts sent directly from your school to the BPHTE office. 

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

You must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) before you can get certification to practice in Maryland.  You will need authorization from the BPHTE before you can take this exam.  They will notify the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) that you are eligible to sit for the exam.

Your education should have prepared you well to take the NPTE.  In the 2010-2012 period, all of Maryland’s Physical Therapist graduates passed their exam.  The passing rates for Physical Therapy Assistants graduates in Maryland ranged from 89.1% to 97.9% during this time period.

Step 4: Pass the Maryland Jurisprudence Examination

Maryland’s General Regulations require that you pass an exam on the Maryland State Physical Therapy Laws and Regulations.  It is known as the Jurisprudence Exam.  The BPHTE will email the exam to you as a PDF once they have received your paid application.  You will need to score 90% on this open book exam to pass it.

Step 5:  Meet Your Continuing Education Requirements

Once you have been practicing for two years, you will need to renew your license.  Your renewal year will vary depending on whether your license ends in an odd or even number.  If it ends in an odd number, you will renew in an odd numbered year, while even numbered licenses are renewed in even numbered years.

The BPHTE will send out instructions for renewing your license ahead of time.  It is critical that you notify them of any address changes.  They will fine you $100 if your newsletter or renewal notice is returned in the mail.  You will not be able to renew your license until you pay this fine.

You will need Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to renew your license.  You must obtain them between April 1 and March 31 of the two years before your renewal.  The BPHTE provides a list of approved courses.  Any course sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is automatically approved.

If you are new to the profession, you may want to join the American Physical Therapy Association of Maryland.

Physical Therapy Assistant

You will need 2.0 CEUs or 20 contact hours that have been approved by the BPHTE to renew your license.

Physical Therapist

You will need 3.0 CEUs or 30 contact hours that have been approved by the BPHTE to renew your license.

Sources:
http://www.state.me.us/