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The PT License Process in Arizona

By Luna
The PT License Process in Arizona

How do you get a PT license in Arizona? It's a great question, considering the demand for physical therapists in Arizona is steadily increasing. The need is fueled mainly by a growing number of residents in the state over the age of 65 (currently 18%). Since Arizona is a popular retirement destination, that age group is projected to rise even further -- as will demand for physical therapists that tend to those individuals (and others.) And if you're curious about the pay, the average wage for a physical therapist in Arizona is between $88,950-$91,930. So yes, it's worth looking into becoming a licensed PT in the "Grand Canyon" state. Since we're in the business of helping physical therapists as best we can, here are the steps on how to make it happen:

Step 1: Complete your physical therapy education

Step 2: Apply for your PT license

Step 3: Pass the required exams for Arizona

Step 4: Maintain and renew your license

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy is the agency you'll be working with to become a licensed physical therapist. They are the organization that ensures all PTs meet the required qualifications in the state.

Step 1: Complete Your Physical Therapy Education

To become a licensed physical therapist in Arizona, you must obtain a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited school. Schools must be accredited through CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.) The current list of accredited schools in Arizona are:

Typically, DPT programs take three years to complete. Most programs require a bachelor's degree for admission and some prerequisite classes like anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology. Other programs admit first-year college students into six or seven-year programs, which gives students the ability to graduate with a bachelor's degree and a DPT After graduation, physical therapists may apply to a clinical residency program. Residencies usually last about a year and provide additional experience and training in a specialty of your choosing.

Step 2: Apply for your P.T. license

Once you complete your physical therapy degree program, you can apply for a license with the State Board of Physical Therapy. Create your online account to fill out and submit your application. Be prepared to send your official transcripts from your accredited physical therapy school to the State Board. Note: Once your application with the State Board is approved, you'll be cleared to take the NPTE test mentioned below.

Step 3: Pass the required exams for Arizona

The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy requires that you pass two exams before becoming a licensed PT. Those are the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) and the Jurisprudence Exam (AZLAW.) To take these exams, you must register with a separate agency, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT.) Both tests evaluate your knowledge regarding the essential aspects of physical therapy. It's a good idea to review the NPTE Candidate Handbook before taking either exam.

National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)

The NPTE exam determines if you're qualified to practice as a PT in Arizona. It's a multiple-choice exam consisting of 250 questions. One of the best ways to prepare for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is by taking a practice exam. When you're ready to take the official exam, take note of the NPTE eligibility requirements as well as the key dates and deadlines. You may register and pay online for the test via your Customer Dashboard

Once you've registered for the exam, you'll receive an emailed Authorization to Test letter (ATT) from FSBPT (also available online on your Customer Dashboard). Your ATT letter will direct you to contact Prometric to schedule a time to sit for the exam. 

Jurisprudence Exam (AZLAW)

The AZLAW exam is a test of Arizona's state laws and rules. It requires a passing grade to obtain a physical therapy license in Arizona. Once you register to take the test, the State Board sends you the study materials. You'll have one hour to complete the 50 multiple-choice questions. The Jurisprudence Exam covers Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §32-2001 et seq and Arizona Administrative Code Title 4, Chapter 24, Articles 1 through 5. If you fail this test twice, you are required to re-apply for a PT license.

Step 4: Maintain and renew your license

Once you've completed and passed all of the above requirements, your license is issued for two years. It starts on September 1 of even-numbered years and ends on August 31, two years later. During those two years, you must accumulate at least 20 hours of continuing education. Ten of those hours must come from:

  • An accredited physical therapy, medical, or healthcare education program
  • A national or state association that involves physical therapy or healthcare
  • A national organization that specializes in physical therapy, healthcare, or medical care

You can renew your license online and will have to submit proof of your continuing education only if you're audited. If that happens, be sure to provide the following information:

  • The details of the activity or course (time, place, sponsor, etc.)
  • The number of hours of the activity or course
  • Proof of course completion, such as a certificate or attendance log

Those are all the steps required for getting and keeping your physical therapy license in Arizona. You can call The Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy at 602-274-0236 to get help if you have questions. From all of us at Luna, we wish you the best of luck.

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