Foreign-trained applicants must submit the following items IN ADDITION TO the general requirements for licensure by exam or licensure by endorsement.
- Educational Evaluation - You must have your entry-level PT degree evaluated by a board-approved credentialing agency. The credentialer will report to the Board whether your degree is substantially equivalent to an entry-level degree in physical therapy granted by programs in the U.S., and whether you meet other specific requirements established by rule. If your education is lacking evidence of coursework required by the Board, you will have to take those courses before you can be licensed.
EXCEPTION: A degree from a foreign CAPTE-accredited PT program exempts you from the evaluation requirement. However, applicants from CAPTE-accredited programs must have a transcript and a letter of completion sent by the school directly to the Board.
NOTE: Many US Masters and DPT programs are not entry-level programs. Only graduation from an accredited entry-level PT program eliminates your foreign-trained status. Check with the school to determine whether the program is entry-level and accredited.
- English Language Proficiency Tests - All foreign-trained applicants must make these minimum scores, except for the applicants who meet one of the three exceptions listed below. We will not accept a Visascreen Certificate as proof of passing the TOEFL tests.
- Internet-based (ibt): Writing 24; Speaking 26; Reading Comprehension 21; Listening Comprehension 18.
- Computer-based TOEFL tests (cbt): TOEFL (reading/comprehension) 237; TWE (writing/essay) 5.0; TSE (speaking) 50.
- Paper based TOEFL tests (pbt): TOEFL (reading/comprehension) 580; TWE (writing/essay) 5.0; TSE (speaking) 50.
**If you took the test more than two years ago, the Board will accept certified copies of your scores from your credentialer, another licensing board, or the company that did your Visa Screen.
**The Board will accept more than one score report if it took more than one attempt to pass all parts of the TOEFL. You do not have to pass a section again if you have passed it on a previous test date.
THERE ARE 3 EXCEPTIONS TO THE TOEFL REQUIREMENT:
- You earned your PT degree in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, or you hold a degree from a foreign CAPTE-accredited program.
- You hold a current license in another state and have been licensed in the US for the past 10 years. Documentation required: verification of licensure from state(s) showing length of licensure.
- You are a citizen or permanent resident of the US, or the holder of an H1-B visa, and have attended 4 or more years of secondary (high school) or post-secondary (college/university) education in the US; a total of 96 hours is required. Documentation required: copy of passport or I-9, plus transcripts or certified letter from the school.
Having a US master's or transitional doctorate (tDPT) in Physical Therapy does not exempt you from the TOEFL requirement.
Contact ETS at 609/771-7100 (www.ets.org) to sign up for the ibtTOEFL. When you sign up for the exams, you will need to know that the Institutional Code for Texas is 9357.
Approved Credentialing Agencies
• Texas accepts educational evaluations only from the credentialers on this page.
• To be accepted by the Board, your evaluation must be done using the FSBPT Coursework Tool (CWT) (at www.fsbpt.org, select Free Resources/Regulatory Resources/Credentials Evaluation) based on the year you graduated from your entry-level PT program. If have already had an evaluation done in the past using any other criteria than the CWT, or the evaluation was done prior to 2004, your education must be evaluated again using the appropriate version of the CWT.
• Call each credentialer to find out how long it will take and how much it will cost for the evaluation and any updates. The credentialing process can take from 3-12 months, depending on many factors. Before you submit your materials to a credentialer, we recommend that you contact each credentialer for specific information about how long the process can take, what documentation is required from you and your university, and what the fees are for evaluation and for revision of an evaluation at a later date. Credentialers are independent organizations not connected to the Board. The Board has no authority over them, and does not set their fees or processing times.
• The credentialer must send a copy of your evaluation directly to the Board. We cannot comment on your evaluation until we receive our copy from the credentialer.
Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy Education (FCCPT)
124 West St, South
Alexandria, VA 22314
International Consultants of Delaware (ICD)
PO Box 8629
Philadelphia, PA 19101-8629 USA
215/222-8454 ext 603
International Credentialing Assoc. (ICA)
10801 Starkey Road
Seminole, FL 33777
International Education Research Foundation (IERF)
Post Office Box 3665
Culver City, CA 90231-3665
University of Texas at Austin
ATTN: Robert Watkins
405 W 25th St, Austin, TX 78705
1. Do I have to have a Master’s degree to get a license in Texas?
No. As stated in §329.5(d)(1) of the Board’s rules, you must have completed an educational program substantially equivalent to U.S. programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). “Substantially equivalent” means close enough in total number of coursework hours and content (as determined by a Board-approved credentialer) to assure the Board that your education was very similar in breadth and depth to that of a person with a PT degree from a CAPTE-accredited program. The PT program must be post-secondary, requiring for entry the equivalent of high school graduation in the US; must consist of at least three years of classroom instruction; and must result in the award of the first academic diploma or degree leading to professional practice in physical therapy. In most countries outside the US, the degree that leads to professional practice is still a bachelor’s degree.
2. Are there any exceptions to the rules about getting a license in Texas?
There are some parts of the rules that include exceptions or exemptions in certain cases, and those are always included in the rule. For example, the rule states that the board requires foreign-trained applicants to take the TOEFL tests, but it goes on to list the circumstances in which an applicant may not have to take the tests. If there is an exemption, it will be included in the rule itself. The Board does not make exceptions to its rules, regardless of circumstances.
3. If I come from a country where English is the native language, or if my PT program was taught in English, do I have to take the TOEFL, TSE, and TWE?
Graduates of entry-level physical therapy programs in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom do not have to submit scores for the TOEFL tests. Also, graduates from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) are exempt. If your PT degree is from a university in a country not in that list, you must take the TOEFL tests – unless you qualify for one of the exceptions listed in the rule. Please refer to §329.5 for the details.
4. Will the Board accept a TOEFL score report directly from me?
No. The Board will not accept scores from the applicant. If you are applying for a license by exam in Texas, we will only accept scores sent directly to us by ETS. If you are applying for licensure by exam, and If it has been more than two years since you took the English exams (which means ETS no longer has your scores), you must take those tests again.
If you are applying for a license by endorsement, you already have a PT license in another state. That may mean that it has been more than two years since you took the TOEFL tests. In that case we will accept score reports sent to us by an outside source, such as another state licensing board, a U.S. university, or board-approved credentialer, i.e., an entity that received your scores from ETS directly. The copy must be mailed directly to us, with an official cover letter from the entity stating that the entity received the scores from ETS directly. We will not accept a faxed copy.
7. What else should I know about the evaluation?
The Board requires that your education be evaluated using the Coursework Tool (CWT) developed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. The credentialer should use the version of the CWT that corresponds with your date of graduation from your entry-level physical therapy program. If you had an evaluation done in the past using any other criteria than the CWT, or the evaluation was done prior to 2004, your education must be evaluated again using the appropriate version of the CWT.
8. When can I get a temporary license?
You can get a temporary license ONLY if you have never taken the PT exam.
You can get a temporary license ONLY when we have received all of the other things required for the application: application, fees, evaluation, TOEFL scores, affidavits, etc. There are no exceptions to this rule.
9. Can I get a PTA license if my PT education doesn’t meet the Texas requirements?
No. An applicant for a PTA license must, in addition to all other requirements set by the board, have completed a CAPTE accredited PTA program or a CAPTE accredited PT program. Alternatively, an applicant for a PTA license may present an educational evaluation by a board-approved credentialer stating that the applicant’s education is equivalent to an education from a CAPTE accredited PT program. By law, there is no option for establishing the equivalency of an education from a foreign PTA program to a CAPTE accredited PTA program. Foreign-trained PTAs are not eligible for licensure in Texas unless they graduate from a CAPTE accredited program in the US.
10. My entry-level PT degree is from a foreign program that was or is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Am I exempt from any requirements?
The Board recognizes an entry-level degree from a foreign CAPTE-accredited program as equivalent to one issued by a US CAPTE-accredited program. Therefore, you must have your school mail a transcript directly to the Board. You do NOT need to have your education evaluated.
Also, as of November 11, 2006, applicants from ALL CAPTE-accredited programs, including programs in Quebec (or any other country where English is not the native language), are exempt from the English language proficiency requirements.
11. Is there a limit to the number of hours of General Education I can place out of with a CLEP test?
The Board adopted a rule change in March 2011 that removes the limit on the number of CLEP hours an applicant may use to meet General Education requirements. However, there is no CLEP test for Physics, so all applicants must have all required Physics with lab courses.