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PTA Blog Talk

Confusion of Contact Hours

Published June 29, 2011 10:23 PM by Jason Marketti

Each state board regulates PT and PTA contact hours to maintain licensure. The general consensus from most of the state boards is that around 20 to 30 contact hours is sufficient for us to maintain a license in their particular state (Some state board requirements are as low as 10 contact hours and as high as 40 per renewal). Florida has a requirement of taking a two-hour course on the prevention of medical errors prior to license renewal and other states require a four- to six-hour course on ethics and jurisprudence.

Some states do not make a distinction between a PT and PTA in regard to contact hours. In other states, the PTA is required to get half as many hours of continuing education as the PT to maintain licensure. In several states, there is a stipulation that only half of the CEUs can be done online and many state boards have a list of approved courses that one must peruse prior to signing up. There are other states that have absolutely no continuing education requirements but have DPT programs available.

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy is establishing tools for state boards to use for evaluating our license renewal process, but it seems it is up to each state board whether to adopt any programs from outside sources.

To sum all of this up, PT and PTA schools can be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (the APTA), the FSBPT writes our entry-level PT and PTA exams to establish a baseline knowledge and competence, then the individual state boards may or may not ensure continued competence in our field based on the rules and regulations of that particular state. We are ensured a decent education so we can take a test to become licensed and then become confused because the 50 state boards are doing their own thing, regulating and licensing us without any consistency.

(Have you read the regulations and fees regarding odd and even years/months for an initial license or a renewal? One word - ridiculous).


Now imagine you are a continuing education provider and you need to keep up with all the regulations in each state (at last count 38 states required CEUs for PTs)! I agree with you totally, Jason. It's absurd. But we do it!

Barbara Goldfarb, continuing education - Vice President, Education Resources, Inc. July 18, 2011 12:51 PM
Medfield MA

And woe to the PT licensed in more than one state! Keeping up with my Florida and New York (relatively new with CE requirements) takes a considerable effort. My colleagues in the UK are amazed when I describe the realities of maintaining a license in the states. "You mean you have to be licensed in each state? Why it is like a bigger version of the EU!"

I'm lucky, any work I do for my US licenses counts as CPD (continuing professional development) for my UK license. Unfortunately, none of my UK work is applicable to either New York or Florida.

Dean Metz June 29, 2011 6:06 PM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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