South Carolina

United States Physical Therapy Practice Acts

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Temporary License Requirements/Availability

There is no mention of temporary license requirements or availability in the State Practice Act or the State Regulations therefore temporary licenses appear not to be permitted. 

 Requirements for License  [1]

SECTION 40-45-220. Qualifications of applicants for licensure; burden to demonstrate eligibility.

(1)(a) be a graduate of a physical therapy educational program approved by the board;

(b) pass an examination administered or approved by the board; and

(c) speak the English language as a native language or demonstrate an effective proficiency of the English language in the manner prescribed by and to the satisfaction of the board; or

(2)(a) provide satisfactory evidence that his or her education is equivalent to the requirements of physical therapists educated in United States educational programs as determined by the board. If the board determines that an applicant's education is not equivalent, it may require completion of additional course work before proceeding with the application process;

(b) speak the English language as a native language or demonstrate an effective proficiency of the English language in the manner prescribed by and to the satisfaction of the board;

(c) pass an examination administered or approved by the board;

(d) submit evidence satisfactory to the board on a form approved by the board of not less than one thousand clinical practice hours under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist in this State or in a state with licensure requirements equal to or more stringent than this State.

SECTION 40-45-230. Notarized application form; fee; mastery of English language; submission of transcripts; accommodations for disabled applicants; time period for completion of process; examination requirements.

(A) An applicant must submit with an application for licensure:

(1) a completed notarized application form;

(2) the applicable fee in the form of a check or money order;

(3) legal documentation indicating a name change, if applicable;

(4) proof that the applicant can speak, write, and be tested in the English language if English is not the native language of country of origin.

(B) An applicant must arrange to have the official transcript sent directly to the board from the applicant's physical therapy school. An applicant who is a new graduate of an approved school applying for licensure by examination may submit verification directly from the applicant's physical therapy school with the registrar's seal stating that graduation requirements have been met if the official transcript is not yet available. A final transcript indicating the degree and date the degree was conferred must be on file before a permanent license may be issued.

(C) An applicant who is a graduate of a school that is not approved who is applying for licensure either by examination or endorsement must submit all items under subsection (A), must arrange to have an official transcript sent directly to the board, and also must submit an evaluation of educational credentials report.

(D) An applicant with a documented disability may request special accommodations to take the examination.

(E) An application for licensure must be completed within one year or the application and credentials must be brought up to date and resubmitted with payment of the applicable fee.

(F) An application must be received by the board in a completed form, and an applicant must be determined by the board to be eligible to take the examination before the applicant can register for the examination. An eligible applicant must receive notification regarding registration procedures.

(G) If an applicant fails the examination, whether or not taken in South Carolina, the applicant may take the examination a second time on payment of the examination fee and completion of an official application. If the applicant fails the examination for a second time, the applicant, in addition to the requirements for the previous examination, must take courses the board may require and furnish evidence of completing these courses.

(H) No person may be licensed under this chapter if the person has failed the examination three or more times, whether or not the exam was taken in South Carolina.

(I) The grade required for passing the examination must be established by the board.

SECTION 40-45-240. Licensure without examination

(A) The board may license as a physical therapist or as a physical therapist assistant, without examination, on the payment of the applicable fee, an applicant who is a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant licensed under the laws of another state or territory, if the requirements for licensure in that state or territory were at the date of licensure equivalent to the requirements in effect at the time of application in this State.

(B) An applicant licensed in another state applying for licensure by endorsement must:

(1) submit a completed notarized application form;

(2) submit the applicable fee in the form of a check or money order;

(3) legal documentation indicating a name change, if applicable;

(4) have the official transcript sent directly to the board from the applicant's physical therapy school;

(5) submit an evaluation of educational credentials if a graduate of a nonapproved school;

(6) have the examination scores reported directly to the board from the Interstate Reporting Service or other recognized examination service;

(7) submit an official verification of a current license;

(8) submit proof that the applicant can speak, write, and be tested in the English language if English is not the native language of country of origin;

(9) submit evidence on a form approved by the board of one thousand clinical practice hours under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist if the applicant is a graduate of a nonapproved school.

