This will be the first part of a multi-part blog series on obtaining a green card if you are a physical therapist. In this post, I will discuss the education and licensing requirements. I will discuss nuts and bolts in subsequent blog posts.
To practice as a Physical Therapist in California, you must either:
- Obtain a Physical Therapist Degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (“CAPTE”) physical therapist education program and pass the California state licensing exam. (As will be discussed in a future blog post, it is not necessary to have the license at the time you apply for a green card but you must be in the process of obtaining one.) OR
- If your education is from abroad, you must obtain a credential evaluation from a credential evaluation service to show that your education is equivalent to that of a degree in the United States and then you must register/take the licensing exam.
In the United States, there are currently three different types of degrees that are offered to become a physical therapist:
- Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
- Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) or
- Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT
PT education programs are gradually transitioning to the DPT degree and all schools will be compliant by 2017. For now, possession of any of the three degrees permits an applicant to sit for a state licensing exam. The typical length of a DPT program is three years and one generally must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent to be admitted into a program. The education required to become a physical therapist places an applicant for a green card into the Employment Based, 2nd preference category (known as EB-2), a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or equivalent. This is advantageous for most people applying for a green card because the quota, as of today, is current. This means that there is no wait (other than for the processing time) to obtain a green card. Continue reading →