What You Should Know About the PT Compact

As a physical therapist, you have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country to work with patients. This can be a great way to see new places and have new experiences while still doing the job you love. With the expansion of the PT Compact, physical therapy providers now have more options for traveling and delivering patient care.

In order to practice physical therapy in the United States, a PT must have a state license. Each state has its own requirements for licensure, which can vary widely from state to state when it comes to cost and timeline.

The PT Compact streamlines the process of getting licensed in multiple states and makes it easier for PTs to practice across the country. It offers a solution to benefit both providers and patients. It also increases the mobility of eligible physical therapists and assistants.

What is the PT Compact?

The goal is to improve patient access to physical therapy services by giving participants a faster, less expensive alternative to traditional licensure. The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, informally known as the PT Compact, creates a way for PTs and PTAs to practice or work in multiple states.

A Compact privilege is the authorization to work in member states other than your home state. This arrangement grants member states access to more physical therapy services for the public. For PTs and PTAs working within the PT Compact, it increases where they can practice.

Compact Requirements

Currently, the Compact is available to PTs and PTAs who meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the Compact Commission. To be eligible, PTs and PTAs must have graduated from an accredited physical therapy program, passed their examination, and be licensed.

  • You must hold a current, valid PT or PTA license in your home state of residence.
  • Your license must be in good standing and have no active encumbrances or disciplinary action in the last two years.
  • Your home state and the state you want to work in must both be actively accepting and issuing PT Compact privileges.
  • For more information on getting your privileges, check out this step-by-step guide.

Expanding the Compact

The Compact was officially enacted in 2017 and has steadily expanded across the country. Although it is not available in all states, the Physical Therapy Compact Commission (PTCC) is working to expand its reach. Below are the latest data points regarding the PT Compact’s expansion, as of September 2022.

Facts About the PT Compact

  • Over 70% of the country is part of the Compact or taking steps to become member states. 
  • 25 states are currently issuing Compact privileges.
  • 8 states have enacted legislation but are not yet issuing or accepting Compact privileges.
  • 3 states have introduced legislation but have not yet enacted that legislation.

If you are a PT or PTA who is interested in the Compact, check to see if your state is a participating member. The PT Compact States Map is regularly updated. States actively issuing and accepting Compact privileges include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Advantages of the PT Compact

Applying for a license in another state traditionally involves a lot more time, multiple steps, and lots of documentation in order to submit. The process for the PT Compact is simpler than getting traditional state licensure and can take as little as ten minutes to register on their website. It can take weeks or months to be processed. In some states, you need to complete the Jurisprudence requirements before finalizing your PT Compact application, but generally, it’s an easy and streamlined process to be able to practice in multiple states.

Gaining Compact privileges is also typically less expensive than the traditional state licensure process. Compact privilege fees vary by state, but on average the fees are much lower than the license fees for the same state. There is a $45 Commission fee and an optional state fee charged. Over half of the current Compact states offer fee waivers to military members, with most extending those waivers to military spouses and veterans.

Travel Physical Therapy Jobs

PTs and PTAs play a critical role in helping patients improve their quality of life. Expanding the PT Compact for travel physical therapists and assistants allows for more accessible patient care and for providers to have more job opportunities.

If you are a physical therapy professional looking to expand your options, whether licensed in a current PT Compact member state or not, contact us today to discuss your career goals and learn more about travel jobs.