About the National Physical Therapy Examination

The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) administers the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), the examination that every graduate of a physical therapy or physical therapist assistant education program must pass to become a licensed physical therapist or licensed/certified physical therapist assistant (or to regain licensure/certification if lapsed) in the United States (US).  Foreign-educated candidates who wish to become licensed in the US must also take and pass this examination.

The NPTE is a computer-administered examination. The physical therapist licensure examination has five sections each with 50 questions. Of the 250 multiple choice questions, only 200 are scored. The other 50 questions are being pretested to see if they meet the standards to be included in future exams.  The physical therapist assistant licensure examination has four sections with a total of 200 multiple choice questions.  As in the physical therapist examination, 50 of these questions are being pre-tested and are not scored.

There is one scheduled 15 minute break during the examination. A candidate may take up to three unscheduled breaks between sections, but these breaks use time that is allotted for test-taking.  Additional information about the examinations can be found at www.fsbpt.org.


The scoring ranges from 200-800. The minimum passing score is 600 for both the PT and PTA exam.

Pass Rate

In the 2011 exam year, passing rates for both examinations were:

  • PT Exam: 89% for first-time test takers graduating from accredited US PT schools
  • PTA Exam: 85% for first-time test takers graduating from accredited US PTA schools

For more information, see the NTPE Pass Rate Reports.


Testing is administered at Prometric Testing Centers. Candidates are not required to test in the jurisdiction for which they are applying for licensure.


Fees for the 2014 examination cycle will be posted here when they become available.


The NPTE has fixed-date testing for both the PT and PTA examination.


January 29, 2013
April 30, 2013
July 24, 2013
October 30, 2013
View the entire 2013 PT schedule.


January 8, 2013
April 8, 2013
July 10, 2013
October 9, 2013
View the entire 2013 PTA schedule.

Get updates and view the schedule.

Guidelines and Tips

General information on registration and eligibility is available on the FSBPT Web site. Registration information and requirements vary by state. It is important to realize that a candidate must first meet eligibility requirements of the jurisdiction to which he or she is applying for licensure before scheduling the exam. Information by state can be located on the FSBPT Licensing Authorities web page.

Tip: There is no penalty for answering a question incorrectly—answer all questions even if unsure of the answer.

The FSBPT offers access to two 200-question practice examinations through Practice Examination and Assessment Tool (PEAT) for both the PT and the PTA exam. The cost is $90 for 30 days of online access with an option for a 15 day extension for $45.

Additional Resources

More on Licensure Examination Preparation

'Happy Schools Blog'

Guide to PT PracticeSocious - Hubba Hubba