(a) To be eligible for licensure as a physical therapist, an applicant must be at least 20 years of age unless otherwise determined by the board in its discretion, be of good moral character, not be addicted to the habitual use of alcohol or narcotics or other habit-forming drugs, and be a graduate of a school offering an educational program in physical therapy as adopted by the board, which program has been approved for the education and training of physical therapists by the appropriate nationally recognized accrediting agency. An applicant completing the professional study of physical therapy after 2002 must hold a minimum of a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. An applicant completing the professional study of physical therapy between January 1967 and 2002 must hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. In the case of those applicants who have completed requirements prior to the first day of January, 1967, but who may not technically or totally fulfill the above requirements, the board at its discretion and by the majority vote of all members present may accept evidence of satisfactory equivalence. The board shall not issue a license to an applicant who has been convicted of a felony under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), 1 known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” or of an offense under the laws of another jurisdiction which, if committed in this Commonwealth, would be a felony under “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” unless:
(1) at least ten years have elapsed from the date of conviction;
(2) the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the board that he has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations; and
(3) the applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act.
As used in this subsection the term “convicted” includes a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere.
(b) An applicant for licensure must pass an examination approved by the board which shall test the applicant's knowledge of the basic and clinical sciences as they relate to physical therapy theory and physical therapy procedures and such other subjects as the board may deem necessary to test the applicant's fitness to practice physical therapy. No license shall be granted unless an applicant has attained passing scores established by the testing agency and published prior to the administration of the examination. The examination shall be held at such time and place as the board shall determine.
(c) In case of failure at the first examination, the applicant for licensure shall have, after the expiration of 60 days and within one year from the first failure, the privilege of a second examination. The board may adopt regulations governing the eligibility of applicants who have failed to pass two examinations in order to be admitted to subsequent examinations. An applicant may take the examination no more than three times in a consecutive 12-month period.
(d) Deleted by 1985, Dec. 20, P.L. 500, No. 117, § 6, effective Jan. 1, 1986.
(d.1) The board may grant licenses and certifications without further examination to individuals from another state, territory or the District of Columbia if the following conditions exist:
(1) Licensing or certification standards in the other state, territory or the District of Columbia are substantially the same as those of this act.
(2) Similar privileges are accorded individuals licensed or certified in this Commonwealth.
(3) The applicant holds a valid license, registration or certification issued by the other state, territory or the District of Columbia.
(4) The applicant complies with the rules and regulations of the board.
(e) The board shall issue a license to a physical therapist who successfully establishes his eligibility under the terms of this act and an individual who holds a license pursuant to this section may use the words physical therapist or licensed physical therapist and he shall use the letters PT in connection with his name or place of business to denote his licensure hereunder. A licensed physical therapist may include designations for physical therapy degrees, including MPT and DPT when a master's or doctor's of physical therapy degree has been earned from a regionally accredited institution of higher education, academic degrees, specialist certification and other credentials after the letters PT.
(f) At the board's discretion, the foreign trained applicant must complete up to one year of supervised clinical experience as prescribed by the board prior to taking the examination for licensure.
(g) Upon the submission of an application as provided by the board, the board shall issue a temporary license to an applicant for licensure who has met all of the requirements of subsection (a) and who is eligible to take the examination provided for in subsection (b). The board shall issue only one temporary license to an applicant, and such temporary license shall expire upon failure of the first examination or six months after the date of issue, whichever first occurs. Issuance by the board of a temporary license shall permit the applicant to practice physical therapy only while under the direct on-premises supervision of a licensed physical therapist with at least two years of experience. Upon expiration, the temporary license shall be promptly returned by the applicant to the board.
(h) Any applicant who knowingly or willfully makes a false statement of fact in any application shall be subject to prosecution for perjury.
(i) An applicant for licensure who has been educated outside of the United States shall:
(1) Complete the application process, including payment of fees.
(2) Provide proof of holding an unrestricted license in the country where the applicant was educated.
(3) Provide satisfactory evidence that the applicant's education is substantially equivalent to the education of physical therapists educated in an accredited program as determined by the board. Graduation outside the United States from a professional education program accredited by the same accrediting agency that the board approves for programs within the United States constitutes evidence of substantial equivalency. In all other instances, “substantially equivalent” means that an applicant for licensure educated outside the United States shall have:
(i) Graduated from a physical therapist education program that prepares the applicant to engage without restriction in the practice of physical therapy.
(ii) Provided written proof that the applicant's school of physical therapy is recognized by its own ministry of education.
(iii) Undergone a credentials evaluation as directed by the board that determines that the candidate has met uniform criteria for education requirements as further established by this rule.
(iv) Completed any additional education as required by the board.
(4) Comply with all State, Federal and administrative laws and regulations related to the application for and maintenance of licensure.
(5) Pass the examination approved by the board.
(6) Meet the requirements established by board regulations if applicable.
(j) Each licensee and certificate holder shall display a copy of the licensee's license or certificate holder's certificate in a location accessible to public view and produce a copy immediately upon request.
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