Part 77 Physical Therapy

§77.1 Professional study of physical therapy | §77.2 Licensing examinations for physical therapists | §77.3 Limited permits for physical therapists | §77.4 Professional study for physical therapy assistants | §77.5 Experience for physical therapist assistants | §77.6 Supervision of physical therapist assistants | §77.7 Licensing examinations for physical therapist assistants | §77.8 Limited permits for physical therapist assistants | §77.9 Providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without referral | §77.10 Continuing education for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants | §77.11 Endorsement.

§77.1 Professional study of physical therapy.

  1. As used in this section, acceptable accrediting agency shall mean an organization accepted by the department as a reliable authority for the purpose of accrediting physical therapy programs, having accreditation standards that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for programs registered as leading to licensure in physical therapy pursuant to section 52.43 of this Title, and applying its criteria for granting accreditation of programs in a fair, consistent, and nondiscriminatory manner, such as an agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education.
  2. To meet the professional education requirement for licensure in this State, the applicant shall present evidence of:
    1. a master's or higher degree in physical therapy from a program registered by the department or accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency; or
    2. completion of a program satisfactory to the department which is substantially equivalent to a master's degree program in physical therapy registered by the department and which culminates in the degree or diploma accepted by the civil authorities of the country in which the studies were completed as satisfying the educational requirements for the practice of physical therapy in that country.

§77.2 Licensing examinations for physical therapists.

  1. The department may accept passing scores on the National Physical Therapy Examination or on an examination determined to be comparable in content.

§77.3 Limited permits for physical therapists.

  1. The department may renew a limited permit in physical therapy, as provided in section 6735(c) of the Education Law, based upon:
    1. satisfactory evidence of: extenuating circumstances which prevented the permittee from taking the licensing examination; or a demonstrated need for additional clinical training under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist; and
    2. documentation that the permittee is affirmatively pursuing licensure by maintaining active examination and licensure applications; and
    3. completion of an application for renewal of a physical therapy limited permit and payment of the fee prescribed in section 6735 of the Education Law.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, renewal of a limited permit shall not be granted if the permittee is the subject of a pending professional misconduct proceeding or if the department determines that there is a reasonable basis for a professional misconduct proceeding against the permittee, as provided in title VIII of the Education Law.
  3. On-site supervision of permittees as required in section 6735(d) of the Education Law shall mean that the supervising physical therapist is in the same facility and readily available to the permittee.

§77.4 Professional study for physical therapy assistants.

To meet the professional education requirements for certification, the applicant shall present evidence of:

  1. completion of a two-year college program for physical therapist assistants registered by the department or accredited by a national accreditation agency which is satisfactory to the department; or
  2. completion of a physical therapy program determined by the department to be equivalent to a registered program for physical therapist assistants. When adequate program records are not available or a site visit is not feasible to determine equivalency, a candidate may demonstrate competency by passing a national examination satisfactory to the department.

§77.5 Experience for physical therapist assistants.

There shall be no experience required beyond that required as a component of an educational program for physical therapist assistants registered by the department.

§77.6 Supervision of physical therapist assistants.

A physical therapist assistant shall be under the general supervision of a physical therapist licensed in the State of New York. On-site supervision as required by section 6738(a) of the Education Law shall mean that the supervising physical therapist is physically present in the same facility and is readily available to the physical therapist assistant, except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b) of section 6738 of the Education Law with respect to maintenance programs in residential health care facilities.

§77.7 Licensing examinations for physical therapist assistants.

  1. The department may accept passing scores on the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants or an examination determined to be comparable in content.

§77.8 Limited permits for physical therapist assistants.

  1. the department may renew a limited permit for a physical therapist assistant, as provided in section 6741-a (c) of the Education Law, based upon:
    1. satisfactory evidence of extenuating circumstances which prevented the permittee from taking the licensing examination; or a demonstrated need for additional clinical training under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist; and
    2. documentation that the permittee is affirmatively pursuing licensure by maintaining active examination and licensure applications; and
    3. completion of an application for renewal of a physical therapist assistant limited permit and payment of the fee prescribed in section 6741-a of the Education Law.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) of this section, renewal of a limited permit shall not be granted if the permittee is the subject of a pending professional misconduct proceeding or if the department determines that there is a reasonable basis for a professional misconduct proceeding against the permittee, as provided in title VIII of the Education Law.
  3. On-site supervision of permittees as required in section 6741-a (d) of the Education Law shall mean that the supervising physical therapist is in the same facility and readily available to the permittee.

