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How to become a Physical Therapist in California

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Physical therapists in California earn approximately $92,000 per year on average (Source: Indeed.com 2/16/11), which is 4 percent higher than the national average for the same job title. According to Salary.com (updated 2/7/11), the hourly pay rate for PTs in California depends on where you live in the state. The hourly wage for physical therapists in Los Angeles is $18.99, while Sacramento offers PTs an hourly rate of $22.23 and Fresno reported the lowest income for PTs in California with a $15.27 hourly rate. If you're interested in entering the promising and rewarding field of physical therapy, keep reading to find out how to become a physical therapist in California.


California Physical Therapist: Job Description

Becoming licensed to practice physical therapy in the state of California enables those who have complied with state requirements to perform patient evaluations. PTs in the state work closely with dentists, chiropractors, physicians, podiatrists and other health care professionals who form a PT treatment plan after the patient has been evaluated by a licensed physical therapist. California's state board requires physical therapists within the state to wear a name tag. Licensed PTs can also supervise licensed PTAs (physical therapy assistants and unlicensed physical therapy aides under specific guidelines within the state.

How to Apply for a License in California

Prior to applying for a license to practice physical therapy, California residents must graduate from an accredited physical therapy program, pass the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination) AND the CLE (California Law Examination). The California Law Examination ($100 application fee) is a multiple choice test that takes approximately an hour to complete.

Physical Therapists who are licensed in a state other than California can apply for a CA license by endorsement and arrange to have their NPTE scores transferred to California. PTs licensed in another state still need to pass the CLE. The application processing fee, in this case, is $125. For those who are not an official resident of the state of California will need to submit a fingerprint sample, which costs $51 to process.

Anyone applying for a license must also submit a recent photo of themselves. In addition, anyone who is disabled must provide a disability accommodation request, which enables the exam proctor and the state of California to provide reasonable accommodation to take the exam.

Continuing Education Requirements

California PTs who would like to renew their license must complete 30 hours of CEUs (Continued Education Units) every 24 months (renewal period). The continuing education for PTs in California requires physical therapists to take two hours of coursework in laws, regulations and ethics. Four hours of study need to be courses based on life support for healthcare professionals. PTs can earn hours by publishing a case study, journal article or chapter in a book or by teaching a continuing education or college course for the first time, attending a Physical Therapy Board of California meeting, serving at a meeting or attending a physical therapy conference.

Physical therapists in California have plenty of job opportunities, earn an impressive salary and work in a rewarding field. Get started with your new career as a physical therapist, today!