PT Compact States: Your Guide to the PT Compact

PT Compact states allow PTs to practice in multiple states with ease. Learn what it is, how it works, PT compact states and rules, as well as the costs involved.

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PT Compact States: Your Guide to the PT Compact  

Working as a PT in one state once meant that you could only provide physical therapy in neighboring states by obtaining licenses from those states. The PT Compact solves this problem, saves you money, and extends your area of care. States accepting the PT Compact recognize other member states' validity of PT and PTA licenses. Thanks to the PT Compact, working across state lines has never been easier than now.

Main Takeaways From This Article:

  • The PT Compact saves the time and expense of getting physical therapy licensure in multiple states.
  • With PT Compact privileges, you can practice beyond your home state.
  • Requirements for privileges vary slightly by state, with some states requiring exams.
  • The PT Compact is not a multistate license and still requires you to have a license in your home state.

What is the Physical Therapy (PT) Compact?

The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact creates an agreement among participants to recognize the PT licenses obtained in other member states. These privileges permit physical therapists from member states to obtain permission to practice in other participating states without separate licenses.

Development of the PT Compact

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) sought to enhance patient access to physical therapy by reducing regulations barring interstate care. In 2017, the tenth state joined the interstate effort to create the PT Compact. Today, 28 states actively participate by issuing and accepting privileges. Another five have adopted the PT Compact into their legislation but do not offer or accept privileges.

Interstate Practice Is a Reality

Physical therapists or PTAs can work within their home state and in any state where they have privileges. This interstate privilege increases the range a PT can serve in person or via telehealth services and represents a future of physical therapy care that gives patients and PTs more options.

What States Are in the PT Compact?

As of March 2023, the following states are compact member states that are actively issuing compact privileges:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Some states have passed legislation that accepts the PT Compact. These places have yet to begin accepting or issuing privileges. Those states include the following:

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

How Do PT Compact States Work?

PT Compact member states agree to recognize the licenses that physical therapists and assistants obtained from other member states. Any PT or PTA who wants to operate outside their home state can request privileges if they meet the basic eligibility requirements:

  • No encumbrances or disciplinary action on any PT or PTA licenses within the last two years
  • A current PT or PTA license for a member state that also is the home state
  • Proof of residency in the home state

Travel Physical Therapists Don't Need Separate Licenses in Participating States

Traveling physical therapists can obtain licenses in some of the states they practice. As long as their home state and others they work in are members of the PT Compact, they only need PT Compact privileges to practice.

Expanded Telehealth to Other States Within the PT Compact Group

Similarly, member states that allow licensed PTs to offer telehealth services also allow those with privileges the same benefit. Since telehealth requirements vary by state, always check with the specific states for which you have privileges to see if you can offer telehealth care in those locations.

All privilege holders must follow the regulations and laws of practicing in their patients' states. Hence, if you have privileges for a patient's state, you can only offer telehealth services to that person if their state also allows telehealth.

Advantages of Joining the PT Compact

If you currently have a license in a PT Compact state, you can get privileges in other member states. Joining the PT Compact provides multiple perks to help make your job easier as a PT or PTA.

  • Improved Mobility for PTs: When you have privileges to practice in other member states, you don't have to stay tied to your home state. You can practice in any state that also accepts privileges, which allows you to travel to other states to offer care.
  • Increased Job Opportunities: With PT Compact privileges, you can practice in more than your home state. Thus, you increase the number of places where you can work as a PT because you can include practices in your home state and any states in which you have privileges through the PT Compact to work.
  • Larger Hiring Pool: Additionally, you have a larger pool of applicants for your practice. Hiring top talent becomes easier when looking beyond state lines to find PTs or PTAs with the privileges to work in your state.
  • Streamlined Licensure Process: No longer must you obtain separate licenses to practice in different states. If your home state and another are members of the PT Compact, you can skip the timely and expensive licensure process and get a privilege number in minutes.
  • Greater Cost-Effectiveness: Getting PT Compact privilege costs less than seeking a license in each state. You will save money and time that you can use to enrich yourself and your PT practice.

