United States Physical Therapy Practice Acts

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Temporary License Requirements/Availability[edit | edit source]


200.3(147) Requirements for practice prior to licensure.

Rescinded IAB 12/19/07, effective 1/23/08.

In order to recieve a license, one must first succesfully pass the NPTE board.  One may not practice prior to licensure. [1]

Requirements for License[edit | edit source]


200.2(147) Requirements for licensure. The following criteria shall apply to licensure:

200.2(1) Applicants must complete a board-approved application packed ( which is available online or at the board office.  Applications shall be sent to:

Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Professional Licensure Division

Fifth Floor, Lucas State Office Building

Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

200.2(2) The application will not be reviewed by the board if it is not completed correctly.

200.2(3) Turn in appropriate fees (check or money order) Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy with application. The fees are nonrefundable.

200.2(4) Application will not be considered until the board recieves official copies of academic transcripts from a PT program accredited by a national accreditation agency approved by the board.  The accredited program must be completed.

200.2(5) The board will send a notification of eligibility for the examination to the applicant.

200.2(6) Have the examination score sent directly from the testing service to the board.

200.2(7) Licensees who were issued their initial licenses within six months prior to the renewal date
shall not be required to renew their licenses until the renewal date two years later.

200.2(8) Incomplete applications that have been on file in the board office for more than two years
shall be:
a. Considered invalid and shall be destroyed; or
b. Maintained upon written request of the candidate. The candidate is responsible for requesting.

200.4(147) Examination requirements for physical therapists and physical therapist
The following criteria shall apply to the written examination(s):

200.4(1) The applicant shall take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) or
other nationally recognized equivalent examination as defined by the board.

200.4(2) The applicant shall abide by the following criteria:
a. For examinations taken prior to July 1, 1994, satisfactory completion shall be defined as
receiving an overall examination score exceeding 1.5 standard deviations below the national average.
b. For examinations completed after July 1, 1994, satisfactory completion shall be defined as
receiving an overall examination score equal to or greater than the criterion-referenced passing point
recommended by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

200.4(3) Following 3 attempts to pass the board, a student may be approved for additional testing after demonstrating evidecne of completing additional coursework.

200.4(4) The applicant shall be notified by the board in writing of examination results.

200.5(147) Educational qualifications.

200.5(1) The applicant must present proof of meeting the following requirements for licensure as a
physical therapist or physical therapist assistant:
a. Educational requirements—physical therapists. Physical therapists shall graduate from a
physical therapy program accredited by a national accreditation agency approved by the board.
(1) If the degree is granted on or before January 31, 2004, the degree must be equivalent to at least
a baccalaureate degree.
(2) If the degree is granted on or after February 1, 2004, the degree must be equivalent to a
postbaccalaureate degree.
b. Educational requirements—physical therapist assistants. Physical therapist assistants shall
graduate from a PTA program accredited by a national accreditation agency approved by the board.[1]

Supervision[edit | edit source]


200.6(272C) Supervision requirements.

200.6(1) Physical therapist supervisor responsibilities. The supervisor shall:
a. Provide supervision to a PTA.
b. Provide on-site supervision or supervision by telecommunication as long as the physical therapy services are rendered in accordance with the minimum frequency standards in subrule 200.6(4).
c. Assume responsibility for all delegated tasks and not delegate a service exceeding the expertise of the PTA.
d. Provide evaluation and development of a treatment plan for use by the PTA.
e. Supervise no more than the equivalent of two full-time PTAs, not to exceed four part-time PTAs, who are providing physical therapy per calendar day, including supervision by telecommunication.
g. Ensure that a PTA under the PT’s supervision has a current license to practice as a PTA.
i. Ensure that the signature of a PTA on a physical therapy treatment record indicates that the physical therapy services were provided in accordance with the rules and regulations for practicing as a PTA.

200.6(2) The following are functions that only a physical therapist may provide and cannot be
delegated to a PTA:

a. Interpretation of referrals;
b. Initial physical therapy evaluation and reevaluations;
c. Identification, determination or modification of patient problems, goals, and care plans;
d. Final discharge evaluation and establishment of the discharge plan
e.Assurance of the qualifications of all assistive personnel to perform assigned tasks through written documentation of their education or training that is maintained and available at all times;
f. Delegation of and instruction in the services to be rendered by the PTA or other assistive personnel including, but not limited to, specific tasks or procedures, precautions, special problems, and contraindicated procedures; and
g. Timely review of documentation, reexamination of the patient and revision of the plan when indicated.

200.6(3) Supervision of other assistive personnel.

