The Board of Physical Therapy was created in 1952. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§32-2001 through 32-2056.
The Board of Physical Therapy (Board) regulates the practice of physical therapy, licenses physical therapists, certifies physical therapist assistants, registers physical therapy businesses, investigates complaints, conducts investigations and takes disciplinary action as needed. The purpose of the Board is to protect the public from incompetent, unprofessional and unlawful physical therapy practices and to assure the public that persons who represent themselves as physical therapists are properly trained. In order to be licensed a person must meet educational requirements and pass national and state examinations.
The Board consists of seven members, appointed by the Governor to four-year terms. The Board remits ten percent of its revenues to the state General Fund and retains the balance in the Board of Physical Therapy Fund to be used for administration and enforcement purposes.
The Board of Physical Therapy Examiners was established in 1952 to regulate physical therapists, certify qualified applicants and take enforcement and disciplinary action as necessary.
The measure established qualifications and requirements to receive or renew a certificate of registration, allowed the Board to issue a reciprocity certificate, outlined actions which would trigger a revocation or suspension of a certificate, and established penalties for violations. The measure also created the Board of Physical Therapy Fund. The initial Board consisted of three members appointed by the Governor to three-year terms. See Laws 1952, Chapter 36.
Laws 1968, Chapter 127 added regulation of physical therapy assistants, established qualifications, and required an assistant, aide or attendant to work under the direct supervision of a registered physical therapist.
Laws 1974, Chapter 75 established a process for an applicant who graduated from a foreign physical therapy school to obtain a temporary license, and after completing a supervised clinical practice, to apply for a certificate of registration. The measure also increased penalties and provided for injunctive relief.
Laws 1980, Chapter 249 added two public members to the Board and increased the term to five years, provided board members with immunity for actions taken in good faith, allowed the Board to employ an executive secretary and staff, and modified Board powers and duties. The measure required licensure, rather than certification for physical therapists; modified qualifications for licensure; and revised disciplinary options available to the Board, including investigative authority and subpoenas.
Laws 1983, Chapter 205 removed the requirement for physical therapy services to be based on a referral from a licensed physician, surgeon, dentist or podiatrist.
Laws 1984, Chapter 29 was a sunset continuation measure that also made numerous changes to the Board, including modifications to licensing qualifications, requirements for foreign-trained graduates, licensure by endorsement and temporary licenses. The measure also increased fees and addressed procedures related to hearings and investigations.
Laws 1994, Chapter 342 increased the examination fee from $150 to $500, modified qualifications for a temporary license, and authorized the Board to issue a cease and desist order and to impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation for unlawful practice of physical therapy.
Laws 1998, Chapter 253 repealed and rewrote the statutes governing the practice of physical therapy.
Laws 2006, Chapter 196 modified the scope of practice for physical therapy assistants and expanded the Board to include one member who is licensed as a physical therapy assistant.
Laws 2007, Chapter 65 authorized the Board to issue a nondisciplinary order requiring a licensee to complete continuing education courses. This applies in cases where an investigation of an allegation is not serious enough to trigger a disciplinary action.
Laws 2010, Chapter 120 established requirements for certain businesses that provide physical therapy services.
Laws 2014, Chapter 220 required the Board to adopt rules by July 1, 2015 related to professional standards of care and training for dry needling.
Laws 2016, Chapter 299 enacted the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact which authorizes state regulatory authorities in member states to recognize physical therapists who are licensed in other states. The compact outlines regulatory jurisdiction, licensure requirements, scope of practice, rulemaking, oversight and enforcement. The measure also established the Physical Therapy Compact Commission and outlined its responsibilities, which include a coordinated database and reporting system containing licensure, adverse action and investigative information on licensed individuals in member states. The Board is required to post information on its website describing Commission actions. The compact does not go into effect until at least ten states join the compact and enact the model legislation. According to the Board, as of September 2018, the compact has been initiated and three states are currently active. States continue to join. http://ptcompact.org/(link is external) The Board must update administrative rules in order to become active in the compact (estimated to be mid 2019).
Laws 2017, Chapter 265 requires an applicant for a physical therapist license or a physical therapist assistant to obtain a fingerprint clearance card.
Laws 2019, Chapter 195 allowed the Board to authorize its executive director to issue licenses, certifications, registrations, preceptorships, reinstatements and waivers to eligible applicants who meet the requirements identified in the statute. In addition, the Board may issue temporary licenses of thirty days to qualified applicants who meet the statutory requirements and may adopt rules to carry out the new provisions.
A second enactment in 2019 requires the Board to regulate the unauthorized practice of the profession by investigating complaints and referring verified complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution. See Laws 2019, Chapter 227.
- Arizona Revised Statutes§§32-2001 through 32-2056
- Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) §§R4-24-101 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1952, Chapter 36
- Laws 1968, Chapter 127
- Laws 1974, Chapter 75
- Laws 1980, Chapter 249
- Laws 1983, Chapter 205
- Laws 1984, Chapter 29
- Laws 1994, Chapter 342
- Laws 1998, Chapter 253
- Laws 2006, Chapter 196
- Laws 2007, Chapter 65
- Laws 2010, Chapter 120
- Laws 2014, Chapter 220
- Laws 2016, Chapter 299
- Laws 2017, Chapter 265
- Laws 2019, Chapter 195 and Chapter 227
Arizona Auditor General Performance Audit and Sunset Review: Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy. May 2013. Report No. 13-03
Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy website
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 237 – Arizona Board of Physical Therapy