How to Become a Physical Therapist in Minnesota

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that 3,370 Physical Therapists practiced in Minnesota in 2013. They earned an average annual salary of $76,560. One thousand and sixty Physical Therapist Assistants were employed in Minnesota in 2013. Their average annual salary was $46,960 in 2013.

The Minnesota State Board of Physical Therapy regulates PT professionals in the state. Their goal is to protect the citizens of Minnesota by ensuring that only qualified professionals practice Physical Therapy in the state. Here are the steps you need to complete to become a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant in Minnesota:

Physical Therapy Assistant:

  • Earn a Physical Therapy Assistant Associate’s degree from an accredited program.
  • Apply for your Minnesota Physical Therapy Assistant license.
  • Apply to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
  • Consider applying for a temporary permit to practice.
  • Meet Minnesota’s Continuing Education Requirements.

Physical Therapist:

  • Earn a Physical Therapy Doctoral degree from an accredited program.
  • Apply for your Minnesota Physical Therapist license.
  • Apply to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
  • Consider applying for a temporary permit to practice
  • Meet Minnesota’s Continuing Education Requirements.

Step 1: Complete Your Physical Therapy Degree

Your first step in becoming a Physical Therapy professional is to earn a degree from a school approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy (CAPTE). You will not be considered eligible to apply for Minnesota PT licensure until you complete your education.

Physical Therapy Assistant

You can earn an Associate of Applied Science, Associate in Applied Science, or an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant from one of the following Minnesota CAPTE approved schools:

Anoka Ramsey Community College
Lake Superior College
Northland Community and Technical College
St. Catherine University

Physical Therapist

You can earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the following the CAPTE approved schools in Minnesota:

  • College of St. Scholastica
  • Mayo School of Health Sciences
  • St. Catherine University
  • University of Minnesota

Step 2: Apply for Your Minnesota Physical Therapy License

Once you have obtained your Physical Therapy degree, you can apply for your Physical Therapy license. You will need to have your school send two items to the Minnesota Board of Physical Therapy:

  • A certified copy of your transcript
  • A Physical Therapy Certificate of Education form showing that you have completed all of your clinical training and didactics

You need to provide a number of types of documentation with your application. Some of them include:

  • Recommendation forms from two Physical Therapists
  • A recent 2 x 3 full faced photograph
  • A record of the following:
    • All of your education from high school on Postgraduate work
    • Military service if applicable: a notarized copy of your discharge papers
  • Any convictions of crimes related to the following:
    • Crimes involving moral turpitude
    • Felonies
    • Gross misdemeanors
    • Related to the practice of Physical Therapy

You must have your application notarized before you submit it. You should also print out the Minnesota Practice Therapy Practice Act, since you are required to be familiar with this information before you apply.

Physical Therapy Assistants

You can find your application form on the Board’s website. They also provide extensive instructions on how to apply.

Physical Therapists

You can find your application form on the Board’s website. They also provide extensive instructions on the application process.

Step 3: Apply to Take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE)

You will need approval from the Minnesota Physical Therapy Board before you can take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for Physical Therapists or Physical Therapy Assistants. You must pass this exam before you can receive Minnesota licensure to practice.

The Board will notify you by email when they have approved your application to take the exam. You will also receive an Authorization to Test letter from the organization that administers the exam—the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

Your degree should serve you well when you take the NPTE. The passing rates in 2010-2012 were very high for graduates of CAPTE approved Minnesota schools. All of the graduates passed from two of the Physical Therapist Doctoral programs, while the pass rates of the other schools ranged from 98.8% to 99.05%. The comparable rates for Physical Therapy Assistant graduates ranged from 84.1% to 100% during that time frame.

The Board cautions you to be very careful about sharing information about the questions on the NPTE. They are copyrighted, and the FSBPT aggressively penalizes people who share these questions.

Step 4: Consider Applying for a Temporary Permit to Practice

You can apply for a temporary permit to practice Physical Therapy while you are waiting to take the NPTE. You can find detailed information on the temporary permit process such as permit issue and expiration dates in the packet of application instructions. You must have completed a number of steps to be able to apply for this permit:

  • Sent in your complete application and provide all supporting documentation
  • Received approval to take the NPTE
  • Received your Authorization to Test letter
  • Scheduled your exam date
  • Sent in your temporary permit form and fee
  • Notified the Board of your test confirmation and number

Once you have received this permit, you must practice under immediate, direct, and on premise supervision. You can only get this permit once, and it cannot be renewed.

Step 5: Meet Minnesota’s Continuing Education Requirements

You must renew your license each year before January 1. The Board will send you a renewal notice about 45 days before your license expires. Thus, it is critical that you notify the Board within 30 days any time you change your address.

The Michigan Board of Physical Therapy requires that you complete at least 20 contact hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to be able to maintain your Physical Therapy Assistant or Physical Therapist certification. The Board describes the different categories of continuing education hours on their website.

You can obtain all of your CE hours through taking approved courses. You also have the option of obtaining some of your hours by making PT presentations or teaching about the field.

As a practicing PT professional, joining the Minnesota Physical Therapy Association can help you keep abreast of new legislation and regulations.