How to Become an Physical Therapist in North Dakota
The practice of physical therapy in North Dakota is regulated by the North Dakota Board of Physical Therapy. This board is made up of five members; two are physical therapists, two are medical doctors, and one is a public member. The board is responsible for licensing, monitoring, and, if necessary, disciplining physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in North Dakota.
While there are not many physical therapists or physical therapy assistants in the state of North Dakota, both occupations are growing in the state. The average salary of a physical therapist in North Dakota is $67,880 and the average salary of a physical therapy assistant is $50,830. If you would like to join the growing ranks of physical therapists or physical therapy assistants in North Dakota, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Complete Your Degree
- There are two universities in North Dakota that offer degrees in physical therapy:
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Both of these universities offer Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees
Physical Therapy Assistant:
- The only college in North Dakota that has offered a physical therapy assistant degree is Williston State College. However, the physical therapy assistant program at WSC has been suspended for the time being
- You may earn your degree at any accredited college or university and be qualified to work as a physical therapy assistant in North Dakota
Step 2 – Complete Your Clinical Experience
While finishing your degree, you will be required to complete clinical experience of some sort. Clinical experiences will allow you to get on the job practice under to tutelage of an experienced physical therapist. The length and depth of clinicals will depend on the degree you are earning and the college or university that you attend. Physical therapy clinicals are generally more in-depth and longer than those for physical therapy assistants.
Step 3 – Pass Examinations
Before you can apply for licensure, you must pass two examinations. The first is the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers the NPTE; they only offer this examination on certain dates. The exam for physical therapists is 250 multiple choice questions, while the exam for physical therapy assistants is 200 multiple choice questions. The minimum passing grade for the NPTE is 600/800, regardless of if you take the physical therapist or physical therapy assistant examination. The fee for both tests is $370.
You must also pass the North Dakota Jurisprudence Examination. This is an open book exam that you can download from the North Dakota Board of Physical Therapy website, complete, and return to the board.
Step 4 – Apply for Licensure
The application process for physical therapists and physical therapy assistants is the same in the state of North Dakota:
- Submit an application
- Pay the $200 application fee
- Submit your official transcripts from the college or university that you earned your degree from
- You may submit the Jurisprudence Exam along with your application
Step 5 – Maintain Licensure
Physical therapist and physical therapy assistant licenses are valid for one year. You must renew your license by January 31st of every year; the renewal fee for physical therapists is $100 and $60 for physical therapy assistants. In order to maintain your licensure, you must complete at least 25 continuing education hours every two years. You are not required to fulfill the continuing education requirement the period immediately after graduation.
Congratulations! You are now qualified to work as a physical therapist or a physical therapy assistant in the state of North Dakota.