SECTION 40-45-250. Time period licenses are valid; renewals, fees, and penalties; continuing education requirements; inactive status

(A) A license is valid for up to two years and must be renewed biennially. However, a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant who first becomes licensed in the last quarter of the calendar year must be issued a license for the next licensing period.

(B) Before January first in every other year, a licensed physical therapist and physical therapist assistant shall renew the license and pay the renewal fee, whether or not a notice is received. If a license is not renewed or postmarked before January first, the board may charge a late renewal penalty as provided for in regulation beginning January first, for up to thirty days, for every day that the license is not renewed or postmarked.

(C) If a licensee fails to renew or postmark a renewal before January thirty-first the license automatically lapses. A person who fails to renew a license and practices as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant after December thirty-first is practicing without a license and is subject to the penalties provided in this chapter.

(D) As a condition of license renewal, a licensee must satisfactorily complete 3.0 continuing education units each biennium as provided for in regulation and must submit proof of completion on a form approved by the board.

(E) Notwithstanding subsection (H)(1), if a person's license lapses because the person did not satisfy the continuing education requirements of subsection (D), the person must comply with subsection (D) before the board may renew the license.

(F) A licensee who does not wish to renew an active license may select inactive status on the renewal form and return the form to the board.

(G) A licensee shall notify the board of any change in name or mailing address within thirty days. If a name change on a license is requested, the licensee must submit legal documentation indicating the name change.

(H) A physical therapist or physical therapist assistant whose license has lapsed or has been inactive for:

(1) fewer than three years may reactivate the license by applying to the board, submitting proof of completing 1.5 continuing education units for each year the license has lapsed or has been inactive, and paying the reactivation fee;

(2) three or more years is required to complete supervised clinical practice hours, additional education, and completion of an examination as provided in regulation;

(3) fewer than three years and who has active status outside of this State may reinstate the license by submitting proof of completing 1.5 continuing education units for each year the license has lapsed, or has been inactive, official verification of a current license, and paying the reactivation fee;

(4) three or more years and who has active status outside of this State may reinstate the license by submitting evidence satisfactory to the board of not less than one thousand hours of out-of-state employment within the last year, official verification of a current license, and paying the reactivation fee.

 

SECTION 40-45-270. Persons exempt from licensure requirement.  
The following are not required to be licensed:

(3) a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant licensed in another state who is teaching or participating in special physical therapy education projects, demonstrations, or courses in this State;

(4) a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant solely employed by the United States Armed Services, United States Public Health Service, Veterans Administration, or another federal agency and practicing within the scope of employment.


101-04. General Licensing Provisions for Physical Therapists.[2]

An applicant for licensure as a physical therapist must:

(1) be a graduate of a physical therapy educational program approved by the Board; or, if foreign educated, must have a credentials evaluation by a Board approved credentialing evaluation agency that determines the applicant's education is substantially equivalent to the education of physical therapists educated in an accredited entry level program as determined by the Board. To determine substantial equivalency, the approved credentialing evaluation agency shall use the appropriate Course Work Tool ("CWT") adopted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The appropriate CWT means the CWT in place at the time the foreign educated physical therapist graduated from their physical therapy program;

(2) submit an application on a form approved by the Board, along with the required fee;

(3) pass an examination approved by the Board; and

(4) submit proof of not less than one thousand (1000) clinical practice hours under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist on a form approved by the Board if the applicant is not a graduate of an approved school.

HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 24, Issue No. 5, eff May 26, 2000. Amended by State Register Volume 33, Issue No. 2, eff February 27, 2009.
101-06. Reactivation of Inactive or Lapsed Licenses for individuals who do not meet the statutory criteria for active licensure in another state.

