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PT and the Greater Good

Continuing the Search for Continuing Education

Published February 3, 2011 10:19 AM by Dean Metz

I spent a good part of today trying to find a course to fulfill my continuing education requirements for both New York and Florida, where I am licensed. With the cost of flying across the pond, accommodations and the course itself, it makes sense to attend a course recognized by both states. Silly me, I also want to attend one that actually interests me and will be useful in my work. I chose to look for courses relating to balance and falls prevention.

I found a vestibular rehabilitation course that is happening in Philadelphia; accepted in New York but not accepted in Florida. I found another one taking place in Massachusetts that is accepted in Florida, but haven't figured out yet whether it is also accepted in New York. I've found some that are accepted in both states but occur at the end of the year after my Florida registration needs to be renewed. This is a challenge.

My colleagues here are amused and amazed at what I am going through. After all, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and the Health Professions Council decided together what constitutes appropriate continuing professional development. Taking courses isn't enough to qualify for renewal here. One must compile a portfolio of courses as well as other activities to be considered truly developing.

Activities such as my master's degree, participating in a journal group, submission of papers, participating in studies, reflective diaries and other endeavors all count. One's portfolio can be requested at the time for registration renewal and one must show a balanced path of development. But whether you work in Liverpool or Brighton, Teeside or the Midlands, the expectations are the same.

I've never understood why a therapist could be fit to practice in one state, but not others. How one state could require certain hours of continuing education while others allowed one to work for decades without ever opening a book or hearing a lecture again.

I'm understanding it a lot better now with my legal course in public health. It is simple really; the states have to set their own guidelines and standards because nowhere are such things provided for on the federal level. This allows states to manage their own affairs. These laws were also drawn up when there was much less interstate travel, people didn't move as often, and there were probably many fewer therapists who worked or were licensed in more than one state.

Perhaps the APTA could/should be advocating for universal standards across all states in terms of which level passes the national exam and how much and what type of continuing education is appropriate to allow continued practice. I won't care that my PT is a DPT if that person hasn't picked up a journal or attended a course in 5 years.


When I did travelling therapy, the multi-state application process was time consuming.  Keeping up with recertification requirements was a pain, not to mention fulfilling them.  I appreciate the concept of allowing states to govern themselves, but when it comes to something like medical care where there is a national governing body(that isn't the federal government), it seems like it would make sense to specify national requirements for certification/licensure/recertification.

Janey Goude February 4, 2011 12:17 AM

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About this Blog

    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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