§77.9 Providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without referral.

(Effective November 23, 2006)
  1. In accordance with Education Law section 6731(d), a licensed physical therapist may provide a patient with treatment in the practice of physical therapy without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner, for 10 visits or 30 days whichever occurs first, provided the licensed physical therapist meets the following requirements:
    1. the licensed physical therapist has practiced physical therapy on a full-time basis equivalent to not less than three years prior to beginning such treatment, meaning the licensed physical therapist has completed at least 4,320 clock hours of physical therapy practice over a minimum of 36 months anytime prior to beginning such treatment; and
    2. the licensed physical therapist meets all requirements of subdivision (b) of this section relating to the notice of advice.
  2. Notice of advice. A physical therapist providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner, in accordance with Education Law section 6731(d) and the requirements of this section, shall advise the patient in writing prior to beginning treatment of the possibility that treatment may not be covered by the patient's health care plan or insurer without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner and that treatment may be a covered expense if rendered pursuant to such referral. This notice of advice shall be provided on a form, a copy of which shall be kept on file by the licensed physical therapist as a patient record and a copy of which shall be given to the patient. The notice of advice form shall include the following information:
    1. a statement of such advice and a statement attesting that the patient has read the notice of advice;
    2. the date treatment will begin;
    3. the patient’s name and address;
    4. the patient’s signature and date the patient signed the form;
    5. the treating physical therapist's name and address; and
    6. the treating physical therapist’s signature and the date the physical therapist signed the form.

§77.10 Continuing education for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

