The mission of the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy is to protect the public from the incompetent, unprofessional, and unlawful practice of physical therapy. The Arizona Physical Therapy Practice Act establishes the standards for the practice of physical therapy, continuing competence and testing, and defines the scope and limitations of practice. The Board licenses and certifies qualified applicants as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants; and receives, investigates and adjudicates complaints against licensees and certificate holders.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a specialized area of healthcare that includes therapeutic exercise, manual therapy techniques, patient related instruction, and many other interventions. For the complete list of care and services provided, please view A.R.S. §32-2001(13) and physical therapy services for more information.
Because public safety is the primary reason for our existence, we recommend that a savvy consumer be pro-active in choosing a PT health care professional. Verification of Arizona license to practice PT and certification to work as a PTA may be ascertained on the eLicensing website. Information can also be obtained by calling our office at 602-274-0236. Whether you live in the state of Arizona or you move to another state, a physical therapist must be licensed by that state before legally practicing as a physical therapist. Every state in the United States requires licensure before the physical therapist is allowed to practice in that state.
Pursuant to A.R.S. §32-4302 a person shall be granted an occupational or professional license or certificate if the person has been licensed or certified in another state for at least twelve months, the license or certificate is in the same discipline and at the same practice level as the license or certificate for which the parson is applying in this state and the person meets other conditions prescribed by A.R.S. §32-4302. Application required and must be submitted via ELICENSING.
- FSBPT: Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
- NPTE: National Physical Therapy Examination
- ASBOPT: Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy
- AZLAW: Arizona Jurisprudence Examination
- APTA: American Physical Therapy Association
- APTAAZ: Arizona Physical Therapy Associateon
The time varies depending on the information provided by the applicant and how long it takes to receive all required documentation.
In essence, the process is dependent upon how long it takes all required information to be requested or supplied by the applicant and received by ASBOPT. The required documentation may take a few days to several weeks to receive. Once all required documentation is received, the application reviewed, and all identified deficiencies corrected, testing eligibility can be granted. After passing test scores are received, the more routine applications will be processed by staff. Applications that require additional background information or Board review may take longer. Please review our About menu for Board Meeting (and deadline) dates.
Testing eligibility is granted only after a completed (including all 3rd party documents), paid for, and reviewed application is deemed sufficient. Part of this process includes the correction of any application deficiencies and may require Board approval (determined on a case by case basis).
No, transcripts must be sent directly to this Board from the school originating the document.
No, our administrative rules require that the transcript be sent directly to the ASBOPT from the school of physical therapy.
No. You must be licensed or certified by the ASBOPT before practicing in AZ as a physical therapist or working as a physical therapist assistant.
After your test scores are received you will be contacted by ASBOPT with next-step instructions. You may take the exam twice before having to reapply with a new application and new application fee. FSBPT requires that you submit the exam fee with each and every registration. Prometric requires the same with their testing site fee. FSBPT will allow you to retake the exam 3 times within one year beginning with the first exam.
After your test scores are received you will be contacted by ASBOPT with next-step instructions. You may take the exam twice before having to reapply with a new application and new application fee. FSBPT requires that you submit the exam fee with each and every registration. Prometric requires the same with their testing site fee.
Anyone, including the Board, may file a complaint against a licensed physical therapist or a certified physical therapist assistant for anything he or she believes may constitute a violation of law. Complaints may be submitted online via the Board's website at ptboard.az.gov and clicking "File a Complaint". When submitting a complaint, provide as many details as possible such as a full description of the alleged action, the exact nature of the complaint and any other information that will assist the investigation. The Board may contact you for additional information. The Board may also subpoena records necessary to the investigation. When a complaint is filed, it must have the following information:
- The complainant's name, address and phone number: Although this Board does accept anonymous complaints, the Board cannot guarantee the anonymity of the complainant if the nature of the complaint will require a witness or testimony from the complainant, or if the complainant was or is a patient of the physical therapist.
- The name of the P.T. or P.T.A. against whom the complaint is being filed: THE BOARD CANNOT ACCEPT COMPLAINTS FILED AGAINST A CLINIC OR FACILITY WHEN A PT OR PTA IS NOT IDENTIFIED IN THE COMPLAINT.
- The nature of the complaint: The complaint should provide as much detail as possible. Additional pages and copies of documents/records may be attached to the complaint form. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS.
The complainant receives written notification of receipt of a complaint, however, he or she is advised that the investigative process and the Board's final disposition may take a number of months to complete.
The Arizona Board of Physical Therapy has jurisdiction over investigation of complaints filed by members of the public against physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs). The Board is charged by law with the responsibility to receive and investigate complaints and to conduct investigations, enforce the law and impose disciplinary action when a violation of the law has occurred.
All complaints that are filed with the Board against a licensed physical therapist or a certified physical therapist assistant must be investigated and brought before the Board for action.
- Board staff analyzes the information received, assigns an intake number, and reviews the information to determine whether jurisdiction for the complaint exists (i.e is the complaint against a licensed physical therapist or a certified physical therapist assistant, AND, if the allegations are true, would the matter constitute a violation of law).
