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- Applicant submits online licensure application and pays fee ($120).
- Online sign waiver and FBI background check fee ($55).
- FBI background check fingerprint card and waiver will be mailed to the address on file
- Applicant must mail completed fingerprint card and signed waivers together to the Board Office.
- The board office will review fingerprint card for accuracy and forward to DCI for processing or return to the applicant if incomplete
- FBI background check report may require the board to request additional information from the applicant.
- Primary verification of transcripts, passing exam score, other state licensure verification.
- Final review of documents to determine if applicant has met licensure requirements.
- Board office issues a license and mails it to the address on file, typically within two weeks of receipt of the final required document.
The Iowa Legislature enacted law to participate in the licensure compact for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, which became effective July 1, 2018.
The Physical Therapy Compact is an agreement between member states to improve access to physical therapy services for the public by increasing the mobility of eligible physical therapy providers to work in multiple states. A Compact Privilege is the authorization to work in a Compact member state other than your home state. To be eligible for a Compact Privilege, you must hold an active PT or PTA license in your home state and meet other eligibility criteria, such as having no disciplinary action against your license for at least two years. When eligibility is verified and all fees are paid, you receive the Compact Privilege and may begin legally working in the other remote state.
- Get Iowa privileges through the Physical Therapy Compact website. The process usually takes no more than one to three business days with proper identification.
- Verify PT Compact privilege holders at the Physical Therapy Compact website.
- As long as you are not living in Iowa, you may work in Iowa with your PT Compact
privilege. If you move to Iowa, then you must apply for licensure in Iowa and notify the
PT Compact of your home state change of address within thirty (30) days.
The Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact allows eligible licensed occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants an alternative method for providing services in other member states. Iowa privileges may not be available until January 2024 as the OT Compact is just beginning across the nation.
Alternate Approval Pathway
Beginning November 14, 2019, the Iowa Board of Physical and Occupational Therapy (PTOT Board) will participate in the Alternate Approval Pathway (AAP) for applicants from accredited programs for licensure by examination. The AAP will separate the functions of exam registration/approval from licensure application/issuance. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) will have the final authority to determine who is eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) with input from the schools, and the PTOT Board will concentrate on the requirements for issuing a license once the NPTE is passed by an applicant. The processing step of the PTOT Board verifying eligibility to FSBPT once all of the required licensure documentation has been received will be eliminated.
The AAP will not affect the current procedure for processing foreign-educated applicants.Back to top
It may take up to eight weeks of total processing time for us to approve your application.
Since joining the PT Compact, effective January 2019 the Board must complete a background check prior to issuing a license. We encourage all applicants to apply as soon as possible as the entire process can take up to eight weeks or longer depending on the outcome of the FBI background check.
New graduates should apply well before graduation to complete the background check process in a timely manner. Use an address where you can receive the packet of waivers and fingerprint cards. This should arrive within two weeks after you submit your application.
Most applicants will receive a license mailed to the address listed on the application within two weeks after the Board office reviews the final required document. Usually that document is the transcript, verification, passing exam score, or FBI background check report.Back to top
Licensees may renew your license 60 days before the current expiration date. Multiple renewal notifications will be sent if the license has not yet been renewed. Licensees are encouraged to renew early to avoid a late fee or lapse in licensure.
All continuing education requirements must be completed prior to submitting your application for renewal.Back to top
Laws & Rules
Definitions, requirements, standards, criteria and other important specific to this profession.
Laws are contained in the Iowa Code. They are enacted by the Iowa Legislature and provide statutory authority to the professional licensure boards.
The professional licensure boards adopt rules to interpret and implement the Iowa Code. Administrative rules have the force and effect of law.
- Chapter 200 -- Licensure of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 201 -- Practice of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 202 -- Discipline for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 203 -- Continuing Education for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants
- Chapter 206 -- Licensure of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 207 -- Continuing Education for Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 208 -- Practice of Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 209 -- Discipline for Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants
- Chapter 5 -- Fees