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Becoming a Physical Therapist in Kentucky – KY

A recent ranking from CNNMoney placed physical therapy careers in seventh place for growth potential and for salary. Additionally, the opportunity to bring comfort to people through exercise, stretching, manipulation and other therapeutic methods places PTs and PTAs in the vanguard of health caregivers who help Kentucky’s residents regain their vigor and show the unbridled spirit for which they are renowned.


How to Become a Physical Therapist in Kentucky

The Kentucky Board of Physical Therapy is empowered by the state to judge whether your competency to be licensed to practice PT or PTA. The following is an outline of the requirements for both licenses. You must

  1. Successfully complete an accredited PT or PTA program.
    After earning your high school diploma, if you wish to be a PTA, you can enroll in many accredited community or technical colleges, where you will learn the fundamentals of the field and spend clinical time with patients. Note that becoming a PTA is not a step towards becoming a PT. They are two separate but parallel tracks.
    To become a PT, first enroll in a university and take many science and math courses, including statistics, biology, anatomy, kinesthetic, etc. Keep up a high grade point average and start looking at PT master’s or doctorate programs. You will have opportunities to work directly with patients in clinical settings for what will literally be “hands-on” experience.
    Some PT programs will accept you before you complete your bachelor’s degree. Either way, pick the appropriate school and diploma, and continue to learn about becoming a PT while maintaining good relationships with your professors. They may be able to help you get a job in the future, or offer you a recommendation.
  2. Have the school program director send a certificate of completion of education to the Board,
    Note that your education isn’t over. A PT or PTA’s education never ends! Kentucky requires PTs and PTAs to rack up several hours of continued competency study every two year renewal cycle.
  3. Complete the application and submit a $170 application fee.
  4. Complete an approved HIV/AIDS education course.
  5. Fill out an Authorization to Test Letter from the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy.
  6. Pass the PT or PTA qualification examination at any testing center in the United States (the National Physical Therapist Exam costs $370).
    The test for PTs is 200 graded questions, and for PTAs, 150 graded questions. The test takes five hours and four hours respectively.
  7. Study for and pass Kentucky’s online, open book jurisprudence exam, which will validate that understand rules and regulations for practicing in the state. You will have to retake this exam every time you renew or reinstate your license.

Should three years pass since your last renewal, your license will lapse. You can pay a reinstatement fee and submit a renewal application, retake the jurisprudence test and an HIV/AIDS class, and submit proof of having taken continued competency hours. Alternately, if you’ve received a PT or PTA license from another state, you can arrange to have Kentucky verify this, but you must still submit your reinstatement application.


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