Practice Alerts

Laws, rules and regulations, not Alerts, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Alert may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Alert.

Alert 10: Competence to Practice as a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant

There are statutory requirements that require physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA) to complete 36 hours of continuing education activities as a condition for continued registration of a license (see www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt/ptcenotice.htm).

The licensee should assess and renew one’s competence throughout his or her career through self-evaluation, supervision and consultation.

One can expand his or her knowledge and skills through continuing education and training. Many specialty credentials and employment situations have specific continuing education requirements. For instance, independent contractors who wish to work as early intervention providers must satisfy certain experience requirements, and all early intervention providers, whether working as independent contractors or as agency employees, are subject to Department of Health professional development requirements. Be sure to document all activities.

Before using an intervention not included in professional training for the practice of physical therapy but included in the scope of practice (e.g., Feldenkrais), a licensee should enroll in and successfully complete programs of study in recognized institutions and/or with recognized authorities to ensure competency.

PTs licensed in other states may teach courses involving clinical demonstrations [interpreted to mean treatment on patients/clients] in connection with a program of basic clinical education, graduate education, or post-graduate education in an approved school of physical therapy or in its affiliated clinical facility or health care agency, or before a group of licensed PTs who are members of a professional society.

Out-of-state PTs are free to learn from clinical continuing education courses in New York State, provided that the out-of-state licensee does not actually perform physical therapy treatment on a patient/client.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
Education Law, Section 6509(2) – incompetence and negligence
Regents Rules, Part 29.1(b)(9) – practicing beyond one's competency
Last Updated: August 11, 2016