Written by Travis Kemper, PT, DPT
Therapy Licensure Compacts
To the physical therapy crew, licensing is already getting easier and will continue to get easier in the future thanks to the “PT Compact,” a licensure compact that is adding more states every few months.
For the SLPs reading this, ASHA is working on a compact for you as well. I am sure that OT will be soon to follow, but I couldn’t find anything definitely in the works other than a request for volunteers to get involved. The future is bright in the world of therapy licensing!
What is a Licensure Compact?
Basically, a licensure compact is an agreement between the states that once someone meets certain requirements, that person will be eligible in every state that has signed the agreement.
An example of a type of “licensure compact” you will probably be most familiar with is your driver’s license. All 50 states have agreed that my Arizona license will be legal in all 50 states for driving. Just think how insane traveling would be if you had to get a new driver’s license every time you changed states!
Similarly, for healthcare workers, a licensure compact allows those who meet certain requirements to practice in every state that’s in the agreement, without having to get a new license in that state. Nursing already has this type of agreement, and the different therapy disciplines are just now getting on board.
What Are the Benefits of a Compact License and How Does it Work?
The current method for working in each state as a PT, OT, SLP is to get licensed in each state individually. You can learn more about the typical licensure process here.
However, a Compact License will make life much easier. Once you have a Compact License, you should be able to more easily practice in each state that’s participating, without going through the hassle of getting licensed in each individual state.
The way it works is that once you have the Compact License, and are already licensed in your home state, for each additional state you would then just pay a fee depending on the state, take the jurisprudence exam (if required), and then start practicing in another compact state. It should eliminate a lot of wasted time and money getting license verifications, waiting on the mail, and then waiting on the state to process everything.
Hopefully soon I will be able to tell you how simple and effective it is from personal experience, but at this time I am waiting on Arizona to start issuing Compact License “privileges.”. (And Whitney and Jared are waiting on Virginia too!)
Who is Eligible for the PT Compact License?
To be eligible, your home state must be a participating member of the compact. You must have a valid PT or PTA license in your home state, with no active “encumbrances or disciplinary action in the last 2 years.” And last, your state has to be actively issuing Compact License “privileges.” The other state you want to work in obviously must also be a member state and must be issuing compact privileges.
So for me, my home is in Arizona, I have a license in Arizona with no complaints or disciplinary actions, and Arizona is a member state of the compact. Unfortunately for me, I cannot yet become a compact member because AZ is not “issuing compact privileges” yet. Once they begin issuing privileges, I should be able to get a Compact License and easily travel to any of the other states that are actively issuing licenses.
Which States Are Participating?
As of now (February 2019), there are currently 9 states that have enacted the Compact License and are actively issuing privileges. They include:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
The below states have enacted legislation in order to start participating, but are not yet issuing Compact License privileges:
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
The following states have introduced legislation, but the legislation has not yet been enacted and Compact Privileges are not being issued yet.
The PT Compact License will change the game for therapists seeking to work in other states, primarily traveling physical therapists. If you plan to travel for a long period of time and don’t currently live in a compact state, you may want to explore moving your tax home to a compact state. You can find more information about tax homes here.
We are very excited about the PT Compact as it should make our lives as travelers much more simple! New states have been popping up frequently throughout the last 2 years, and I check this page weekly to keep up with it and cross my fingers each week hoping AZ turns dark blue!
Hopefully SLP and OT will get on board soon with a Compact License as well!
Are you a Compact Licensed therapist already? If so, let us know your experiences! Do you have more questions about the Compact License? Feel free to reach out to us or check out PTCompact.org to learn more!