The New Hampshire Economic & Labor Information Bureau designated the physical therapist assistant profession as being “very favorable”—the highest rating given to occupations in the state. This category is reserved for professions that have a high rate of growth and a large number of projected job openings.
As of 2015, there were 510 physical therapist assistants licensed to practice in New Hampshire. However, the number of jobs for PTAs in New Hampshire is expected to increase by 33.9% during the ten-year period leading up to 2022, opening up an average of 21 jobs each year for licensed PTAs in the state.
Physical therapist assistants in New Hampshire have a number of employment options to consider, from inpatient rehab centers in the state’s many respected hospitals and nursing homes, to specialized outpatient clinics where they support resident orthopedists and physical therapists.
As the demand for physical rehab services grows in New Hampshire, the facilities that provide these services have been expanding to keep pace. This has led to an increase in hiring for critical support staff in these institutions, chief among them being physical therapist assistants. For instance, Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics expanded a newly renovated facility in Plaistow. This facility hosts Board-certified orthopedic surgeons that rotate through the facility each day and offers numerous innovative services including musculoskeletal ultrasound.
Steps to Obtaining a Physical Therapist Assistant License in New Hampshire
To launch your career as a physical therapist assistant in New Hampshire, you will need to start by qualifying for a PTA certificate through the New Hampshire Physical Therapy Governing Board.
Follow the step-by-step instructions in this simple guide to learn how to become a physical therapist assistant in New Hampshire:
Step 1. Complete a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Associate’s Degree Program
Your first step to becoming a licensed PTA in New Hampshire is to enroll in one of the physical therapist assistant schools in the state that has received accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Accredited programs are structured as associates or bachelor’s degree programs, with the associate’s degree options meeting the minimum requirements for state licensure:
- Associate of Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
- Associate in Applied Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
- Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapist Assistant
While applying to a program, you may be required to undergo immunizations and a drug screen and/or Criminal/Sexual Offender Records Information check and show proof of liability insurance and CPR certification.
This PTA program combines classroom and laboratory studies at the college with supervised clinical education experiences. Your associate’s degree program will include these courses:
- Physical Therapy Procedures I, II, and III
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Introduction to Personal Training and Fitness
- Special Topics in Physical Therapy
You will then complete 18 weeks of supervised clinical training experience. Your particular clinical assignment will depend on the availability of sites. Your school’s Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education will work with you to assign appropriate clinical sites. Potential sites in New Hampshire include:
- Farnum Rehabilitation Center – Keene
- Abilities Physical Therapy & Wellness Center – Portsmouth, Brentwood
- Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital at Pease – Portsmouth
- Portsmouth Regional Hospital Rehabilitation Services – Portsmouth
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center – Lebanon
Step 2. Pass the New Hampshire Jurisprudence Assessment Module (NH JAM)
Now that you have your PTA associate’s degree, you must past the New Hampshire Jurisprudence Assessment Module (NH JAM) before you can apply for your license. This exam will assess your knowledge of the following content:
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers this open book exam. You will register for the NH JAM online with the FSBPT and arrange for your scores to be sent directly to the Board. You must pay by Visa or Master Card when you register. As of 2015, the fee was $48.
You must take the exam within 48 hours of registering for it. You will have 1.5 hours to complete the 50-question test and must obtain a score of 80% to pass. You will immediately get a detailed score report indicating whether you passed or failed and which questions you answered correctly. Your score report will also include links to the sections of New Hampshire rules, laws, and regulations associated with questions you answered incorrectly
You can take the exam as many times as you require to get a passing score, but you will have to pay for each attempt.
Step 3. Submit an Application for Licensure by Examination
Now that you have passed the jurisprudence exam, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs to get your license to practice in New Hampshire.
You will first register to take the NPTE-PTA online directly through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and pay a fee of $400 by debit or credit card when doing so.
Once you have registered for the NPTE-PTA, you would then request an application for licensure from the New Hampshire Physical Therapy Governing Board. You can request an Initial Licensure Packet online or by calling (603) 271-8389. You must be of good moral character to be able to apply.
