Working Abroad: Getting a Physiotherapy Job in US

It's okay to look out for something different after being a physiotherapist in your present location for so long. Or maybe you are a fresh graduate seeking adventure and consciously plotting an international pathway for your career...Hmmm or maybe you graduated with a degree in physiotherapy and haven't really done much with it...The question remains the same....

How can I get an international job? Are there really jobs for physiotherapists abroad or is this career just overhyped?
Overhyped?!!
Are you kidding me?
The key to plotting the right graph for your career is information, so I will do my best to point you in the right direction so you can achieve your dream of getting an international job.

Are there actually best countries for physiotherapy jobs?
Well there are quite a number of places abroad where physiotherapists are seriously sought after, but I would start with what I call the big five: United States, Canada, Australia, Dubai and Ireland... Then maybe Singapore and some of the Caribbean but that depends on where you are interested in going.

So are there actually jobs in the US for physiotherapists?
The answer is yes. However, a number of employers in the US prefer you to have a Masters in Physiotherapy, but this should not hinder you from applying.
So what do you have to do to start working in the US as a physiotherapist?
Lots of confidence in yourself is very important; believe you are unique and you have something to offer irrespective of where you could have got your first degree.

Let me walk you through the process...
Firstly you need to research the over 50 states about what their requirements are for physiotherapy registration because I have found out that all states are not the same. Some are quite liberal others are just complex or bossy.
Remember, you have to make up your mind if this is what you want before you start this process, always count the cost and make up your mind to do all that's required of you...Just do your own part well and the rest will be a walk over.
Here are direct links to some of the physiotherapy boards in some States in the US
By my own opinion I think they are one of the liberal state boards, you may have a different opinion but I recommend you check out their requirements.
You can also check out the requirements for physiotherapy licensing in the other states of the US here
Let me give you a brief summary of the working in the US process and your responsibilities:
  • One of the major requirements of getting a physiotherapy license to work in the US is to pass the NPTE exam, which is a multiple choice clinical based exam. Everyone whether US or overseas trained write this exam. The last time I checked the exam was $400. The exam is organised by the FSBT( Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy) and you can get more information about the exam here.
  • To be eligible to write this exam, yes you have to be eligible, imagine that....you have to have your physiotherapy curriculum assessed. This form of assessment is called credentialing and this is where the bulk of the process is.

US credentialing process
  • The Comprehensive Credential Review (Type 1) is a visa screening service to get a Health Care Worker certificate required for immigration and employment in US as a physiotherapist. There a few agencies accredited to carry out this education evaluation but FCCPT ( Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy) is the most popular in my opinion.
  • The following states require a Type 1 review: California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Washington D.C. I however figured that if you are outside the US and need to get a work or migrant visa you should go for the Type 1 comprehensive review.
So the type 1 Review actually includes
1. Educational Credentials Review
2. License verification to verify your eligibility to practice as a physiotherapist in your own country.
3. Verification of English proficiency: you need to pass TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). There is a required pass mark for this.
You can read more about this Type 1 review process here 
I also observed that there a lots of third parties sending your information to FCCPT which is likely to slow down the overall process - your transcript and syllabus should be sent by your school to FCCPT, the form filled by your licensing body will be sent by them to FCCPT and your TOEFL results will also be sent directly to FCCPT.
The moment the FCCPT gets all the required documents from you plus payment, the process should take about 8weeks, plus or minus. The last time I checked the fee for the Type 1 review was $810.

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