(Effective May 14, 2009)
  1. Definitions. As used in this section:
    1. Acceptable accrediting agency means an organization accepted by the department as a reliable authority for the purpose of accreditation at the postsecondary level, applying its criteria for granting accreditation in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory manner, such as an agency recognized for this purpose by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
    2. Higher education institution means a degree-granting postsecondary institution accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency.
  2. Applicability of requirements.
    1. Each licensed physical therapist and certified physical therapist assistant, required under Article 136 of the Education Law to register with the department to practice in New York State, shall comply with the mandatory continuing education requirements as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, except those licensees exempt from the requirement or who obtain an adjustment to the requirement pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subdivision or who are subject to a different requirement pursuant to this section.
    2. Exemptions and adjustments to the requirement.
      1. Exemptions. The following licensees shall be exempt from the continuing education requirements, as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section:
        1. licensees for the triennial registration period during which they are first licensed to practice as a physical therapist or certified physical therapist assistant in New York State; and
        2. licensed physical therapists or certified physical therapist assistants who are not engaged in the practice of physical therapy, as evidenced by not being registered to practice in New York State, except as otherwise prescribed in subdivision (e) of this section to meet the requirements for the resumption of practice in New York State.
      2. Adjustments to the requirement. An adjustment to the continuing education requirement, as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, may be made by the department, provided that the licensee documents good cause that prevents compliance or the department determines otherwise that there is good cause that prevents compliance, which shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following reasons: poor health or a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; or extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States; or other good cause beyond the licensee's control which in the judgment of the department, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply with the continuing education requirements in a timely manner.
  3. Mandatory continuing education requirement.
    1. General requirement.
      1. During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of three years' duration, an applicant for registration shall complete at least 36 hours of continuing education, acceptable to the department, as defined in paragraph (2) of this subdivision. Any licensed physical therapist or certified physical therapist assistant whose first registration date following September 1, 2009 occurs less than three years from that date, but on or after January 1, 2010, shall complete continuing education hours on a prorated basis at the rate of one-half hour of acceptable formal continuing education per month for the period beginning January 1, 2010 up to the first registration date thereafter. Such continuing education shall be completed during the period beginning September 1, 2009 and ending before the first day of the new registration period.
      2. Proration. Unless otherwise prescribed in this section, during each registration period of less than three years' duration, an applicant for registration shall complete acceptable continuing education, as defined in paragraph (2) of this subdivision and within the limits prescribed in such paragraph, on a prorated basis at a rate of one hour of continuing education per month for such registration period.
    2. Acceptable formal continuing education. To be acceptable to the department, continuing education shall meet the requirements of this paragraph. Such continuing education must be in subjects prescribed in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph and be the types of learning activities prescribed in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph and subject to the prohibition contained in subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph.
      1. Subjects. Acceptable continuing education shall contribute to the professional practice of physical therapy and shall have as its focus one or more of the following subjects:
        1. activities that enhance knowledge and skill in examination, evaluation, prognosis and planning, intervention, re-examination, prevention, and outcomes in physical therapy;
        2. clinical interventions/evidence-based models, and philosophy and principles of physical therapy;
        3. patient communications, recordkeeping, and reimbursement issues;
        4. general supervision and business practices;
        5. pedagogical methodologies or other topics which contribute to the professional practice of physical therapy; or
        6. matters relating to health care, law, and/or ethics which contribute to professional practice in physical therapy and the health, safety, and/or welfare of the public.
      2. Types of learning activities. Acceptable continuing education shall be the types of learning activities prescribed in this subparagraph and shall be subject to the limitations prescribed in this subparagraph and subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph.
        1. Courses of learning. Acceptable continuing education shall be courses of learning offered by a sponsor approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, which may include, among others, courses offered by an approved sponsor, university and college credit and non-credit courses, and professional development and technical sessions related to the practice of physical therapy.
        2. Other educational activities. Acceptable continuing education shall be the following other educational activities:
          1. preparing and teaching a course offered by a sponsor of continuing education to physical therapists or physical therapist assistants, approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, provided that such teaching shall not be acceptable where the licensee has taught the course on more than one occasion without presenting new or revised material. Continuing education hours that may be credited for this activity may include actual instructional time plus preparation time which may be up to two additional hours for each hour of presentation.
          2. preparing and teaching a course, acceptable to the department, at a higher education institution relating to the practice of physical therapy, provided that such teaching shall not be acceptable where the licensee has taught the course on more than one occasion without presenting new or revised material. Continuing education hours that may be credited for this activity may include actual instructional time plus preparation time which may be up to two additional hours for each hour of presentation.
          3. making a technical presentation at a professional conference sponsored by an organization that is a sponsor of continuing education to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants and that is approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, provided that such presentation shall not be acceptable where the licensee has presented on the topic on more than one occasion without presenting new or revised material. Continuing education hours that may be credited for this activity shall include actual presentation time, plus preparation time which may be up to two additional hours for each hour of presentation.
          4. achieving a specialty certification or recertification from an entity acceptable to the department, provided that the amount of continuing education credit awarded for such certification or recertification shall be an amount prescribed by the department.
          5. completing a self-study program, meaning structured study, provided by a sponsor approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, that is based on audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and other media, and does not include live instruction, transmitted in person or otherwise, during which the student may communicate and interact with the instructor and other students;
          6. authoring an article published in a peer-reviewed journal or a published book, provided that the amount of continuing education credit awarded for such activity shall be an amount prescribed by the department; or
          7. completing and receiving a passing score on an examination approved by the department that demonstrates the licensee's knowledge of the laws, rules and regulations of New York relating to the practice of physical therapy. Two hours of continuing education credit shall be awarded for receiving a passing score on such examination;
      3. Prohibition. Any continuing education designed for the sole purpose of maximizing profits for the practice of a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant shall not be considered by the department as acceptable continuing education.