You will fill out your application, have it notarized, and submit it with these items:
- A 2×2 passport sized head shot photograph taken recently
- $60.00 application processing fee
- $110.00 initial license fee
- A resume that shows your PT experience since you completed your academic program (requirements described in Section 304.04 i of the Administrative PT Code)
- If you answered yes to any questions about your criminal history, you must provide a separate sheet detailing the circumstances
- Official transcript showing either
- Your degree
- Your coursework if your graduation ceremony hasn’t taken place yet along with a letter from the registrar stating that this is the case
The Board will let you know within 60 days if they require any additional information. The Board will let you know that you are approved within 120 days of the date that your application was completed. You must complete your application within 54 weeks of beginning the process or the Board will deny your license.
Step 4. Pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for PTAs
Once your application has been processed and accepted, you may then schedule to take the NPTE-PTA through a test center located near you. You can select an exam site when scheduling to take the exam through Prometric, the third-party exam service provider that proctors the NPTE-PTA. You have the option of taking your exam at one of two sites in New Hampshire, one located in Portsmouth and one located in Concord. There are also a number of sites in neighboring New England states if this is more convenient for you.
The NPTE-PTA is a rigorous four-hour test that consists of 200 questions. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy provides a candidate handbook for you to review ahead of time and an online practice exam that will help you prepare.
The NPTE-PTA will consist of the following components:
- Safety & Protection; Professional Responsibilities; Research (6%)
- Interventions (30.7%)
- Physical Therapy Data Collection (20.7%)
- Equipment & Devices; Therapeutic Modalities (14.7%)
- Diseases/Conditions that Impact Effective Treatment (28%)
You need to obtain a score of at least 600 to pass this exam.
Step 5. Begin your Career as a Physical Therapist Assistant in New Hampshire
Now that you have your license to practice as a PTA in New Hampshire, you can start your career. Your license allows you to pursue PTA jobs in New Hampshire’s 30 hospitals and its many outpatient clinics that specialize in physical therapy, sports medicine and orthopedic medicine.
A number of facilities in New Hampshire were hiring PTAs in November 2015 and are shown below. This list is informational only, since there is no guarantee that these companies will always be hiring:
- Aureus Medical Group – Franklin
- CPTE Health Group, Inc. – Nashua
- Genesis Rehabilitation Services – Salem, Ossipee, Wolfeboro
- Littleton Regional Healthcare – Littleton
- Genesis Healthcare – Peterborough
- Caretenders Home Health – Manchester
- New London Hospital – New London
- RehabCare Group – Salem
You can also choose to work in the independent practice of a licensed PT.
You will have to display a copy of your license where it is accessible to the public. You are also required to notify the Board within 30 days if your home or business address changes.
You must also download a Work History Report and a Supervision Form to be filled out by you and the PT or PTA who will be supervising you. You can find these forms under the Physical Therapists and Assistants Forms section on the Allied Health Professional page of Forms and Documents.
Step 6. Renew your Physical Therapist Assistant License When Required
Your PTA license will expire on December 31 of every even-numbered year. The Board will send you a notice no later than October 15 that you need to review. They will also send you the application form for your renewal.
You must have been active in the profession to be able to renew. The Board defines this as having worked as a PTA for 100 hours within each year for two consecutive years.
You must also meet the requirements for continuing competency by completing 24 hours of professional education in each two-year renewal cycle. You can find the details of exactly what counts as continuing competency in Section Phy 406.1 of the New Hampshire Administrative Rules for physical therapy. Examples of continuing education include:
- Academic instruction
- Non-academic seminars, course, workshops, and conferences
- Facility-based PT in-service training
- Formal mentored independent study
- Direct supervision of PT or PTA students during their clinical education
- Professional presentations
- Participation in a PT research project
- Completing distance learning courses
- Teaching PT
You can find courses and conferences that count towards your continuing competency from these organizations:
You will need to list your continuing competency activities in your renewal application. There is a separate section for activities that you plan on completing between November 1 and December 31.
The fee to renew is $110. You should deliver your packet in person, email the information, or have it postmarked on before December 1 of your renewal year.
If you are renewing in a year ending in 0 or 5, you will have to retake and pass your jurisprudence exam.
The Board will randomly audit 10% of the applications submitted each renewal year. If you are audited, you will have to provide documentation of your continued competency by February 28 of the year following your renewal year.