A woman receiving a massage from a physical therapist
Travel Allied October 31, 2022

By Joseph Duffy

The PT Compact: An Easy Way to Practice in Multiple States

Physical therapy providers, including physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs), must have a valid license for each state where they practice. For those PTs working allied travel jobs, obtaining a new license every time they work in a new state can become expensive and burdensome.

One solution for those working in travel therapy is the Physical Therapy Compact, an agreement between member states to allow PTs and PTAs to work across state lines.

As long as your home state where you hold a regular PT or PTA license is a Compact member state, you can apply for and purchase a “compact privilege” for each member state where you want to work.

Some member states require additional fees plus a jurisprudence requirement, typically an exam, before you can apply for that state’s compact privilege. Some states waive fees for active-duty military. Your compact privilege will expire on the same date as your home license, and you must renew your home license before continuing your compact privileges.

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Benefits of the PT Compact

“Joining the PT Compact is helpful for a licensing timeframe and will cut down on the turnaround time for out-of-state licensures as long as the state you are applying for is also participating in the PT Compact,” said Aaron Quihuis, senior principal of recruiting for AMN Healthcare.

“Another great benefit is the low cost,” he continued. “Clinicians can save a significant amount of money when applying for the compact licensure versus the standard permanent state license process. Lastly, obtaining the PT Compact lets you work in multiple states, some of which are highly popular destinations, such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina.”

Quihuis said he has seen the PT Compact help many travelers. For example, one of his physical therapy recruits has his license in his home state of Colorado, which is a member state. The PT now has a license for Washington, Oregon, and Arizona – all member states. Quihuis said without the compact license, this travel therapist wouldn’t have even applied for the other individual licenses due to the high cost.

The PT Compact States

The PT Compact is currently comprised of 25 member states: Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Montana, Wisconsin, Georgia, Maryland, and Delaware. Ten other states plus Washington, D.C., have either enacted legislation to join the compact or have introduced legislation.

Answers to common questions about the PT Compact

According to Quihuis, the most common questions he gets about the PT Compact revolve around a provider’s tax home and his or her eligibility, and about the cost, process, and turnaround times for getting a PT Compact license.

So, some key facts to remember:

  • A PT or PTA has to reside or have their “tax home” in a state that participates in the PT Compact in order to qualify.
  • A provider’s license to practice in that home state must be active.
  • The license cost will depend on one’s home state; please refer to the PT Compact fee schedule for details.
  • Physical therapy professionals can apply directly on PTcompact.org; the turnaround time is typically one to two days.

Find more information on the AMN Healthcare PT Compact License page, including a map of participating states and a video about benefits from PT Compact Administrator T.J. Cantwell.

AMN Healthcare offers licensure assistance to travel therapists and other allied health travelers and will reimburse PT Compact privilege fees for therapists who take an assignment with them in the state where the privilege was purchased.

Get the latest updates about The PT Compact.

AMN Healthcare has thousands of travel therapy, imaging, and laboratory medicine jobs across the U.S.

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