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Applicant Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions to assist physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA) applicants.
Physical Therapist/Physical Therapist Assistant Applicants
Physical Therapist (PT) and Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Applicants
Q. How do I apply for a PT/PTA license?
A. All applicants must submit the required Application for Examination and/or Licensure and all other required documentation. To access the application instructions and the Application for Examination and/or Licensure, please click here. The application is not available by mail. It is important that you read the instructions prior to submitting the application.
Q. What fees are required when applying for a PT/PTA license?
A. All applicants are required to submit the application fee at the time of application. The initial license and fingerprint card fees are due at certain times depending on how you are applying. To determine how to apply and the amount of fees you are required to submit with your application, please visit the Application for Licensure page and select the option of how you are applying. It is important to read the application instructions thoroughly and completely to determine how to apply and the appropriate fee(s) to submit.
Q. Can I apply without a U.S. Social Security number?
A. No. You must have a U.S. Social Security number to apply with the Physical Therapy Board of California. A Tax ID number cannot be submitted in lieu of a U.S. Social Security number. Be advised that an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the IRS or an Alternate Identification Number (AIN) issued by the FSBPT CANNOT be used in lieu an SSN.
- Certificate of Completion Form (P1E) - Submit with the application in a sealed envelope.
- Verification of PT or PTA License - You must include with your application a Letter of Good Standing/Certificate of Endorsement from all the State Board(s) for which you have or have had licensure.
- Score Transfer Report from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy - This form is available through the FSBPT Web site at https://staff.fsbpt.net/pt/ or call (703) 739-9420 to request the form.
- Resume of Work Experience
Q. Can foreign-educated applicants apply to the Physical Therapy Board of California before they submit an evaluation of their credentials?
A. No. The first step in the process is to receive a copy of your credentials evaluation report from one of the approved credential evaluation services. As of January 1, 2007, the credential evaluation services will also provide to you along with your copy of the evaluation, a sealed envelope with a Certificate of Professional Degree Equivalency inside. There will be instructions not to open that envelope but rather to send it to the Physical Therapy Board of California with your application. If you do not include the sealed envelope from the credential evaluation service with your application, your application will be returned to you.
Q. How do I qualify for licensure as a physical therapist assistant by equivalency using my work experience and education?
A. Most applicants qualify with a combination of work experience and education as follows:
- A minimum of 30 units in technical training
- 15 units of general education
- 36 months of work experience under the direct supervision of a physical therapist licensed by the Board. Eighteen months of this experience must be in an acute care facility.
Courses must be taken in a post secondary institution recognized by the Council on Post-Secondary Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. Vocational Education or massage therapy courses generally do not qualify. For specific technical and general education coursework requirements, please refer to Section 1398.47 of the California Code of Regulations.
Q. Do I contact the Physical Therapy Board of California for guidance about satisfying deficiencies identified by the credentialing agency?
A. No. Contact the credential evaluation service that evaluated your credentials.
Q. Will the Physical Therapy Board of California accept a credential evaluation report from another state?
A. No. Your credential must be evaluated according to California requirements and by one of the approved credential evaluation services.
Q. If my application is closed and I re-apply, do I have to redo my fingerprints again?
A. Yes. When an application is closed, the fingerprint reports are returned to the California Department of Justice.
Q. Do I have to re-submit all of my documents when I reapply?
A. Depending on the timeframe of when you reapply, there are certain documents (Certificate of Completion form and Score Transfer Report) that may be transferred from your old application to a new application. If you submitted the initial license fee with your closed application and you have not received a refund, you can request to transfer the fee to your new application.
Q. Where can I go to get my fingerprints done in California? Is there a number to find a Live Scan site?
A. Live Scan is available only in California, for either residents or visitors, and is more efficient than the INK ON CARD method. To use the Live Scan method, download the Live Scan form, complete it and take it to a Live Scan service location. The Live Scan service location will require you to pay a fee. Your fingerprints will be taken electronically, without ink, and must be transmitted to the California DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Finally, the DOJ will send their report to the Physical Therapy Board of California. Usually the report is received within seven days. There is a low rate of rejections with this method. If you use Live Scan, you are not required to submit $49.00 fee to the Board.
Q. Where can I go to get my fingerprints done if I am not in California?
A. If you are outside of California and cannot come to California for Live Scan, you must submit a Fingerprint Card (INK ON CARD) along with your application and the required $49.00 fingerprint processing fee to the Physical Therapy Board of California. To request a fingerprint card, please email your request to Application_Material@dca.ca.gov and include your name, mailing address, and phone number. If you do not provide the required information, your request will not be processed. Please allow up to 10 business days to receive the fingerprint card in the mail.
Q. I have had a conviction in the past. Will that affect my application for PT/PTA licensure?
A. The Physical Therapy Board of California's primary responsibility is consumer protection. To that end, the Physical Therapy Board of California has the authority to deny a license due to a conviction of a crime or offense substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a licensee. Per Section 1399.21 of the California Code of Regulations, the Physical Therapy Board of California will determine if the applicant has met the rehabilitation criteria for denial and reinstatement of licensure. If a license is denied, the applicant may request a hearing accordance with Section 485 of the Business and Professions Code. For information on how to appeal a license denial, please click here.
- Convictions following a plea of "nolo contendere"
- Plea or verdict dismissed pursuant to section 1203.4 of the Penal Code
Per Section 1399.21 of the California Code of Regulations, the Physical Therapy Board of California will determine if the applicant has met the rehabilitation criteria for denial and reinstatement of licensure. Failure to disclose and provide the required information, may delay the processing of your application and your license may be denied.
You must include the following documents for each conviction listed on your application:
- A descriptive written explanation, by the applicant, of the circumstances surrounding the arrest. (i.e. Dates and location of the incident and all circumstances surrounding the arrest.)
- Certified copies of the arresting agency report including the arrest and crime investigation report.
- Certified copies of court documents including the criminal complaint, plea and judgment, preliminary hearing transcript, probation report and court minutes.
- Copies of letters from substance related programs verifying successful completion or evidence of current participation of a personal recovery program (i.e. Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous) and any other recovery/support and relapse prevention group(s).
- Documentation of substance assessment discharge records, intake/exit interview and summaries of counselors notes, or similar type of evaluations from programs attended.
- Compliance letters from probation officer or any other court ordered program(s).
Q. How do I appeal a license denial?
A. If your application was denied for licensure, please click here for information on how to appeal a licensure denial.