*EDITOR’S NOTE: Please be aware that this information was up to date as of October 2021. For the most up to date list of states participating, please visit: PTCompact.org
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 has initiated a compact licensure which has not gone into effect just yet, but they’re close!
For OTs, AOTA has initiated the process for the OT Compact, but it’s not quite as far along yet.
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 time, money and hassle of getting a full license 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.
Who is Eligible for the PT Compact License?
To be eligible, your home state MUST be a participating member of the compact. You must show proof of residency by having a drivers license in the state. This is very important and often misunderstood. You cannot simply apply for a PT/PTA license in a compact state and then become eligible to use the compact. If your home state isn’t participating yet, you aren’t eligible to use the compact. The only way you can become eligible is if your state joins, or if you move your permanent residence to a compact state and get a drivers license there.
Next, you must also 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.
Which States Are Participating?
As of now (updated October 2021), there are currently 25 states that have enacted the Compact License and are actively issuing privileges. They include:
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
The below states have enacted legislation in order to start participating, but are not yet issuing Compact License privileges:
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- South Dakota
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 is changing 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/permanent residence to a compact state.
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 few years, and we check the PT Compact map frequently to see which new states have joined!
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!
~Written by Travis Kemper, PT, DPT & updated by Whitney Eakin, PT, DPT, ATC