Potential Challenges of the PT Compact

Since not all states participate in the PT Compact, the privileges have some limitations you must consider.

  • Interstate Practice Limitation: You have some limitations to how you can practice in multiple states. Traveling across state lines may incur additional travel and time expenses to offer physical therapy. Make sure to factor in travel time to work hours to avoid burning out PTs and PTAs in your practice.
  • Variations in State Laws and Regulations: When you offer physical therapy services in another state with privileges, you still must follow that state's regulations. Hence, you must take responsibility to learn the various requirements for all states you have privilege in. The PT Compact site offers resources for learning about various state laws when acquiring or using privilege.
  • Working in Non-Participating States: If you live in a non-participating state, you cannot obtain privileges to work in other states. However, even if you have a license in a member state, you can only get privileges to provide physical therapy services in other member states. For non-participating states, you must still get a full license to practice in that state.

How Can I Join and Get A PT or PTA Compact Privilege?

To get PT or PTA privileges in a state, go through the following process for each state you want to work in.

1. Check Eligibility

Verify that you can apply for a PT or PTA Compact privilege. You must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a current PT or PTA license in your home state.
  • Your home state must issue and accept privileges.
  • The state you want privileges in must be a member state and accept and issue privileges.
  • You must have proof of residency in your home state with a current driver's license.
  • For the last two years, you cannot have had any disciplinary action or encumbrances on any license.

Meeting the above criteria means you can register to take a jurisprudence exam, if required, or continue to purchase your privileges online.

2. Take the State Jurisprudence Exam, If Required

Some states require a passing exam before applying for PT or PTA Compact privileges. Additionally, several states require you to retake the exam each time you renew your privileges. The following states require a passing jurisprudence exam before initially applying for privileges and renewals:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland – initial only
  • Mississippi – initial only
  • Missouri – initial only
  • Montana – initial only
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota – initial only
  • Ohio
  • Oregon – within six months of applying for initial privileges
  • Tennessee – passed within 30 days of initial and renewed privileges
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin – initial only

Many of the above states that require jurisprudence exams may also levy fees to take the exam.

3. Estimate Cost for a PT or PTA Compact Privilege Fees

Each state has its fee schedule for obtaining compact privileges. The costs include the state's fee and a $45 Commission fee. For states that require a jurisprudence exam, you may have to pay for the cost of the exam, too.

Costs for PT or PTA Compact privileges range from the lowest total of $45 in Arizona and South Carolina to the highest total of $195 in Mississippi.

4. Purchase a Compact Privilege Online

After ensuring that you meet the basic requirements and have completed any jurisprudence exams, go to the PT Compact website to request your privileges for a specific state.

  1. Click the Purchase/Renew button on the site's homepage.
  2. Read through the requirements on the page and click Continue at the bottom if you meet them.
  3. Use your Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy identification (FSBPT ID) number and password to log in.
  4. Click the purchase button to buy PT Compact privileges in one or more states.
  5. Add your state driver's license number or state ID number to the information on the next page to verify your home state.
  6. Select the state or states where you want to purchase PT Compact privileges and have completed the required exams. Do not choose your home state.
  7. Read the attestations page and check to verify that you have completed the required jurisprudence exams.
  8. Complete payment information on the next page to receive your PT Compact privilege numbers.

The entire process, not including any required exams, takes 10 minutes from start to finish. After payment, you will have immediate access to your privileges for the states you selected.

5. The Bottom Line: Expand Your Patient Base Across State Lines

Reducing barriers to operating across state lines with PT Compact privileges gives patients more options for physical therapy providers. You don't need to obtain full licensure in every state you practice.

As your practice grows, you must closely handle your patients' records. Practice management software streamlines every step of running your practice. Easily schedule appointments, track medical records, and communicate with patients. Request a demo of MWTherapy today to see how it can improve your operations as you consider expanding your practice across state lines.

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