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Temporary License Requirements/Availability
The state of Hawaii does offer temporary licensure to individuals who have not taken and passed the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). This is a license that can be used for up to six months which allows physical therapy students who have recently graduated or any individual who is currently waiting to take the NPTE to work as a physical therapist under a supervising, licensed therapist. This is available for six months or until the time in which the individual is able to sit for the NPTE. Upon passing, the individual becomes licensed and can practice without the supervision of another therapist. If he or she is unsuccessful, the temporary license is revoked and until the individual passes the NPTE, he or she will not be allowed to practice as a physical therapist in the state of Hawaii.
The Hawaii state board of physical therapy has the right to revoke temporary licensure at anytime prior to the expiration date at six months. It is also possible to extend the license's validity to one year if good cause can be sited and approval from the board is gained.
Requirements for License
In order for an individual to retain a permanent license to practice physical therapy in the state of Hawaii, he or she must meet or submit the following criteria:
- A transcript from a CAPTE accredited physical therapy school.
In the event that an applicant obtained their physical therapy education outside of the United States, he or she will be required to submit evidence proving that he or she completed coursework and educational requirements equal to those required by the United States. This evidence must be turned in to the Hawaii physical therapy board for further review within a year of application submition. Applicants from countries whose primary language differs from english must also take an english language proficiency test indicating they can effectively communicate using english as the primary language.
- Take and pass the NPTE.
An examination waiver may be sought if the applicant can provide proof that he or she were certified by an appropriate governing body from outside of Hawaii. This normally applies to those who previously practiced in another state.
- An individual may submit a letter stating that he or she has passed the NPTE prior to the aquiesence of his or her physical therapy degree if the school (accredited by CAPTE) provides proof that the student is in the last year of physical therapy school. The license will not be issued until a transcript can be provided stating that he or she finshed all required courswork and educational requirements.
When a licensed physical therapist is supervising support personel in the state of Hawaii, the number of individuals one physical therapist may oversee at one time may not exceed three. Support personnel can include physical therapy assistants (PTAs), physical therapy students, and physical therapists holding a temporary license.
The following are the sole responsibility of the licensed supervising physical therapist:
- interpretation of referrals
- Initial patient evaluation, examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and discharge
- Creation and implementation of a plan of care and goal writing
- Determination of the specific aspects of treatment that can be delegated to support personnel and those which should be carried out by a licensed therapist
- Re-examination and change of treatment plan
- Creation of discharge plan and documentation of patient discharge status
- Oversight of all services provided to patient while in therapy setting.
When unable to be physically on-site, the supervising therapist must be reachable by some form of telecommunication and have the ability to be physically on-site within two hours following communication.
A physical therapy assistant may perform manual therapy but may not perform thrust joint mobilization techniques or spinal and peripheral joint manipulation/mobilization.
Physical therapy students and temporarily licensed physical therapists may perform manual therapy, including any manipulation/mobilization under the supervision of the overseeing therapist.
Physical Therapy Students
Within the state of Hawaii, student physical therapists can practice under a licensed physical therapist as long as they are enrolled in a program accredited by CAPTE. Restrictions limiting the scope of a student physical therapist are more likely to come from a patients insurance provider than from the practice act. Because of this, it is important to be aware of insurance regulations when treating patients in various states.
It is the responsibility of each individual therapist to complete and submit an application for license renewal by the required renewal date. All fees must be paid in full before renewal will be granted.
Does the Act appear restrictive? Why/Why not?
This act does not appear restrictive as it does not limit what licensed physical therapists can do in this state as long as it is within the "scope of physical therapy."
Is there anything unusual about this act?
There are two states in which, until recently, physcial therapy assistants are not required to pass a licensure exam in order to practice. These two states are Colorado and Hawaii. It does not necessarily make Hawaii's practice act unusual but it is a fact that is unique to this state. 
As stated above, Colorado has, in the recent past, not required licensure of PTAs. This changed in 2011 when licensure became required for PTAs. 
References will automatically be added here, see adding references tutorial.
- Hawaii administrative rules. Department of commerce and consumer affairs: Physical therapy.http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/pvl/har/har_110-c.pdf (accessed 23 Apr 2012).
- Chapter 436B: Professional and vocational licensing act. http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/pvl/hrs/hrs_pvl_436b.pdf (accessed 24 Apr 2012).
- American physcial therapy association. Physical therapy assistant (PTA) education overview. http://www.apta.org/PTAEducation/Overview/ (accessed 23 Apr 2012).
- Colorado revised statutes. http://www.dora.state.co.us/Physical-Therapy/Statute.pdf (accessed 24 Apr 2012).
Disclaimer: Informational Content is assimilated from the state practice act is a resource only and should not be considered a substitute for the content within the state practice act. All state practice acts can change and it is recommended that you refer to the original resource in the link above.