United States Physical Therapy Practice Acts

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Temporary License Requirements/Availability[edit | edit source]

There is no mention of temporary licensure throughout the TN practice act.

Requirements for License[edit | edit source]

To obtain a license in TN, a person must fill out an application packet including a recomendation letter from a licensed Physical Therapist, as well as get a minimum score on their boards exam. The canidate taking the boards examination must pass with a criterion reference passing point which is set to equal a scaled score of 600 based on a 200-800 scale range[1].

Supervision[edit | edit source]

All services PTAs provide must be under the supervision of a licensed PT. A Physical Therapist must inspect therapy services rendered at least every 60 days[1].

A PTA may not be further than 60 miles or one hour from the licensed PT. The PT must be available by means of communication whenever the PTA is delivering services[1].
If a PT chooses to utilize physical therapy aides the tasks the aides perform should not require any clinical decision making by the PT or PTA. The aides must also render services under the supervision of an on-site PT or PTA[1].
Other assistive personnel may be used such as certified exercise physiologists, a certified athletic trainer, massage therapists, etc. The therapist must co-sign all documentation related to the designated tasks done by these personnel.
A PT can supervise no more than the equivalent of three full-time PTAs. A PT can supervise no more than the equivalent of two full-time assistive personnel or physical therapy aides[1].

A PTA can supervise up to two full- time physical therpay aides[1].

All volunteers require direct onsite supervision by a PT or PTA and may not provide and physical therapy services to patients[1].

Physical Therapy Students[edit | edit source]

A physical therapy clinical student requires on-site supervision from a physical therapist with a minimum of one year of licesnsed clinical experience prior to becoming a clinical instructor.

A physical therapy assistant clinical student requires on-site supervision from a physical therapist assistant with a minimum of one year of licesnsed clinical experience prior to becoming a clinical instructor[1].

Continued Competence[edit | edit source]

A physical therapist and physical therapy assistanct must participate in a minimum number of experiences for continuing competence within the 24 months which precede a renewal of licensure[1].

Continuing competence requirements are defined as planned learning experiences. These experiences should occur beyone entry level education for PTs and PTAs. The content must relate to PT and assist in assuring safe and effective practices[1].

The credit is given for the amount of hours spent in a learning experience[1].

A PT must obtain 30 hours within the 24 months which precede the licensure renewal month. Twenty of the thirty hours must be from Class I activities.Ten of the thirty hour requirement can be from Class II activities[1].

A PTA is required to obtain 20 hours within the twenty-four months which precede the licensure renweal month. At least ten of those hours must be from Class I and up to ten may be from Class II activities[1].
There is a four hour requirement every other twenty-four month period that is consists of ethics and jurisprudence education courses[1].
The licensee is responsible for using their professional judgement to determine if a course is applicable, appropriate, and meets the requirements[1].

The Class I and Class II definitions can be found at this website:


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

The act does not seem restricitve. The phrase 'not limited to' is used several times throughout the act which suggests the act is liberal[1].

There are also policies stating that intramuscular manual therapy (dry needling) and fingerstick techniques are within the scope of PT practice as well as they have direct access which indicates to me that their act is not restricitve[2].

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

Nothing appears to be unusual about TN's practice act. It seems to follow the standard act we see across the country.

References[edit | edit source]

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

  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 Rules of the Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy. General Rules of Governing the Practice of Physical Therapy. http://state.tn.us/sos/rules/1150/1150-01.20120326.pdf (accessed 19 April 2012).
  2. Department of Health. Board of Physical Therapy. http://health.state.tn.us/boards/PT/legislative.htm (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.