  4. Renewal of registration. At each re-registration, licensed physical therapists and certified physical therapist assistants shall certify to the department that they have either complied with the continuing education requirements, as prescribed in this section, or are subject to an exemption or adjustment to such continuing education requirements, as prescribed in subdivision (b) of this section.
  5. Requirement for lapse in practice.
    1. A licensee returning to the practice of physical therapy after a lapse in practice, as evidenced by not being registered to practice in New York State, whose first registration date after such lapse in practice and following September 1, 2009 occurs less than three years from January 1, 2010, shall be required to complete:
      1. at least one-half hour of acceptable continuing education for each month beginning with January 1, 2010 until the beginning of the new registration period, which shall be completed for a licensee who has not lawfully practiced physical therapy continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, in the 12-month period before the beginning of the new registration period; and for the licensee who has lawfully practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, in the new registration period or at the option of the licensee in the period beginning 36 months before the commencement of the new registration period and ending at the conclusion of such new registration period; and
      2. for a licensee who has not lawfully practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, at least 12 hours of acceptable continuing education in each successive 12-month period of the new registration period; and for a licensee who has lawfully practiced physical therapy continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, the regular continuing education requirement during the new registration period.
    2. Except as prescribed in paragraph (1) of this subdivision for registrations therein specified, a licensee who returns to practice as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant after a lapse in practice in which the licensee was not registered to practice in New York State and did not lawfully practice continuously in another jurisdiction throughout the lapse period, shall be required to complete:
      1. the continuing education requirement applicable to the period of time the licensee was registered in the licensee's last registration period;
      2. at least one hour of acceptable continuing education for each month of lapsed registration up to a maximum 36 hours, which shall be completed in the 12 months before the beginning of the new registration period; and
      3. at least 12 hours of acceptable continuing education in each succeeding 12-month period, after such registration is reissued, until the next registration date.
    3. Except as prescribed in paragraph (1) of this subdivision for registrations therein specified, a licensee who returns to the practice of physical therapy or physical therapist assistant after a lapse in practice in which the licensee was not registered to practice in New York State but did lawfully practice physical therapy continuously in another jurisdiction throughout the lapse period, shall be required to complete:
      1. the continuing education requirement applicable to the period of time the licensee was registered in the licensee's last registration period; and
      2. at least one hour of acceptable continuing education for each month of lapsed registration up to a maximum of 36 hours, which shall be completed in the new registration period, or at the option of the licensee in the period beginning 36 months before the commencement of the new registration period and ending at the conclusion of the new registration period; and
      3. the regular continuing education requirement during the new registration period.
  6. Conditional registration.
    1. The department may issue a conditional registration to a licensee who attests to or admits to noncompliance with the continuing education requirements of this section, provided that such licensee meets the following requirements:
      1. the licensee agrees to remedy such deficiency within the conditional registration period:
      2. the licensee agrees to complete the regular continuing education requirement at the rate of one hour of acceptable continuing education per month during such conditional registration period; and
      3. the licensee agrees to complete additional continuing education during such conditional registration period, which the department may require to ensure the licensee's proper delivery of professional physical therapy services consistent with the licensee's practice as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.
    2. The duration of such conditional registration shall not exceed one year and shall not be renewed or extended.

