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Physical Therapist Assistant

National Board Exam

On successful completion of the PTA program, students are awarded an associate of science degree in PTA and are eligible to apply for the National Physical Therapy Examination, which must be passed and a state license number issued before being eligible to practice.

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy develops and administers (NPTE) for both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in 53 jurisdictions – the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These high-stakes exams assess the basic entry-level competence for first time licensure or registration as a PT or PTA within the 53 jurisdictions. http://www.fsbpt.org/ExamCandidates.aspx

PTA students are required to comply with legal, moral, and legislative standards in accordance with The Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy. http://www.sos.state.ga.us/plb/pt/

In addition, the Board requires all applicants for licensure to pass an examination on the "Laws Governing the Practice of Physical Therapy in Georgia" and "Rules of the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy."

It is important for PTA students to be knowledgeable of all Georgia Board of Physical Therapy Regulations regarding the review of candidates for eligibility both for initial and continuing licensure. Questions on the application for licensure address these rules. Application to take the examination may be denied based on this review.

As stated in the law, 43-33-18. Refusal to grant or restore licenses; discipline of licensees; suspension, revocation, or restriction of licenses.

  1. The board shall have authority to refuse to grant or restore a license to an applicant or to discipline a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant licensed under this chapter or any antecedent law upon a finding by the board that the licensee or applicant has:
    1. Implemented a program of physical therapy treatment without consultation with an appropriate licensed practitioner of the healing arts, or in the case of practice as a physical therapist assistant, practiced other than under the supervision and direction of a licensed physical therapist;
    2. Displayed an inability or has become unable to practice as a physical therapist or as a physical therapist assistant with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness, use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition:
      1. In enforcing this paragraph the board may, upon reasonable grounds, require a licensee or applicant to submit to a mental or physical examination by an appropriate practitioner of the healing arts designated by the board. The expense of such mental or physical examination shall be borne by the licensee or applicant. The results of such examination shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any claim of privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to Code Section 24-9-21. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing physical therapy in this state or who shall file an application for a license to practice physical therapy in this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to such mental or physical examination and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of the results in any hearing before the board upon the grounds that the same constitutes a privileged communication. If a licensee or applicant fails to submit to such an examination when properly directed to do so by the board, unless such failure was due to circumstances beyond his or her control, the board may enter a final order upon proper notice, hearing, and proof of such refusal. Any licensee or applicant who is prohibited from practicing physical therapy under this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate to the board that he or she can resume or begin the practice of physical therapy with reasonable skill and safety to patients;
      2. For the purposes of this paragraph, the board may, upon reasonable grounds, obtain any and all records relating to the mental or physical condition of a licensee or applicant, including psychiatric records; and such records shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to, Code Section 24-9-21. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing physical therapy in this state or who shall file an consent to the board's obtaining any such records and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of any hearing before the board upon the grounds that the same constitute a privileged communication; and
      3. If any licensee or applicant could, in the absence of this paragraph, invoke a privilege to prevent the disclosure of the results of the examination provided for in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph or the records relating to the mental or physical condition of such licensee or applicant obtained pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, all such information shall be received by the board in camera and shall not be disclosed to the public, nor shall any part of the record containing such information be used against any licensee or applicant in any other type of proceeding;
    3. Been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude in the courts of this state, the United States, or the conviction of an offense in another jurisdiction which if committed in this state would be deemed a felony. For the purpose of this Code section, a "conviction" shall include a finding or verdict of guilty, a plea of guilty, or a plea of nolo contendere in a criminal proceeding regardless of whether the adjudication of guilt or sentence is withheld or not entered thereon pursuant to the provisions of Code Sections 42-8-60 through 42-8-64, relating to first offenders, or any comparable rule or statute;
    4. Knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations to a patient, consumer, or other person or entity in connection with the practice of physical therapy or in any document connected therewith; practiced fraud or deceit or intentionally made any false statement in obtaining or attempting to obtain a license to practice physical therapy or as a physical therapist assistant; or made a false or deceptive biennial registration with the board;
    5. Practiced physical therapy contrary to this Code section or to the rules and regulations of the board; knowingly aided, assisted, procured, or advised any person to practice physical therapy contrary to this Code section or to the rules and regulations of the board; or knowingly performed any act which in any way aids, assists, procures, advises, or encourages any unlicensed person to practice physical therapy;
    6. Engaged in any unprofessional, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public, which conduct or practice need not have resulted in actual injury to any person; unprofessional conduct shall also include any departure from, or the failure to conform to, the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing physical therapy practice or the failure to comply with the code of ethics of the board;
    7. Failed to report to the board any act or omission of a licensee or applicant or any other person which violates the provisions of this subsection; or
    8. Divided fees or agreed to divide fees received for professional services with any person, firm, association, corporation, or other entity for bringing or referring a patient.

Although these policies refer specifically to Georgia, other states have similar stipulations regarding licensure. Below is a link to the portion of the application on background information (p. 4) that must be submitted as part of the application for licensure:
http://sos.georgia.gov/acrobat/PLB/15%20Physical%20Therapy%20Application.pdf

Students must comply with the Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook section of the Darton State College catalog and the PTA Student Handbook.

Responsible Department: Health Sciences - Physical Therapist Assistant
Program Contact: Kerri Johnson, PT, DPT
Content Contact: Anthony Williams (web representative)
The Darton State College web site is maintained by the Technology Services Division.