PTs are responsible for patient care provided by assistive personnel under their supervision. Physical therapy aides and other assistive personnel shall not provide independent patient care unless each of the following standards is satisfied:
a. The supervising PT has physical participation in the patient’s treatment or evaluation.;
b. The assistive personnel may provide independent patient care only while under the on-site supervision of the supervising PT;
c. Documentation made in physical therapy records by unlicensed assistive personnel shall be cosigned by the supervising PT; and
d. The PT provides periodic reevaluation of assistive personnel’s performance.[1]

Physical Therapy Students[edit | edit source]

No specific information pertaining to students.  Strictly states that students are not considered "assistive personnel".

Continued Competence[edit | edit source]


203.2(148A) Continuing education requirements.

203.2(1)The biennial continuing education compliance period shall extend for a two-year period that begins on the sixteenth day of the birth month and ends two years later on the fifteenth day of the birth month.

a. Requirements for physical therapist licensees. Every 2 years, each person who is licensed to practice as a physical therapist in this state is required to complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education approved by the board.  At least 20 of these hours must be clinical in nature.
b. Requirements for physical therapist assistant licensees. Every 2 years, each person who is licensed to practice as a physical therapist assistant in this state shall be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education approved by the board.  At least 10 hours must be clinical in nature.

203.2(2) Requirements of new licensees. If a PT is recieving his/her first liscense, he/she is not required to complete continuing education as a prerequisite.

203.2(3) Hours of continuing education credit may be obtained by attending and participating in a continuing education activity. These hours must be in accordance with these rules.

203.2(4) No hours of continuing education shall be carried over into the next biennium except for a new licensee. A licensee whose license was reactivated during the current renewal compliance period may use continuing education earned during the compliance period for the first renewal following reactivation.

203.2(5) It is the responsibility of each licensee to finance the cost of continuing education.

203.3(148A,272C) Standards.

203.3(1) General criteria. A continuing education activity which meets all of the following criteria is appropriate for continuing education credit if the continuing education activity:
a. Constitutes an organized program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competency of the licensee;
b. Pertains to the practice of the profession;
c. Is conducted by individuals who have specialized education, training and experience by reason of which said individuals should be considered qualified concerning the subject matter of the program.
At the time of audit, the board may request the qualifications of presenters;
d. Fulfills stated program goals, objectives, or both; and
e. Provides proof of attendance to licensees in attendance including:
(1) Date, location, course title, presenter(s);
(2) Number of program contact hours; and
(3) Certificate of completion or evidence of successful completion of the course provided by the course sponsor.

203.3(2) Specific criteria.
a. Licensees may obtain continuing education hours of credit by attending workshops, conferences, symposiums, electronically transmitted, live interactive conferences, and academic courses which relate directly to the professional competency of the licensee. Official transcripts indicating successful completion of academic courses which apply to the field of physical therapy will be necessary in order to receive the following continuing education credits:
1 academic semester hour = 15 continuing education hours of credit
1 academic trimester hour = 12 continuing education hours of credit
1 academic quarter hour = 10 continuing education hours of credit
b. Licensees may obtain continuing education hours of credit by teaching in an approved college, university, or graduate school. The licensee may receive credit on a one-time basis for the first offering of a course.
c. Continuing education hours of credit may be granted for any of the following activities not to exceed a maximum combined total of 20 hours for a physical therapist licensee and 10 hours for a physical therapist assistant licensee:
(1) Presenting professional programs which meet the criteria listed in this rule. Two hours of credit will be awarded for each hour of presentation. A course schedule or brochure must be maintained for audit.
(2) Authoring research or other activities, the results of which are published in a recognized professional publication. The licensee shall receive 5 hours of credit per page.
(3) Viewing videotaped presentations and electronically transmitted material that have a postcourse test if the following criteria are met:

1. There is a sponsoring group or agency;
2. There is a facilitator or program official present;
3. The program official is not the only attendee; and
4. The program meets all the criteria specified in this rule.

(4) Participating in home study courses that have a certificate of completion and a postcourse test.
(5) Participating in courses that have business-related topics: marketing, time management,
government regulations, and other like topics.
(6) Participating in courses that have personal skills topics: career burnout, communication skills,
human relations, and other like topics.
(7) Participating in courses that have general health topics: clinical research, CPR, child abuse
reporting, and other like topics.[1]

Does the Act appear restrictive? Why/Why not?[edit | edit source]

In regards to delegation and licensure the act is restrictive and has many guidelines that are critical to remaining a PT.  However, in regards to the practice of a PT and the role of a student PT, the act uses general terms, (e.g. "may or may not").

Is there anything unusual about this act?[edit | edit source]

Nothing appears unusual about this act compared to other PT state practice acts.

References[edit | edit source]

References will automatically be added here, see adding references tutorial.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Iowa Department of Public Health. Bureau of Professional Licensure: Laws and Rules. Des Moines: Iowa Department of Public Health; [2012; 2012 April 23]. Available from:

Disclaimer:   Informational Content is assimilated from the state practice act is a resource only and should not be considered a  substitute for the content within the state practice act.  All state practice acts can change and it is recommended that you refer to the original resource in the link above.