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Thinking about returning to a career as a PT or PTA? Here's how to get started.

Health care evolves quickly. That makes it a challenge to return to a career as a PT or PTA after a break.

There's no one-size-fits-all process for navigating this change, but here are some things to consider as you get started on your journey.

Review licensure.

Licensure is required in order to practice as a PT or work as a PTA in the United States.

Dive deeper.

Here are two topics you should review:

Payment. Short version: it's always changing. And there's an evolution toward value-based care.

Scope of practice. This is always evolving, too, and it's affected by your personal clinical experience.

Read up.

APTA members have unlimited access to content, including content from APTA Magazine, PTJ, and full-text literature searches from APTA Article Search.

Also see what's new in our evidence-based practice resources area.

Catch up with online learning.

Online learning is a great first step because it's customizable—learn what you want, when you want. The APTA Learning Center has you covered, and APTA members also receive a discount to MedBridge

Here are some courses to consider:

Screening for Medical Disorders. This course explores the PT's role as an interdependent practitioner  and the PT's the ability to recognize clinical manifestations that suggest that physician (e.g., MD, DO) contact is warranted regarding a client’s health status.

Defensible Documentation: A Framework for Physical Therapy Documentation. Develop an efficient and effective documentation strategy appropriate for use across a wide range of practice settings and patient populations.

Defensible Documentation Part One: Balancing Offense and Defense. This online course, the first of a two-part series, focuses compliant documentation utilizing the Medicare’ Documentation Requirements as published in the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual.

Defensible Documentation Part Two: If You were the Author. Part two of the series continues the dive into Medicare requirements, with a look into the consequences of not complying. 

Defensible Documentation: The Payer Perspective. What does an insurer look for when determining payment or denial?

Home Health Regulation and Documentation. An online review that gets to the heart of home health documentation, with a focus on providing documentation that supports skilled, reasonable, and necessary therapy services.

Professionalism Module Three: Ethical Compass. This course addresses ethics terminology and history, ethics versus. law, the role of ethics in professionalism and business relationships, the RIPS ethical decision-making model, and application of the model to case situations.

Pharmacology in Rehabilitation: Basic Principles. This course addresses basic pharmacology concepts including drug nomenclature and how the FDA regulates and approves drugs in the U.S.

Pharmacology in Rehabilitation. This course, delivered in 14 hours of recorded lectures, presents the primary drug classes and the physiologic basis of their action.