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The scope of practice for physical therapists is dynamic, evolving with evidence, education, and societal needs.

The scope of practice for physical therapists has three components: professional, jurisdictional, and personal.

The professional scope of practice is grounded in the profession’s unique body of knowledge, supported by educational preparation, based on a body of evidence, and linked to existing or emerging practice frameworks.

The jurisdictional (i.e. legal) scope of practice is established by a state's practice act governing the specific physical therapist’s license, and the rules adopted pursuant to that act.

Personal scope of practice consists of activities for which an individual physical therapist is educated and trained, and that he or she is competent to perform.


Recommended Content

Guide to Physical Therapist Practice

Jun 1, 2016 / Website

House Policy APTA Scope of Practice

Sep 13, 2017 / Policies & Bylaws

Additional Scope of Practice Content

Important but Underused: PTs, PTAs, and Disaster Response

Oct 1, 2019 / Feature

PTs and PTAs have much to offer patients and health care teams before, during, and after disasters. Part of the challenge, however, is educating other providers about those benefits.

Communication and Patient Education – NEXT 2019

Aug 23, 2019 / Article

Physical therapist Jaclyn Marie Arrow, PT, DPT, Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, discusses her session, He Said, She Said: How Personality and Communication Can Improve Patient Education.

Communication and Patient Education

Jul 19, 2019 / Article

Jaclyn Marie Arrow, PT, DPT, Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy, discusses her session “He Said, She Said: How Personality and Communication Can Improve Patient Education” at APTA’s NEXT 2019 in Chicago.

Beyond the Law

Jul 1, 2019 / Column

What's legal isn't necessarily ethical.

Physical Therapy to the Rescue – Defining Moment

Feb 25, 2019 / Article

Paul Caudillo, PT, DPT, is a veteran who finds that his rallying motto still resonates.

NEXT 2017: Generational Leadership

Jul 7, 2017 / Article

Listen to a discussion interview held at NEXT 2017 in Boston on general leadership experience and guidance.