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Pennsylvania is in many ways the area most associated with the birth of the United States. The state was at times home to many of the country's most notable leaders and eventual historical figures. Even today, the area remains a hot spot for tourists seeking landmarks of American history and a glimpse of years gone by. The state encompasses some of the most rustic and unadorned societies our nation has to offer coupled with some the most bountiful sources of activity, culture, entertainment and sophistication.

Physical therapists work in communities throughout the state, but the demand for their services is greater in larger communities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. There are more hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in these metropolitan areas, which means more positions for physical therapists as they attempt to serve an expanding cliental that continues to put a greater demand on the service of therapists. This demand should continue to increase as a larger portion of society become senior citizens.

In the state of Pennsylvania there is a governmental agency that supports the various state professional and occupational licensing boards and commissions. This agency is the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, and it lends both administrative and legal aid to the 29 licensing boards under its large umbrella. This bureau was founded over four decades ago in 1963 as an arm of the Department of State. It bears mentioning that all 29 of these groups have the right to set and enforce its own rules and regulations for licensing and regulating the various professions, occupations and commissions without interference for the bureau. It is the responsibility of these governing bodies to "protect the health, safety and welfare of the public from fraudulent and unethical practitioners."

The State Board of Physical Therapy is one of the governing bodies under the bureau's umbrella. The physical therapy board receives aid from the bureau as it regulates the practice of physical therapy in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The board is responsible for virtually all aspects of qualifying, licensing and regulating anything related to physical therapy in the state. Some of the duties of the board include issuing, renewing, revoking and suspending licenses and registrations. The bureau provides the technical and administrative support, as well as the manpower needed to verify records, issue licenses and investigate complaints.

To receive licensure in Pennsylvania, a physical therapist candidate must have completed an accredited undergraduate program and a mater's and or doctorate program. The candidate must also have passed a physical therapy examination. Once these steps have been completed and all of the appropriate records have been verified, the candidate can be considered for licensure by the governing board. Even once a person receives a license, the learning and studying is not over. Therapists in Pennsylvania are required to take part in continuing learning programs that introduce therapists to the many changes that confront their occupation from year to year.

The process of gaining licensure in Pennsylvania may at times appear insurmountable, but it is important to remember that the physical therapy board can also be an asset as students seek to find out what they must do begin their careers.