Becoming a Physical Therapist in Ohio – OH

Those interested in becoming a physical therapist in Ohio should begin preparing for their careers as soon as possible as the field is extremely competitive.  High school students wishing to enter into this field should concentrate their course work and electives in health, physical education, and the biological sciences.  An associate’s degree in physical therapy or nursing is generally suggested.  A bachelor’s degree is then usually required.  The major area of study for a student during his/her undergraduate career should be physical therapy, although other similar majors, such as kinesiology, may also be acceptable. 

A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree may also be pursued and some schools may even offer a Master’s degree.  However, neither of these higher level degrees is required to become a professional physical therapist.  On the other hand, an internship during, or shortly after, a student’s education under a professional physical therapist is highly suggested.  Many employers will not hire new graduates, even graduates with higher level degrees, if no prior experience is present on their resumes.  Regardless of the exact path of education, students should be exposed to core courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics.  Students will then take courses that are specific to their physical therapy degrees such as anatomy, kinesiology, biomechanics, human growth and development, pathology, physical examination and therapeutic procedures.  Many of these advanced classes will have both a classroom component and a laboratory (or clinical) component.

In the United States, all professional physical therapists must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), which is written and administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).  The FSBPT’s contact information may be seen below.

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT)
124 West Street South, Third Floor
Alexandria, VA  22314
Administrative Office:
Tel: (703) 299-3100
Fax: (703) 299-3110
Exam Services:
Tel: (703) 739-9420
Fax: (703) 739-9421

In order to sit for the NPTE in Ohio (or within 50 miles of Ohio) and become licensed to practice physical therapy in the state, applicants must pay a $100 fee the Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletics Trainers (OT PT AT) Board.  They must also submit to a criminal background check, provide a 2 inch by 2 inch photo of themselves, score at least a 24 on the Ohio Jurisprudence Exam, and register for the NPTE at the FSBPT’s website.  Registration for the Ohio Jurisprudence Exam can also be done at the FSBPT’s website.  Finally, each of the applicant’s education institutions must provide transcripts of all completed course work and proof of graduation to the Ohio OT PT AT Board.

The NPTE is a multiple-choice examination taken on a computer.  The exam fee is $350.  Test takers are encouraged to review the NPTE Candidate Handbook before taking the exam.  The 2008 pass rate for all new candidates taking the exam was 74%.  Candidates with degrees from accredited schools had an 84% pass rate for the NPTE.  Candidates have three chances to pass the exam in a 12-month period.  The $350 fee must be paid each time the test is taken.  The Jurisprudence exam is also a multiple choice test taken on a computer and takes about an hour.  The fee for this exam is an additional $75.

Once passed, the NPTE and Jurisprudence exam results must be submitted to the Ohio OT PT AT Board.  The contact information of this board can be seen below.

Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletics Trainers (OT PT AT) Board
Riffe Center
77 S. High Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215-6108
Tel: (614) 466-3774
Fax: (614) 995-0816
Email: board@otptat.Ohio.gov

Licenses for physical therapists in Ohio expire every January 31st at even numbered years.  Proof of continuing education is not required for the first renewal period.  However, for subsequent renewals, physical therapists must complete continuing education credits.

Physical Therapy Schools