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Therapy Career Resources for Foreign PTs—your Go-To Guide

Author Travel Force Staffing | 07.23

Foreign PT License Requirements and FAQ’s you should bookmark!

Were you trained for a physical therapy career outside of the United States, and looking for a therapy job here? If yes, welcome to our Go-To guide, featuring information on the Top 10 states for physical therapy careers, as well as direct links to state licensure applications.

Top 10 States for PTs
You’ll note some states’ pages for foreign PTs answer frequently asked questions, while others route the foreign trained physical therapist directly to an online application, instructions for obtaining licensure or all of the above. Every state is slightly different in its approach, but the bottom line is the same: qualified applicants who meet state licensing authority criteria enjoy rewarding and high paying physical therapy careers!

California: The Physical Therapy Board of California assists foreign educated Physical Therapist graduates from accredited and non-accredited programs. You’ll note that this state’s page gives a shortlist of what you’ll need to get in order before you apply, plus a direct link to an online application.

Colorado: The Colorado Division of Registrations provides an online application and instructions on how to take the NPTE exam; it also lists basic requirements for foreign trained Physical Therapist licensure.

Florida: The Florida Department of Health answers FAQs for Foreign Trained Applicants and an “Apply for a license” link that helps you get started.

Iowa: The Iowa Department of Public Health’s Physical Therapist licensure information is the same for foreign and domestic applicants on the online application.

Illinois: The Division for Professional Registration handles licensure for all applicants, both domestic and foreign trained in physical therapy careers; this site does not provide a specific page intended for foreign trained PTs; however, they do provide contact information for sources who can answer your questions.

Massachusetts: The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation states that graduates of foreign physical therapy programs may be eligible for licensure in MA, but that the Board accepts only the evaluations prepared by the FCCPT

Maryland: The Maryland Board of Physical Therapy Examiners provides detailed instructions for foreign trained Physical Therapist applicants; you’ll notice two different licensure links for foreign PTs; one for “Licensure by Examination” and one for “Licensure by Endorsement”. You will also note this state accepts evaluation credentials sent by the FCCPT.

Ohio: The Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board provides an online application for licensure as a PT or PTA, with instructions for foreign applicants on the PT applicant page.

Texas:  The Executive Council of Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy Examiners provides instructions for foreign trained physical therapist applicants; they provide, on this page, an “Apply for a License Now” link.

Washington:  The Washington State Department of Health reviews all applications for Physical Therapist licensure, domestic and foreign trained, and provides a “packet” of all the materials you will need to work in Washington physical therapy jobs.

Working in Physical Therapy Assistant Jobs
For foreign students of physical therapy, the process of obtaining licensure is more difficult for PTAs (physical therapy assistants) than it is PTs—we covered the reason in a related press release, but you’ll want to read on for direct links to therapy career resources that exist to help you transcend this minor obstacle. Just do the following, in the following order, and you’ll soon be working in physical therapy assistant jobs:

Complete all educational requirements to become a Physical Therapist Assistant

And

  • Apply for a student visa (F1 Visa) and then apply to accredited Physical Therapist Schools; Canadian physical therapists can work on a non-immigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa
  • After you complete your education and prior to graduation, apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows you to work in the U.S. for up to one year.

Commonalities Shared by State Licensing Boards
Foreign trained applicants should have the following items in order before applying for state licensure:

  • Social Security Numbers: you can apply for licensure and take the exam prior to getting a social security number; however, you will need the S-S-N prior to receiving your license.
  • iBT TOEFL: a passing score on this test proves you are proficient in English. Minimum score required is 89, as well as accompanying minimum scores in the test’s four components: 24 in writing; 26 in speaking; 21 in reading comprehension; and 18 in listening comprehension
  • A letter: from the applicant’s university stating that at the time the student received their first degree the language of instruction was English.
  • Requirements for Credential Evaluations: Once you pass the NPTE exam, you must prove your education is on par with state standards.
  • The Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT): This non-profit organization assists many foreign trained PTs in showing their educational credentials are equivalent to current standards in the United States. See if your state board of physical therapy will work with them.

Remember that using therapy career resources, like each relevant link in this blog, can help you get to work fast!  For the foreign trained, as well as every professional working in travel physical therapy jobs, we wish you great luck in your new home!

Footnote: Some online physical therapy career resources cited here were taken from The Rehab License Network, which was created with the goal of making allied healthcare licensing information easier to obtain and/or maintain for rehab professionals.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Healthcare Blogs 2010! « I love travel nursing |

    [...] Official Therapist Blog – This rehab blog from therapist staffing agency, Travel Force, is a superb career resource and portal to high-paying therapy jobs. Therapist information on this healthcare blog is timely, relevant and covers a multitude of therapy disciplines. This rehab blog is a great resource for Foreign PTs! [...]

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