- If jurisdiction is established, a complaint number will be assigned and a file will be opened.
- A copy of the complaint will be sent to the individual against whom the complaint has been opened with a request for a written response to the allegations within 20 days of receipt. A subpoena requiring the licensee to provide a copies of pertinent records may also be sent with the notification of the complaint.
- Board staff investigates the allegations using tools including -- but not limited to -- interviews, expert witness reviews, analysis of patient records, and facility site reviews.
- Once Board staff determines the case is ready for initial review by the Board, the complaint is scheduled for the next available Board meeting.
- The Board will then review the complaint for the first time during a regular session public meeting. This is not a hearing. The Board is reviewing the facts presented in the complaint, the response and the relevant records. There is no assumption that a law was violated. It is simply a review of facts as presented. When the complaint is placed on a Board agenda, both the licensee/certificate holder and the complainant receive written notice of the meeting including the date, time and location. Both parties to the complaint are welcome and encouraged to attend, but their presence is not required. At this meeting, both the licensee/certificate holder and the complainant will have an opportunity to briefly address the Board regarding the complaint.
The Board will review the complaint to determine one of the following:
- Is there a basis on which to believe a law may have been violated? If there is not a substantive basis on which to proceed, the complaint will be dismissed. If the Board does not have enough information to make a determination, the complaint will be held open for further investigation.
- If the Board is concerned that there is a substantive basis to believe a law has been violated, they may vote the matter to go to an informal interview or to a formal hearing.
If the complaint is dismissed or directed to further investigation, both the complainant and the licensee/certificate holder will be notified by letter. If further investigation takes place, the Board's staff will keep both parties informed when the matter will be scheduled for the Board review again.
The Board's statutes use the term "informal interview" for an interview before the full Board that may result in resolution of the case other than through a formal hearing. The purpose of the informal interview is to further the Board's investigation toward resolution of the complaint. The complainant should be prepared to act as a witness at the hearing. Generally, formal hearings are reserved for those cases where unique circumstances exist, and for cases where the allegations are serious to the degree to warrant possible suspension or revocation of the license/certificate if those allegations are proven to be true. If the matter is voted to a formal hearing, the licensee/certificate holder will be noticed through a formal process called a Complaint and Notice of Hearing. The Complaint will identify the date, time and place for the hearing. It will outline the factual allegations and charges, made against the licensee/certificate holder, by the State of Arizona. The hearing may either be conducted before the Board or before an Administrative Law Judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings. The complainant should be prepared to act as a witness at the hearing.
With all matters before the Board, the licensee/certificate holder has the right to be represented by an attorney.
If a violation of the law has occurred, the Board will impose disciplinary action to include the following:
Issue a decree of censure
Prescribe a licensee's scope of practice, place of practice or supervision of practice, the duration of a license or a certificate or the type or condition of patient served by a licensee/certificate holder.
Suspend a license/certificate for a period prescribed by the Board
Revoke a license or certificate
The Board may also dismiss a complaint. When a complaint is dismissed, it does not necessarily mean that the Board agrees with or condones the actions of the licensee or certificate holder; it means that the Board had no jurisdiction or could not find evidence of a violation of law. If the Board does not find a violation of law, but has concerns with a PT or PTA's conduct, the Board may issue a Letter of Concern. A Letter of Concern is a non-disciplinary action, but it is part of the public record as are disciplinary actions. If there is no violation of law, or if the complaint is without merit, the Board will dismiss the case.
Yes. ASBOPT strongly suggests that foreign applicants wait until the credential evaluation is completed specifically for Arizona before an application for licensure is submitted. Links to credentialing agencies can be found on the Board's website using the About menu and selecting Related Links. For application requirements, review the linked document on the Board's homepage titled Application Options Table.
Yes, you must apply as a foreign educated physical therapist if you did not receive your degree from a CAPTE accredited school of physical therapy. If you are an Arizona resident, review the Application Options Table linked on the Board's homepage to determine if you qualify for a Universal Recognition application.
Yes. In addition, we strongly suggest that applicants who received their physical therapy education wait until the credential evaluation is completed specifically for Arizona before an application for licensure is submitted. Links to credentialing agencies can be found on the Board's website using the About menu and selecting Related Links. For application requirements, review the linked document on the Board's homepage titled Application Options Table.
As of April 1, 2008, the requirement is 90 professional credit hours and 60 general education hours.
Yes, you must have legal authorization to practice as a physical therapist without limitation in the country where the professional education occurred.
Yes, if English is not your native language.
The ASBOPT at a regular meeting of the Board will make the decision as to whether you will be required to complete a SCPP. Most applicants who received physical therapy education in a foreign country must complete an SCPP. If you have already completed an SCPP within the United States, please submit the completed “Clinical Performance Instrument” (CPI) or "Supervised Clinical Practice Evaluation Tool" (PET) documentation.