Oklahoma

United States Physical Therapy Practice Acts

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Temporary License Requirements/Availability[1] 

Section 887.10  Allows for a temporary permit without examination
An application must be sent to the Board along with a fee required by the Practice Act.  The Board can issue a temporary permit to practice physical therapy or to practice as a physical therapist assistant for a period of no longer than one year to an individual who meets  the requirements to take the examination.

The Board has the right to shorten the temporary permit for less than one year.  The permit will expire when notice is given that the applicant has or hasn’t passed the exam.

Requirements for License[1]     

887.6 Qualifications for License

Any physical therapist or physical therapist assistant wanting to practice in Oklahoma must apply to the Board in writing.  The form is prescribed by the Board and will request infomration regarding the applicants qualifications to take the examination.  A fee will accompany the form and is nonrefundable.

Physical Therapists
An applicant must be of good moral character and pass the board examination regulated by the State Board of Medical Licensure. This written examination will test the knowledge of the individual on the following:
• Basic and clinical sciences as they relate to physical therapy theory and physical therapy procedures
• Examinations held within the state at least once per year, time and place is determined by the Board
An applicant must have graduated from a school of physical therapy which is approved by a national accrediting body recognized by the Board.

Physical Therapists Licensed in another state

The Board can issue a license to an individual who is licensed by another state in the U.S. followed by an application to the board. 

Physical Therapist Assistant
 
Applicant must have graduated from an approved program for physical therapist assistant and graduated from an approved program which consists of at least a two year program approved by the national accrediting body which is recognized by the Board.  The course of study should include courses in anatomical, biological and physical sciences.

Physical Therapists outside of the U.S.
A physical therapist who has been educated outside of the U.S must meet the following requirements
• Be of good moral character
• Completed application
• Provide evidence that their education is equivalent to the requirements of physical therapists in the U.S.
If the Board determines that their application is denied, additional course work may be needed. 

Supervision[2] 

435: 20-7-1
A physical therapist will not supervise more than four licensed personnel for licensure.  Only three of those four individuals may be physical therapist assistants or applicants for PTA licensure.  Any of these four may be applicants for the PT licensure. 
A PT must provide direct or general supervision to the PTA and must be listed as the supervising PT. 
If there is a setting where there are numerous PT’s and PTA’s then the ratio of physical therapists to physical therapists assistants cannot exceed the ratio of one PT to three PTA’s.

The PTA is the only individual allowed to assist in selected treatment interventions.  A PTA is supervised by one PT or a group of PT working in the same setting.  A PTA cannot be supervised by any other profession
The PT is responsible at all times for the actions of the physical therapist assistant when treating the patient.  When deciding if a PTA can provide appropriate treatment the following guidelines are important to consider: PTA's experience and skill level, patient/client criticality and complexity, setting in which the care is being delivered, predictability of the patient/client outcomes, and the needed frequency of re-examination.

A PT cannot delegate to a less qualified individual that requires the appropriate expertise.

A PTA can work under a PT’s direct or general supervision.  A PTA can document care without a co-signature of the PT. 
The PT cannot delegate the same level of duties to the physical therapy aide.  The aide needs to work directly under the PT or PTA. 

Therapist supervising students could not be located in the Practice Act.

Physical Therapy Students[2]

435:20-3-5

Applicants unable to pass the examination after first attempt:

  • May retake the exam one additional time without re-application for licensure
  • Exam must occur within six months of the Boards notification of the first failure 
  • Applicant may work under the directsupervision of a licensed PT for no longer than six months


Applicant unable to pass the examination after two attempts

  • Must meet with the Committee and submit a new application to the Board 
  • Present evidence to the Board of performing more clinical training and coursework
  • No longer able to practice 


Applicant unable to pass the examination after three attempts:

  • Applicant not eligible to re-apply for examination in Oklahoma


Applicants may re-take the examination in another state, and all score must be submitted to the Oklahoma Board.  

Temporary licensure is allowed but there are restrictions.  Please read under temporary licensure section for more information.

Continued Competence[2] 

435:20-9-2

Physical therapists are required to show proof of forty approved contact hours every two years.
Physical therapist assistants are required to show proof of thirty contact hours every two years.
• Three of the required hours must contain ethics education which includes the APTA Code of Ethics and APTA Guide for Professional Conduct.

Evidence of a continuing education experience must be submitted to the Board if requested are as followed: 
• Date, place, course title, schedule, and presenters
• Number of contact hours for activity
• Proof of completion, such as abstracts, certificates of attendance, or other certification
of completion.

The PT Committee can conduct random audits of continuing education records.

Penalties for failing to submit the appropriate number of required hours include: burdened with additional continuing education contact hours, probation of license, suspension of license, or removal of license.

Does the Act appear restrictive? Why/Why not?[3]

The Oklahoma state practice act appears to be restrictive because it is one of the few states left that only allows direct access but for evaluations.  The therapist is allowed to perform an evaluation but that is the extent of direct access because they must refer back to physician before treatment can occur. 

Is there anything unusual about this act?[1]

In order to gain licensure an applicant must have good moral character but no where does it specifically state what is required to measure good moral character.

Recent Related Research (from Pubmed)

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References

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 State of Oklahoma Physical Therapy Practice Act for Licensing Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants. http://www.okmedicalboard.org/download/288/PTLAW.pdf (accessed 17 April 2012)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Oklahoma Administrative Code Title 435. State board of medical licensure and supervision physical therapists and assistants. http://www.okmedicalboard.org/physical_therapists/download/456/PTRULES.pdffckLR(accessed 17 April 2012)
  3. Elliott, J Battles loom for physical therapy in state capitals nationwide. PT in motion April 2009fckLRhttp://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/2009/4/GovernmentAffairs/

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.