How to Become a Physical Therapist in Rhode Island, RI
Steps to get Licensed as a Physical Therapist in Rhode Island
Rhode Island was the first of the colonies to gain independence from British rule. The tiny state may be small, but has a great outlook on occupational growth, especially in the healthcare industry. According to the BLS, There are only 990 Physical Therapists and 240 Physical Therapy Assistants in Rhode Island; that offer their practice to the state’s population of 1.05 million.
The Rhode Island Department of Health offers all licensing and oversees all regulations for physical therapists in Rhode Island. The opportunity for a temporary license is available to practitioners from other states and graduates that are waiting to sit for the national examination. Becoming a Physical Therapist or Assistant in Rhode Island requires meeting the following criteria:
Physical Therapy Assistant:
- Become certified in CPR training.
- Pass a physical examination and provide up to date immunization card.
- Submit a criminal background check.
- Receive an Associate’s Degree in the Physical Therapy Assistant education program from a school that is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- Get a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Assistant examination provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
- Receive a Physical Therapy Assistant License issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
- Receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree at a university that is accredited from the Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
- Get a passing score the National Physical Therapy examination provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
- Receive a Physical Therapy License issued by the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Requirements to become Physical Therapist or a Physical Therapy Assistant in Rhode Island need to be followed in this order:
Step 1: Graduate with Physical Therapy Degree
Physical Therapy Assistant:
Receive an Associate’s Degree in the Physical Therapy Assistant education program. This degree is issued by school that has accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Rhode Island accredited schools that have the program are the New England Institute of Technology and the Community College of Rhode Island.
Receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited university. The university should be accredited by the Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Rhode Island has only one university that has the Doctor of Physical Therapy program; this school is the University of Rhode Island.
Step 2: Sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination
Applicants for becoming a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. Registration with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) is required.
Step 3: Receive a Practitioner’s License
The application process is the same for both Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants:
- Complete and submit an application to the Rhode Island Department of Health.
- Provide official score of the National Physical Therapy Examination to the board.
- Provide transcripts from the attended school.
- If the applicant has held a license from another state, a statement from the Board of Physical Therapy must be submitted.
- Submit applicable fees.
Step 4: Pursue Continuing Education
The renewal of license and continuing education requirements are the same for Physical Therapy Assistants and Physical
Therapists. Complete the biennial Licensure renewal. 24 hours of continuing education must be completed. Applicants can find more information on how to become a Physical Therapist or Assistant by visiting the Rhode Island Department of Health.