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Becoming a Physical Therapist in West Virginia – WV

Health-related career fields such as physical therapy are among the few occupations that are expected to experience substantial growth in the next few years, and physical therapists in West Virginia are uniquely poised to benefit.  West Virginia has a higher than average population of senior citizens, a demographic group that accounts for a significant proportion of physical therapists’ clientele.  In addition, West Virginia is a largely rural state, and much of the growth in physical therapy jobs is expected to come in rural areas.


How to Become a Physical Therapist in West Virginia

In West Virginia, the practice of physical therapy is regulated by the West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy (WVBPT).  Any physical therapist who practices in West Virginia must first obtain a license from the WVBPT.  Application forms and instructions for completing them are available on the WVBPT website at http://www.wvbopt.com.
Applicants for a physical therapist’s license in West Virginia must successfully complete a graduate program in physical therapy accredited by CAPTE, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education of the American Physical Therapy Association. 

To become a physical therapist in West Virginia and obtain a licensure, an applicant must submit two forms: 1) an Application
For Licensure; and 2) an Exam Application/Registration Form.  In addition, the applicant must arrange to have sent to the WVBPT a signed letter on official school letter head from the director of the physical therapy program that he or she completed attesting that the applicant has completed all academic and clinical requirements for his or her degree and stating the degree conferred and the date of graduation.  The applicant must also provide an official transcript showing that he or she successfully completed a course of study in physical therapy.  The transcript must indicate the date of graduation.
The application form must be notarized and accompanied by a $220 licensing fee, a $25 application fee, and a $25 exam processing fee.  Applicants who wish to work in a physical therapy setting pending the approval of their license application may fill out an additional application form for a temporary permit and submit an additional $35 temporary permit fee.

All applicants for a physical therapy license in West Virginia must take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).  Applicants must register for the exam online through the FSBPT at www.fsbpt.org.  An examination fee of $350.00 must be paid directly to FSBPT.  Applicants may register for the examination only after submitting their application form, exam registration form, official school letter, and official transcript to the WVBPT along with the applicable fees.  Once the applicant has registered with FSBPT and WVBPT has verified the applicant’s eligibility, the applicant will receive an “Authorization to Test” Letter from FSBPT.  At this point, the applicant has sixty days to make an appointment to take the test according to the instructions contained in the letter.  In West Virginia, there are two authorized testing sites: one in Charleston and one in Morgantown.  An additional $65 fee is due at the time the testing appointment is made. 

Applicants must complete all steps of the licensing process, including taking and passing the NPTE, within a year of the initial application date.  Failure to do so will result in the denial of the application, and the applicant will be required to reapply and repay the required fees.  An applicant may take the NPTE, which is a computerized examination, three times in any given twelve-month period.


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