(1) A physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA) whose license has lapsed for more than three (3) years may be granted a provisional license to obtain the appropriate supervised clinical practice hours and must demonstrate one thousand (1000) hours of qualified supervised practice before the license can be reactivated.

(2) A PT or PTA whose license has lapsed for more than five (5) years must also demonstrate successful completion of seventy-five (75) hours of continuing education in organized programs of learning (to include a workshop or symposium) which contribute directly to the professional competency of the licensee and meet the criteria of Regulation 101-07(3).

(3) A PT or PTA whose license has lapsed for more than ten (10) years must also successfully pass an examination approved by the Board.

 

Supervision  [1]

SECTION 40-45-300. Delegation and supervision of physical therapy tasks; responsibility for care; supervisor to be approved by board.

(A) A physical therapist is professionally and legally responsible for patient care given by a physical therapist assistant, physical therapy aide, physical therapist student, or physical therapist assistant student under the physical therapist's supervision. A physical therapist may delegate to and supervise selected acts, tasks, or procedures which fall within the practice of physical therapy but do not exceed the education or training of a physical therapist assistant, physical therapy aide, physical therapist student, or physical therapist assistant student.

(B) A physical therapist assistant shall function under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist. A person licensed under this chapter as a physical therapist assistant shall perform duties only after the initial evaluation of the patient is conducted by a licensed physical therapist. A patient plan of care may not be altered without the prior written, dated, and signed approval of a licensed physical therapist. A patient must be reevaluated and the plan of care must be reapproved by a physical therapist licensed in this State every eighth treatment day or every sixty calendar days, whichever comes first. The board may establish in regulation the number of physical therapist assistants a physical therapist may concurrently supervise except in hospitals licensed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control which may determine their own staffing ratios.

(C) A physical therapist student shall function under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

(D) A physical therapist assistant student and a physical therapy aide shall function under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist or licensed physical therapist assistant. The physical therapist is ultimately responsible for the licensed physical therapist assistant, the student physical therapist assistant, and the physical therapy aide.

(E) A supervisor must be a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who has been approved by the board to supervise provisional licensees, students, and aides based on the supervisor's training and work experience, which must be relevant to the work of those under the supervision and must be sufficiently extensive to enable the supervisor to direct and evaluate the work of a supervisee.
 

SECTION 40-45-280. Physical therapy records; responsibility for records; contents; discharge notes.

(1) The initial evaluation which is a written report signed and dated by the physical therapist performing the evaluation. An initial evaluation by a provisional licensed physical therapist must be reviewed, cosigned, and dated by the on-site supervising physical therapist;
 (3) Clinical notes written by a provisional physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant licensee must be reviewed, cosigned, and dated by the on-site supervising physical therapist every eighth treatment day or every sixty calendar days, whichever comes first;
 (4) a discharge note which is a statement of the patient's status at the last treatment session as written, signed, and dated by the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant rendering service. All discharge notes written by a physical therapist student, physical therapist assistant student, and provisional licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are to be reviewed, cosigned, and dated by the supervising physical therapist.


101-09. Supervision Guidelines.  [2]

It is recommended that a physical therapist should not concurrently supervise more than three (3) full-time equivalent physical therapist assistant positions. The Board, in its discretion, may permit supervision of more than three (3) full-time equivalent physical therapist assistant positions, for a short, defined period of time, if a situation arises in a physical therapy treatment setting that makes compliance impossible. Relief from this supervision ratio is allowable if there is no immediate risk to public health or safety as determined by the Board.
 


  

Physical Therapy Students  [1]

SECTION 40-45-270. Persons exempt from licensure requirement.

The following are not required to be licensed:

(1) a "PT student" who is a student enrolled in a board-approved physical therapist program while engaged in completing the clinical education requirement for graduation under the on-site supervision of a physical therapist who is licensed to practice in this State

SECTION 40-45-280. Physical therapy records; responsibility for records; contents; discharge notes.

(B) Only a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, provisional licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, or student physical therapist or physical therapist assistant shall document in a physical therapy record.

