Becoming a Physical Therapist in Georgia – GA
Recent figures from the Georgia Board of Physical Therapy state that over 4900 physical therapists are employed in Georgia. The overall number declined briefly in July 2009 but has steadily risen since that time. An expected hourly rate of $36.02 puts this group of professionals just under the 75th percentile ($41.12) for the hourly rate of physical therapists nationally (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Once you have chosen physical therapy as the profession you wish to pursue, you will need to select a university to attend. First a bachelor’s degree in a health care field such as exercise physiology or exercise science must be attended. Then one must enroll in a physical therapy degree program, which are typically two to three years in length.
Becoming a Physical Therapist in Georgia
The next step is to complete an application for the National Physical Therapy Examination. This exam is required before applying for licensure and subsequently practicing in the state. The exam is used nationally as a standardized way to insure that basic competence is being met by those who are employed in the profession. It is regulated by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and offered at testing centers throughout the U.S. The current exam fee is $350 plus a fee to the testing center; these fees also apply if the exam is failed and needs to be re-taken. Candidates who are not successful on the first attempt may retake it up to three times in a year.
Once the national exam has been successfully completed, the scores and other information must be submitted to the Georgia Board of Physical Therapy along with an application for licensure. This application will ask for information such as name, address, phone number and other demographics. Official transcripts from universities, as well as dates of attendance/completion and degrees received must also be given. The current licensure fee is $75 and this is valid for a two-year period.
Step by Step How to Become a Physical Therapist in Georgia
- Determine a course of study for a bachelor’s degree (typically in a science field such as chemistry, biomechanics, biology, or kinesiology)
- Determine an appropriate graduate program in physical therapy (master’s degree or a doctorate degree)
- Complete the educational and clinical requirements for the chosen graduate program
- Obtain and complete the application form and documentation required for the National Physical Therapy Exam
- Contact the testing agency to schedule your exam appointment
- Successful completion of the national exam
- Obtain and complete the application form and documentation required by the Georgia Board of Physical Therapy for a physical therapy license
- Submit licensure documentation along with the appropriate fees
- Successful completion of licensure application leads to active licensure status
- Adhere to Georgia Board of Physical Therapy’s code of ethics, standards of practice, and continuing education requirements in order to maintain licensure in good standing