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Physical Therapy Continuing Education: What You Need to Know

Physical therapy education

by Brook Jillings

Physical therapy continuing education is an essential requirement for healthcare professionals who want to maintain their license to practice in most states. Physical therapists are responsible for restoring mobility, reducing pain and preventing disability in their patients, so it's crucial that they stay informed on the latest physical therapy techniques and develop a broader understanding of their profession.

Continued competence standards are one way for states to ensure licensed physical therapists have experience with the latest trends in their field.

If you're interested in completing your physical therapy continuing education classes check out the skills checklists on Med Travelers to discover areas of your career you might need to bone up on.

5 things you need to know about physical therapy continuing education

When considering your continuing education opportunities, keep these facts in mind.

1. Physical therapy continuing education is required in many states

The credit hours required for physical therapy continuing education varies between states. Maine, Massachusetts and South Dakota are the only three states that don't require CE to maintain a physical therapy license, but all others mandate between 10 and 40 contact hours to be completed annually or every two years.

2. Curriculum approval varies by state

It's important to note that each state has specific guidelines to determine which CE credits count towards satisfying the requirements for physical therapy license renewal.

Credits that count for one state may not be acceptable to another. This can be tricky when you work in more than one state that has rigorous CE requirements, though the PT Compact does provide some streamlining across the compact states.

3. PT compact privileges require CE compliance in home states

If you utilize the PT Compact to work in other states, you are still required to comply with the physical therapy continuing education requirements for your home state. Failure to keep up with your home state's requirements can lead to a loss of employment privileges across all the compact states.

4. It's important to stay on top of evolving trends in care

The medical industry is continually changing as discoveries are made and outdated treatments are discarded, and physical therapy is no exception. Completing the necessary physical therapy continuing education is one way for therapists to stay informed of current practices and treatment standards, translating into better care for their patients.

5. Different populations face unique care challenges

Whether caused by regional challenges, age differences, religious beliefs, or race and gender predispositions, different groups of people require approaches that address their unique needs. Physical therapy continued education helps therapists learn about the medical differences they might encounter in population groups, giving them a better understanding of which treatment options improve patient outcomes.

Physical therapists provide a critical service to their patients that improves the quality of their lives. For therapists to maintain their licenses to practice and provide the best care for their patients, physical therapy continuing education is a valuable tool that gives professionals knowledge about updated treatment options and current industry trends.


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