United States Physical Therapy Practice Acts

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Temporary License Requirements/Availability[edit | edit source]

In order to obtain a temporary license the individual must fit the following criteria:

  • have not taken the licensure exam yet but are registered, or [1]
  • have taken the exam but have not yet received the scores[1]
  • the individual must fit the other criteria set for obtaining a license, which are listed in the section below[1]

A temporary license is only valid for 90 days beyond the next scheduled exam and during that 90 day time period the individual must be under direct supervision of a licensed PT.  If an individual does not pass the licensure exam, the temporary license must be revoked.[1]

If a licensed PT is moving into Mississippi they are able to get a 60 day temporary license while they are waiting for their Mississippi licensure to come through.[1]

Requirements for License[edit | edit source]

An individual wanting to obtain a license must have the following:

  • good moral character that aligns with the profession's ethical standards and behaviors[1]
  • graduated from an accredited physical therapy program[1]
  • passed the licensure exam with at least minimal passing score[1]

If an individual takes the test 5 times without passing, they are not permitted to take the test in Mississippi[1]

Individual may apply for reciprocity. The individual must have a valid license from another state.[1]

If an individual as trained in a foreign country they must have the following to obtain a license:

  • good moral character[1]
  • have a diploma obtained from an institute approved by the board[1]
  • evidence of professional education substantially equivalent to the applicant that is applying for licensure within the states[1]
  • demonstrate proficiency in the English language[1]

Supervision[edit | edit source]

Supervising Individuals with Temporary Licenses

Physical therapists are required to provide direct supervision to individuals with temporary licenses.  Direct supervision means:

  • face to face communication on a daily basis[1]
  • observe the temporarily licensed therapist 2 hours per day[1]
  • available by telecommunication at any point if the licensed PT is not on the premises[1]

Supervising Physical Therapy Assistants

A PT can not be supervising more than 4 PTA's or physical therapy students at any point in time during the work day.[1]

The PT is required to be readily available to the PT in person or through telecommunications at all times while the PTA is providing services.[1] 

The PT is required to "be responsible for the physical therapy plan of care and instructions provided to the physical therapist assistant; interpretation of referrals; oversight of all documentation for services rendered to each client or patient; providing direct care to the patient; and assuring that the physical therapist assistant does not function autonomously."  At minimum, every 6th PTA visit the PT must re-evaluate the patient.[1]

Physical Therapy Students[edit | edit source]

Students must be under direct supervision by their clinical instructor which must be a licensed physical therapist.  The PT must be readily availble and accountable at any point in time when the student is providing PT services. [1]

A PT can not be supervising more than 4 PTA's or physical therapy students at any point in time during the work day.[1]

Continued Competence[edit | edit source]

There is a yearly requirement of 24 hours of continuing education, or 2.4 CEU's.  The year spans from July 1st-June 30th every year and there is no carry over of CEU's beyond 2.4 earned in one year time frame.[1]

There are three requirements for the 24 hours of continuing education:

  • at least 6 hours must be directly related to the clinical practice[1]
  • at least 2 hours must be used on board approved ethics/professional responsibility programs[1]
  • as of July 1, 2012 only 12 hours can be from online training[1]

If an individual fails to receive these CEUs they must be issued a probationary license.[1]

Continued education hours can be earned from:

  • educational programs approved by APTA, AMA, or MPTA[1]
  • presentations given in front of PT's or other health care professionals that is directly related to PT[1]
  • taking graduate level coursework for credit at an accredited university[1]
  • approved home study courses[1]

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

The Act appears restrictive in that they do not have direct access for all patients, but there are quite a few exceptions to the rule. The following is a description taken directly from Mississippi's practice act stating the following:

Physical Therapist may evaluate or provide wellness fitness without a referral.

A physical therapist licensed under the physical therapy law shall not perform physical therapy services without a prescription or referral from a person licensed as a physician, dentist, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. However, a physical therapist may perform physical therapy services without a prescription or referral under the following circumstances:

  • To children with a diagnosed developmental disability pursuant to the patient’s plan of care.
  • As part of a home health care agency pursuant to the patient’s plan of care.
  • To a patient in a nursing home pursuant to the patient’s plan of care.
  • Related to conditioning or to providing education or activities in a wellness setting for the purpose of injury prevention, reduction of stress or promotion of fitness.
  • To an individual for a previously diagnosed condition or conditions for which physical therapy services are appropriate after informing the health care provider rendering the diagnosis. The diagnosis must have beenmade within the previous one hundred eighty (180) days. The physical therapist shall provide the health care provider who rendered the diagnosis with a plan of care for physical therapy.[1]

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

It is unusual that "good moral character" is within the criteria for obtaining a license.  However, there is criteria given that describes such character as "pattern of behavior conforming to the profession’s ethical standards and behavior that indicates honesty and truthfulness, integrity, respect among the community for lawful behavior, respect for the rights of others, and obedience to the lawful directives of public officers or officials or persons charged with the enforcement of the law and showing an absence of moral turpitude."[1]

References[edit | edit source]

Click below to be directed to Mississippi's Physical Therapy Practice Act


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 Mississippi State Board of Physical Therapy. Regulations Governing Licensure of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants. http://www.msbpt.state.ms.us/msbpt/PhysicalTherapy.nsf/webpageedit/R&R_Main_RR_CurrentRegs/$FILE/Final.Adoption.Current.Regs.2012.pdf?OpenElement (accessed 19 April 2012).

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.