  7. Licensee records. Each licensee subject to the requirements of this section shall maintain, or ensure access by the department to, a record of completed continuing education, which includes: the title of the course if a course, the type of educational activity if an educational activity, the subject of the continuing education, the number of hours of continuing education completed, the sponsor's name and any identifying number (if applicable), attendance verification if a course, participation verification if another educational activity, a copy of any article or book for which continuing education credit is claimed with proof of publication, and the date and location of the continuing education. Such records shall be retained for at least six years from the date of completion of the continuing education and shall be made available for review by the department in the administration of the requirements of this section.
  8. Measurement of continuing education study. Continuing education credit shall be granted only for acceptable continuing education, as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section. For continuing education courses, a minimum of 50 minutes shall equal one continuing education hour of credit. Continuing education credit for other educational activities shall be awarded as prescribed by the department.
  9. Sponsor approval.
    1. To be approved by the department, sponsors of continuing education to licensed physical therapists and certified physical therapist assistants in the form of courses of learning or self-study programs shall meet the requirements of either paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.
    2. The department shall deem approved as a sponsor of continuing education to licensed physical therapists or physical therapist assistants in the form of courses of learning or self-study programs:
      1. a national physical therapy organization or other professional organization, acceptable to the department, that fosters good practice in the physical therapy professions, in the nation as a whole and/or a region of the nation;
      2. a New York State physical therapy organization, acceptable to the department, that is incorporated or otherwise organized in New York State that fosters good practice in the physical therapy professions in the State of New York as a whole and/or a region of the State of New York;
      3. a national organization of jurisdictional boards of physical therapy that promotes and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice in the physical therapy professions;
      4. an entity, hospital or health facility defined in section 2801 of the Public Health Law; and
      5. a higher education institution.
    3. Department review of sponsors.
      1. The department shall conduct a review of sponsors that apply for approval to offer continuing education to licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants that are not otherwise deemed approved pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subdivision.
      2. An organization desiring to offer continuing education based upon a department review under this paragraph shall submit, with the fee as set forth in subdivision (j) of this section, an application for advance approval as a sponsor at least 90 days prior to the date of the commencement of such continuing education that documents that the organization:
        1. will offer courses of learning or self-study programs in one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education in subparagraph (c)(2)(i) of this section;
        2. is an organized educational entity, or an entity that has expertise in the professional areas that will be taught, including but not limited to, postsecondary institutions that are not already deemed approved pursuant to subparagraph (2)(v) of this subdivision;
        3. provides course instructors who are qualified to teach the courses which will be offered, including but not limited to, faculty of a physical therapy program offered by a higher education institution; or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in physical therapy, as determined by the department with assistance from the State Board for Physical Therapy, to conduct such courses;
        4. has a method of assessing the learning of participants, and describes such method; and
        5. will maintain records for at least six years from the date of completion of coursework, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, the name and curriculum vitae of the faculty, a record of attendance of licensed physical therapists or physical therapist assistants in the course if a course, a record of participation of licensed physical therapists or physical therapist assistants in the self-instructional coursework if self-instructional coursework, an outline of the course, date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course. In the event an approved sponsor discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the department and shall transfer all records as directed by the department.
      3. Sponsors that are approved by the department pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph shall be approved for a three-year term.
      4. The department may conduct site visits of, or request information from, a sponsor approved pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph to ensure compliance with such requirements, and a sponsor shall cooperate with the department in permitting such site visits and in providing such information.
      5. A determination by the department that a sponsor approved pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph is not meeting the standards set forth in this paragraph shall result in the denial or termination of the approved status of the sponsor.
  10. Fees.
    1. At the beginning of each registration period, a mandatory continuing education fee of $45 shall be collected from licensees engaged in the practice of physical therapy in New York State, except for those exempt from the requirement pursuant to subparagraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. This fee shall be in addition to the any applicable registration fees required by sections 6734 and 6740 of the Education Law.
    2. Licensees applying for a conditional registration, pursuant to the requirements of subdivision (f) of this section, shall pay a fee that is the same as and in addition to, any applicable fee for the triennial registration required by sections 6734 or 6740 of the Education Law. In addition, such licensees shall pay the $45 mandatory continuing education fee.
    3. Organizations desiring to offer continuing education to licensed physical therapists and/or certified physical therapist assistants based upon a department review, pursuant to paragraph (i)(3) of this section, shall submit an application fee of $900 with the application requesting the issuance of a permit from the department to become an approved sponsor of a formal continuing education program. A fee of $900 shall accompany an application for a three-year renewal of the permit.

    §77.11 Endorsement.

    An applicant for endorsement of a license to practice physical therapy issued by another jurisdiction shall satisfy all requirements of section 59.6 of this Title, except as herein provided.

    1. The applicant shall present evidence satisfactory to the State Board for Physical Therapy of at least three years of professional practice of physical therapy acceptable to the State Board for Physical Therapy following initial licensure and within the seven years immediately preceding application for licensure by endorsement; and
    2. In lieu of the professional study requirements set forth in section 77.1 of this Part, the applicant shall have completed an education that meets standards acceptable to the Department, which may include the standards of an acceptable accrediting agency, as defined in section 77.1(a) of this Part, in effect at the time the applicant graduated from his or her physical therapy program.
Last Updated: September 28, 2012