Member Practice FAQs

Member Practice FAQs

Practice FAQs

1. If I am a physical therapist licensed outside of the United States or am looking to employ a foreign trained physical therapist
    what requirements must the applicant meet in order to practice in the District of Columbia?

2. How many continuing education units must I have in order to renew my license in the District of Columbia?
3. Do I have to stop practicing if I fail to submit proof of having completed continuing education requirements by the date the license expires?
4.What types of continuing education programs are approved by the Board?
5. What should I do if I want to take a continuing education program that has not already been approved by the board?
6.Am I responsible for documenting discharge of every patient?
7.I am currently supervising a physical therapy student, one physical therapist’s aide, and one physical therapist’s assistant. I have just been asked to supervise a first-time applicant whose license is still pending. Am I allowed to supervise all four people?
8.Is a physical therapist’s assistant ever able to modify treatment procedures of a patient?
9.What functions can a physical therapist’s aide perform under the direct supervision of a physical therapist?
10.Where can I go to get more answers to questions like these? 1. If I am a physical therapist licensed outside of the United States or am looking to employ a foreign trained physical therapist what requirements must the applicant meet in order to practice in the District of Columbia?
  • Provides satisfactory proof that the applicant’s education is substantially equivalent to the requirements of physical therapists educated in an accredited education program as determined by the Board;
  • Passes the Board-approved English proficiency examination if the applicant’s native language is not English; and
  • Passes the examination approved by the Board
2. How many continuing education units must I have in order to renew my license in the District of Columbia?
An applicant for renewal of a license shall submit proof of having completed four (4) continuing education units or forty (40) hours of approved continuing education credit during the two-year period preceding the date of the license expires.

3. Do I have to stop practicing if I fail to submit proof of having completed continuing education requirements by the date the license expires?
Yes. The applicant shall not practice until his or her license has been renewed. The applicant has up to sixty (60) days after expiration to renew their license by submitting proof and paying the late fee. If the applicant fails to submit proof of completion of continuing education requirements or pay the late fee within sixty (60) days after the expiration of the applicant’s license, the license shall be deemed to have lapsed and the applicant shall be required to apply for reinstatement.

4. What types of continuing education programs are approved by the Board?
  • An undergraduate or graduate course given at an accredited college or university;
  • A seminar or workshop;
  • An education program at a conference;
  • In-service training;
  • Home study courses; and
  • Online courses.
5. What should I do if I want to take a continuing education program that has not already been approved by the board?
You should first verify that the program is current in its subject matter and developed and taught by qualified individuals. Then you must be sure the program also meets one of the following requirements:
  • Be administered or approved by a recognized national, state or local physical therapy organization; health care organization; accredited health care facility; or an accredited college or university; or
  • Be submitted by the program sponsors or the applicant to the Board for review no less than sixty (60) days prior to the date of the presentation and be approved by the Board.
6. Am I responsible for documenting discharge of every patient?
Yes. A physical therapist shall be responsible for managing all aspects of the physical therapy care of each patient. This includes:
  • The initial evaluation for each patient and all supporting documentation;
  • Periodic reevaluation of each patient and all supporting documentation; and
  • The documented discharge of the patient, including the response to therapeutic intervention at the time of discharge.
7. I am currently supervising a physical therapy student, one physical therapist’s aide, and one physical therapist’s assistant. I have just been asked to supervise a first-time applicant whose license is still pending. Am I allowed to supervise all four people?
No. A physical therapist may not have more than a total of three (3) physical therapy students or physical therapist’s aides or physical therapist’s assistants or first-time applicants for a physical therapy license (whose license is still pending) under his or her direct supervision at any one time.

8. Is a physical therapist’s assistant ever able to modify treatment procedures of a patient?
Yes. Under the direct supervision of a physical therapist a physical therapist’s assistant is able to modify treatment procedures as indicated by patient response and within the limits specified in the plan of care. The modifications must be reported orally or in writing to the physical therapist.

9. What functions can a physical therapist’s aide perform under the direct supervision of a physical therapist?
  • Gait practice;
  • Activities of daily living;
  • Transfer activities;
  • Hot or cold packs;
  • Paraffin bath;
  • Hydrotherapy;
  • Whirlpool; and
  • Therapeutic exercises.
10. Where can I go to get more answers to questions like these?
You may link directly to the Directory of State Practice Acts or to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy's Web site where you will find specific answers to questions regarding practice in the District of Columbia.

You can also visit the practice section www.apta.org where you will find many more Practice frequently asked questions. Finally, you can always contact Jennifer Dabbs, your DC practice chair, at jmdabbs@gmail.com and she will assist you in finding the answer to your question.
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