Travel Therapy January 11, 2023

By Tim Fraticelli, Contributor

Don’t Let Your PT Compact Privileges Collect Dust in 2023

Prior to 2018, if a licensed Physical Therapist wanted to practice in a new state, they had to obtain a second license for that state and satisfy any additional education or exams the state required. 

Travel PT companies and recruiters have always been there to ease that burden, helping PTs and PTAs navigate the red tape in obtaining multiple licenses. But now with the PT Compact, the whole process has become even simpler.

The Physical Therapy Compact is a multi-state agreement that allows eligible PTs and PTAs to practice therapy without needing to obtain a new license. As a solution to multiple licensing requirements, this compact agreement saves licensees time, money, and hassle while opening the door to more job opportunities across the country. 

The PT Compact started in 2018 with just 3 states—Missouri, North Dakota, and Tennessee—and has since expanded to include over two-thirds of the United States, as of 2022.

What is a PT Compact Privilege?

To participate in the PT Compact, you’ll need a PT Compact Privilege: the authorization to practice in a member state of the PT Compact. This Privilege is like an add-on to your current license in your home state and must be renewed each time your license expires.

Keep in mind that the PT Compact Privilege is not a multi-state license. You’ll need to apply for and receive a Privilege for each additional state you want to practice in.

Thankfully, the process to receive a PT Compact Privilege is remarkably swift. First, you’ll need to determine your eligibility for the PT Compact, which I’ll detail below. Next, you’ll fill out an application on PTCompact.org and complete any requisite jurisprudence exams for your new state. A few minutes and fees later, you’ll receive your new PT Compact Privilege and—just like that—be authorized to practice in a new state!

Who’s Eligible for a PT Compact Privilege?

PT Compact Privileges are available for PTs and PTAs alike, regardless of how long they’ve been practicing.

Eligibility requirements include the following:

  • An active PT or PTA license in a PT Compact member state
  • A valid driving license to prove residency in your home state
  • No disciplinary action or encumbrances on your license within the last 2 years

You’ll also need to ensure the state to which you’re applying is an active member state of the PT Compact. Some states have legislation to join the agreement but aren’t active just yet.

As of 2022, there are 27 active states in the PT Compact, including:

Arizona

Louisiana

North Carolina

Tennessee

Arkansas

Maryland

North Dakota

Utah

Colorado

Mississippi

Ohio

Virginia

Delaware

Missouri

Oklahoma

Washington

Georgia

Montana

Oregon

West Virginia

Iowa

Nebraska

South Dakota

Wisconsin

Kentucky

New Hampshire

Texas

 

As many as nine additional states have introduced or enacted legislation for the PT Compact but aren’t yet accepting applications. So be sure to check the PT Compact Map for the most up-to-date listing!

How Does the Process Differ By State?

If you’ve been around the block for a license renewal process or two, you already know that licensing requirements differ by state. So it should be of no surprise that each member state has its own stipulations for the PT Compact Privilege.

The good news is that you can skip any extra continuing education requirements beyond what you have to do for your home state. What you might not be able to skip is your new state’s jurisprudence exam; more than half of the currently active states require one.

You’ll definitely need to pay a fee, and maybe two. Every PT Compact Privilege levies a $45 commission fee. On top of that, a state may impose a separate fee, anywhere from $47 to $150. Check out PTCompact.org for a breakdown of each state’s jurisprudence exam and fee schedule.

Why It’s Worth It

If the extra fees have you wondering, “what’s so great about the compact privilege?”, remember that you have to pay fees to obtain any kind of licensure. The PT Compact actually saves you money—as well as a considerable amount of stress and effort.

Without the PT Compact, you’d need to apply for a second license to practice in a different state. Most states require a litany of continuing education—think dozens of hours of your valuable time and hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned cash—to even apply for the license, let alone maintain it.

And that’s one of the best advantages to PT Compact: no more keeping track of multiple states’ requirements for license renewal! As long as you keep your home state’s license current and meet the barebones requirement for your Privilege states (e.g., jurisprudence exam and fee), you’re good to go. 

Importantly, just because you can skip the state-specific continuing education doesn’t mean you’re above state-specific laws. For example, if your new state doesn’t allow PTs to practice dry needling, you’ll need to abide by that law, regardless of what your home state allows.

How the PT Compact Impacts Travel PTs

By and large, the PT Compact is a tremendous solution for travel PTs. It will open the door to new career opportunities and save you the administrative headache and financial burden of the traditional licensing process. 

Instead of limiting your travel options to states where you hold a current PT license, the PT Compact can give you access to dozens of states. You can plan a cross-country trip and go coast-to-coast without needing to coordinate multiple license renewal deadlines or track down CEUs.

So if you enjoy working in Arizona in the winter, North Carolina in the spring, Wisconsin in the summer, and Oregon in the fall, plan to apply for those PT Compact Privileges when you renew your home state’s license!

Don’t Let Your PT Compact Privilege Collect Dust!

The freedom you’ll gain from using the PT Compact can help you take on new opportunities and achieve your financial, career, and personal goals. Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned therapist considering travel PT, the PT Compact will make it easy for you to explore countless new opportunities!

So make the most of 2023 and use your PT Compact Privilege to explore the US! You can learn all about each state’s requirements using this interactive map. Or, simply reach out to a MedTravelers recruiter to learn about current assignments you can take through the PT Compact.

Tim Fraticelli is a Physical Therapist, Certified Financial Planner™, and founder of PTProgress.com. He loves to teach PTs and OTs ways to save time and money in and out of the clinic, especially when it comes to therapy documentation or continuing education. Follow him on YouTube for weekly videos on ways to improve your physical and financial health.

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