Does Your State Require ProCert Certification?

state certified physical therapist works on client

Physical therapists must complete continuing competency activities for license renewal. Does your state use ProCert?

As a physical therapist, your job isn’t done once you become licensed by the state you work in. In addition to helping patients heal, PTs must stay up to date on the latest developments and trends in their field. To ensure this happens, many state boards require PTs to complete continuing education, or “continuing competency” (CC) activities to maintain their license. It’s also a way to grow in your profession.

The latest development in continuing competency comes from the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Alabama, California, Georgia and Vermont now accept FSBPT’s ProCert certification for continuing competence activity. They’ll join 15 other states and the District of Columbia which already use this system for CC evaluation.

What is ProCert?

Developed by the FSBPT, ProCert is an online system that allows PTs to submit their CC activity. Using stringent standards set by FSBPT, ProCert reviews and evaluates the CC activities and continuing education courses (CE). In most states, license renewal is based primarily on the completion of CC and CE. For PTs practicing in these 18 states and the District of Columbia, ProCert certification will serve as proof of their CC/CE completion.

In most health professions, providers are required to take a certain number of hours in continuing education courses. The model is slightly different with FSBPT’s certification process. Continuing education is permitted, but residencies, fellowships, research and other activities are also suitable methods to show competence. In other words, it’s not always “hours” that are counted as credit.

If your state requires ProCert certification, your first step should be signing up for aPTitude via the FSBPT website. The service is free and you’ll be able to record your CC/CE activities and store related documentation. Other elements of the system allow users to:

  • Search for CC/CE courses and activities
  • Track CC/CE completion progress
  • Receive reminder notices for license renewal and other deadlines
  • Get updated information from state boards

Get Some Practice

Since there’s a wide breadth of CC/CE activities and courses, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing appropriate material that speaks to your specific needs and areas for improvement. One way to know where your strengths and weaknesses lie is by using the FSBPT’s Practice Review Tool. Not only can you get a refresher on the fundamentals, but you’ll be able to find topics where additional education may be necessary. The tool compares your knowledge to entry-level practice.

The test, which costs $250 and consists of 125 questions, is by appointment only and takes about two-and-a-half hours. The exam consists of “scenarios” in which a patient’s condition is described along with their medical history and other personal facts. Questions are asked in a multiple-choice format and must be answered before moving on to the next scenario.

Testing categories include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Musculoskeletal System: Covers anatomy, pharmacology and effects of exercise. The method of examination, diagnosis and prognosis are also examined.
  • Cardiac, Vascular and Pulmonary Systems: Essential principles, mechanics of body movement and diseases are part of this section.
  • Equipment and Devices: Use of equipment is covered, such as assistive and adaptive devices, prosthetics, protective and gravity-assisted devices.
  • Therapeutic Modalities: Mechanical modalities, electrical stimulation and physical agents are a few topics presented.
  • Teaching and Learning: Communication skills, teaching patients and learning strategies are covered.

You’ll receive feedback outlining whether you are “sufficiently qualified” or need improvement. With this information, you can craft a plan on which continuing competency activities you’re best suited for. The test isn’t mandatory and feedback is provided only to the licensee.

License Renewal

Although PTs need to be licensed in every state, the requirements for renewal can differ. Check with your state board to determine how often you need to renew and how much CC/CE credit you need to complete before your license expires.

Ultimately, completing CC/CE credit is more than just a box to check off for license renewal. You’ll gain valuable knowledge which you can utilize each day, guiding your patients toward a more comfortable life.

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