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Washington Physicial Therapy License and Certification Requirements

Washington is a flourishing state with a burgeoning technology industry and lumber production. As the state grows in population, so does the demand for physical therapists.  4,340 Physical Therapists and 1,230 Physical Therapy Assistants cater to its 6.9 million residents. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wages are quite lucrative as Physical Therapists make $82,650 and Physical Therapy Assistants make $55,760 per year. Washington is experiencing a higher than usual demand in the physical therapist occupation, with half as many Physical Therapists and Assistants practicing per capita in proportion to the rest of America. 

The Washington State Department of Health administers licensing and regulation for the physical therapy occupation. There is availability of a temporary license while waiting to sit for the examination.  The applicant must practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
The following steps are required to receive a license to practice physical therapy in Washington:

Physical Therapy Assistant:

  • Pass a school administered drug test and background check.
  • Receive an Associate’s Degree in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program.  Accrediting of the school should be from the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  • Attend required HIV/AIDS training.
  • Statement about applicant’s personal data.
  • Sit for the National Physical Therapy Assistant Examination This test is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
  • Apply for a Physical Therapy Assistant License issued by the Washington State Department of Health.

Physical Therapist:

  • Receive a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) from an accredited university.  Accrediting of the university should be from the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  • Attend required HIV/AIDS training.
  • Statement about applicant’s personal data.
  • Sit for the National Physical Therapy Assistant Examination This test is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
  • Apply for a Physical Therapy License issued by the Washington State Department of Health.

Details on each procedure to become a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant are outlined below:

Step 1: Meet or Exceed the Education Requirements
Physical Therapy Assistant:
Receive an Associate’s Degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant. The college must be accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE). Below is a list of accredited colleges in Washington:

  • Green River Community College
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Olympic College
  • Pima Medical Institute - Seattle Campus
  • Spokane Falls Community College
  • Whatcom Community College

Physical Therapist:
Receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The university must have accreditation from the Commission of Accreditation of Therapy Education (CAPTE). Washington universities with the accreditation are:

  • Eastern Washington University
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Washington

Step 2: Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination
The National Physical Therapy Examination must be passed in order to be eligible for a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant license. The exam is overseen by The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

Step 3: Attend HIV/AIDS Training
Seven hours of HIV/AIDS education and training is required for both Physical Therapists and Assistants to receive licensing in Washington.

Step 4: Provide a statement with personal data. This data must include:

  • Mental and Physical Health
  • Any impairment caused by substance abuse
  • History of loss of practitioner’s license
  • Felony convictions
  • Privilege limitations
  • Any disciplinary actions
  • Professional claim history

Step 3: Receive a License to Practice

  • Submit completed application to the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Provide proof of passing the National Physical Therapy Examination.
  • Provide completion of HIV/AIDS training.
  • Request transmittal of transcripts from educational institutions attended.
  • Request license verification from any prior jurisdiction.
  • Pay the $100 application fee.

Step 4: Maintaining State Licensing
Continuing education and active practitioner hours are required every two years to maintain licensure. 40 hours of continuing education and 200 hours of practitioner employment is required. The fee for license renewal is $75.
There is extensive information provided on the Washington State Department of Health website regarding the Physical Therapist and Assistant occupations.

 

http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/PhysicalTherapist/Fees
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.74.070
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes312021.htm
http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm
http://www.apta.org/Licensure/StatePracticeActs/
http://www.capteonline.org/apta/directories/accreditedschools.aspx?type=PT&navID=10737421958#WA