(3) clinical notes that must be signed and dated by the person rendering treatment. All clinical notes written by a physical therapist student or physical therapist assistant student are to be reviewed, cosigned, and dated by the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who is supervising the appropriate level student.

All discharge notes written by a physical therapist student, physical therapist assistant student, and provisional licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant are to be reviewed, cosigned, and dated by the supervising physical therapist.


SECTION 40-45-300. Delegation and supervision of physical therapy tasks; responsibility for care; supervisor to be approved by board.

(C) A physical therapist student shall function under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist.

(D) The physical therapist is ultimately responsible for the licensed physical therapist assistant, the student physical therapist assistant, and the physical therapy aide.
(E) A supervisor must be a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who has been approved by the board to supervise provisional licensees, students, and aides based on the supervisor's training and work experience, which must be relevant to the work of those under the supervision and must be sufficiently extensive to enable the supervisor to direct and evaluate the work of a supervisee.



 

Continued Competence [2]

Continued Competence
101-07. Continuing Education.

Continuing education requirements become effective upon approval by the Governor and must first be reported beginning in 2002 and thereafter.

(1) Every licensed physical therapist and physical therapist assistant shall earn 3.0 CEUs or thirty (30) hours of acceptable continuing education credit per biennium year.

(2) Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed in South Carolina will not have a CEU requirement for the first biennium renewal period in which they are initially licensed. Graduates of a Board approved educational program and initially licensed are said to have met the CEU requirement for the first biennium renewal year.

(3) Standards for approval of continuing education. A continuing education activity which meets all of the following criteria is appropriate for continuing education credit:

(a) it constitutes an organized program of learning (including a workshop or symposium) which contributes directly to the professional competency of the licensee;

(b) it pertains to common subjects or other subject matters which integrally relate to the practice of physical therapy;

(c) it is conducted by individuals who have a special education, training, and experience by reason of which said individuals should be considered experts concerning the subject matter of the program and is accompanied by a paper, manual, or outline which substantively pertains to the subject matter of the program and reflects program schedule, including:

(1) fulfilling stated program goals or objectives, or both;

(2) providing proof of attendance to include original certificate with participant's name, date, place, course title, presenter(s), and number of program contact hours; and

(d) the Board will not grant prior approval but each licensee will be responsible for ensuring that each course submitted for continuing education credit meets these standards.

(4) The following courses are automatically approved for required contact hours:

(a) APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) and SCAPTA (South Carolina American Physical Therapy Association) sponsored courses, APTA home study courses, and courses sponsored by other state professional physical therapy associations;

(b) college course work which is judged germane to the practice of physical therapy and is conducted or sponsored by accredited institutions of higher education;

(c) AMA (American Medical Association) continuing education courses that involve physical therapy;

(d) in-service hours totaling 0.4 CEUs maximum per biennium;

(e) CPR of 0.4 CEUs per biennium;

(f) any appropriate physical therapy continued competency tools developed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and/or the American Physical Therapy Association; the Board will assign contact hour credit to each appropriate tool on a case by case basis;

(g) achievement or renewal of any Clinical Specialist Certification through the American Physical Therapy Association will be considered as meeting the education requirement for the entire licensure biennium in which the certification or renewal is received; and

(h) such other providers as approved by the Board.

(5) Unacceptable activities for continuing education include, but are not limited to:

(a) presenting at professional meetings, conferences, or conventions;

(b) teaching or supervision;

(c) participation in or attending case conferences, grand rounds, informal presentations, etc.;

(d) non-educational, entertainment, or recreational meetings or activities;

(e) committee meetings, holding of office, serving as an organizational delegate, or fulfilling editorial responsibilities (publications);

(f) meetings for purposes of policy-making;

(g) visiting exhibits or poster presentations;

(h) informal self study, e.g. self selected reading, participation in a journal club, listening to audio tapes; and

(i) published research.

