Physical Therapist

Department of Public Health


Physical therapists plan, implement, and evaluate physical therapy programs using the effective properties of physical agents including (but not limited to) mechanical devices, heat, cold, air, light, water, electricity, sound, therapeutic exercise and rehabilitative procedures. These devices are used to prevent, correct, minimize or alleviate a physical impairment. They review patients\’ medical records, evaluate patients, identify specific patient problem(s) and perform tests and evaluations which provide information about: joint motion, strength and endurance of muscles, functional ability, status of muscle tone and reflexes, appearance and stability of walking, need for and use of braces and artificial limbs, function of the heart and lungs, integrity of sensation and perception, and the performance of activities required in daily living. They consult and work closely with physicians, patients, families, support staff and other health practitioners in establishing treatment objectives that are realistic and consistent with patients\’ needs. Physical therapy evaluation and treatment may be rendered by a physical therapist with or without a referral from a physician; however, a hospital may require that the evaluation and treatment provided in the hospital will be done only upon prior review by an authorized member of the hospital\’s medical staff.

Code Citation IC, Chapter 148A; 645 IAC 200

Who Applies Persons eligible to provide physical therapy services in Iowa.

When To Apply After completion of educational requirements.

Initial Requirements Graduation from a physical therapy program accredited by a national accrediting agency approved by the board and passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Duration Two years.

Processing Time 6-8 weeks after submission of all required materials, including fingerprint cards for FBI background check. Online renewal in real time.

Fee Structure Initial License: Renewal:

Renewal Requirements Forty hours of continuing education are required biennially for license renewal.

Exam National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).

Additional Information Persons eligible to provide physical therapy services in Iowa.

Services Provided

Service Category

  • Service SubCategory
Contact Information
Bureau of Professional Licensure
Lucas Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319