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Becoming a Physical Therapist in North Carolina – NC

The field of physical therapy in the United States has seen steady growth in the last several years.  It is estimated that this growth period will continue and by 2016 there will be 27 percent more physical therapists practicing nationwide than there are now (Bureau of Labor Statistics).   North Carolina currently employs approximately 3,700 physical therapists (2.6% of the healthcare workforce), with an average salary range of $29.99 per hour. 


How to Become a Physical Therapist in North Carolina

Upon completion of a physical therapy degree, you are then required to take the National Physical Therapy Exam, which is administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.  This is a computer-based exam and is given at testing centers nationally.  You do not have to take the exam in the state you are looking to practice in.  There is a fee to take this exam (currently $350) and fees also apply should you fail and have to retake it. 

Licensure is also required in North Carolina in order to practice as a physical therapist.  The North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners is responsible for the governance and issuing of the license.  The application process is simple and will require you to submit the appropriate information as well as the licensing fee.   Licensure is good for a period of one year and the fee is currently $100 per year. 
Step by Step:

  1.  Completion of an undergraduate degree in a science based curriculum
  2. Completion of a master’s degree from an approved program in North Carolina
  3. Completion of a doctorate degree (optional)
  4. Complete the application process and take the national licensure examination offered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.  Application and more detailed information can be found at www.fsbpt.org; select “National Physical Therapy Exam”. 
  5. Complete the application process for a North Carolina Physical Therapy license.    The application, related information and fee schedule are easily found on the website at www.ncptboard.org.  In addition to providing proof of passing the national exam, you will also be asked to provide information including name, address, location and dates attended for your institution(s), degree(s) held, license(s) held, and expected place of employment. 

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