(6) Report Requirements:

(a) reports shall be submitted on forms available from the Board. The Board shall routinely distribute its continuing education report forms with the biennial renewal notice. By signing the biennial report of continuing education, the licensee signifies that the report is true and accurate; and

(b) licensees shall retain original corroborating documentation of their continuing education courses and official transcripts of college course work with passing grade of C or better for no less than three (3) years from the beginning date of the licensure period.

(7) Audit of continuing competency:

(a) each licensee shall be responsible for maintaining sufficient records in a format determined by the Board;

(b) these records shall be subject to a random audit by the Board to assure compliance with this section; and

(c) the Board may audit a percentage of the continuing education reports.

(8) In the event of denial, in whole or part, of credit for continuing education activity, the licensee shall have the right to request a hearing in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.

HISTORY: Added by State Register Volume 24, Issue No. 5, eff May 26, 2000. Amended by State Register Volume 33, Issue No. 2, eff February 27, 2009.
ARTICLE 4.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

101-08. Fees.

(A) Fees are as follows:

(1) Application fee$120.00

(2) Biennial license renewal

(a) physical therapist$100.00

(b) physical therapist assistant$ 90.00

(3) Late Renewal Processing Fee$150.00

(4) Deactivation$ 50.00

(5) Reactivation (inactive to active)$150.00 plus renewal fee

(6) Reinstatement (lapsed to active)$300.00 plus renewal fee

(B) A check which is presented to the Board as payment for a fee which the Board is permitted to charge under this chapter and which is returned unpaid may be cause for denial of a license or for imposing a sanction authorized under this chapter or Section 40-1-50(G).

(C) The Board may direct applicants to pay an examination fee directly to a third party who has contracted to administer the examination.

(D) Fees are nonrefundable and may be prorated in order to comply with a biennial schedule.

Does the Act appear restrictive? Why/Why not?

For the most part, these acts are not restrictive; however, there does not appear to be any temporary license availability, and a physical therapy student must pass the national licensure exam within 3 attempts or an individual cannot practice in the state of South Carolina.  It is worth noting that an individual can obtain a license without completion of a physical therapy degree as long as they meet the criteria as stated in SECTION 40-45-220. The applicant must: (a) provide satisfactory evidence that his or her education is equivalent to the requirements of physical therapists educated in United States educational programs as determined by the board. If the board determines that an applicant's education is not equivalent, it may require completion of additional course work before proceeding with the application process;

(b) speak the English language as a native language or demonstrate an effective proficiency of the English language in the manner prescribed by and to the satisfaction of the board;

(c) pass an examination administered or approved by the board;

(d) submit evidence satisfactory to the board on a form approved by the board of not less than one thousand clinical practice hours under the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist in this State or in a state with licensure requirements equal to or more stringent than this State.

Is there anything unusual about this act?  [1]

SECTION 40-45-320. Construction of chapter; rights to payment of certain health plan benefits; effect on contractual agreements requiring doctor's prescription for therapy services; effect on workers' compensation.

(B) Nothing contained in this chapter may be construed to limit, enlarge, or otherwise affect any contractual agreement now in effect or entered into after the effective date of this act which provides that a person obtaining physical therapy services must have a prescription from a doctor of medicine licensed under Chapter 47 or from a person licensed to practice dentistry under Chapter 25 in order to be entitled to receive reimbursement for these therapy services.

In order to practice in South Carolina, a physical therapy student has only 3 chances to pass the national licensure exam.  If a student fails for a third time, they are not eligible to work in South Carolina even if they eventually pass the national licensure exam.
 

Recent Related Research (from Pubmed)

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References

[3] 


[2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations; [cited 2012 Apr 19]. Physical Therapy Practice Act. Available from: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t40c045.php.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations; [cited 2012 Apr 19]. Physical Therapy Regulations. Available from: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/coderegs/c101.php.
  3. South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations; [cited 2012 Apr 19]. Physical Therapy Practice Act. Available from: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t40c045.php.

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.