Physical Therapy Board of California

Unlicensed Practice/Aiding & Abetting Unlicensed Practice

If you are reporting the unlicensed practice of physical therapy, it is critical for investigation purposes that you provide the following important details of when, where, who, and how it is unlicensed practice:

  • The name of the violator.
  • Specific date(s) and time the unlicensed practice occurred.
  • Names and contact information of witnesses (e.g., staff, patients, etc.)
  • Name and full address of the facility.
  • Names of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants (or other healthcare licensees) practicing the day of the alleged violations.

In addition, it is highly recommended that you do not submit your complaint anonymously. Your input and additional information, if needed, is imperative to this type of complaint.

Business and Professions Code section 2630 states it is unlawful for any person or persons to practice, or offer to practice, physical therapy in the state for compensation received or expected, or to hold himself or herself out as a physical therapist, unless at the time of so doing the person holds a valid, unexpired, and unrevoked physical therapist license.

Business and Professions Code section 2633 also adds that any person holding a license as a physical therapist issued by the board may use the title “physical therapist” or the letters “P.T.” or any other words, letters, or figures that indicate that the person using same is a licensed physical therapist. No other person shall be so designated or shall use the term licensed or registered physical therapist, licensed or registered physiotherapist, licensed or registered physical therapy technician, or the letters “L.P.T.,” “R.P.T.,” or “P.T.”. A licensed physical therapist who has received a doctoral degree in physical therapy (DPT) or, after adoption of the regulations described in subdivision (d), a doctoral degree in a related health science may do the following:

  1. In a written communication, use the initials DPT, PhD, or EdD, as applicable, following the licensee’s name.
  2. In a written communication, use the title “Doctor” or the abbreviation “Dr.” preceding the licensee’s name, if the licensee’s name is immediately followed by an unabbreviated specification of the applicable doctoral degree held by the licensee.
  3. In a spoken communication while engaged in the practice of physical therapy, use the title “doctor” preceding the person’s name, if the speaker specifies that he or she is a physical therapist.

A doctoral degree shall be granted by an institution accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or by an accrediting agency recognized by the National Commission on Accrediting or the United States Department of Education that the board determines is equivalent to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Business and Professions Code section 2633.5 states only a person licensed as a physical therapist assistant by the board may use the title “physical therapist assistant” or “physical therapy assistant” or the letters “PTA” or any other words, letters, or figures that indicate that the person is a physical therapist assistant licensed pursuant to this chapter.

The license of a physical therapist assistant shall not authorize the use of the prefix “LPT,” “RPT,” “PT,” or “Dr.,” or the title “physical therapist,” “therapist,” “doctor,” or any affix indicating or implying that the physical therapist assistant is a physical therapist or doctor.