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When Can You Take the NPTE?

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure you meet the NPTE eligibility requirements and check the FSBPT for the most current exam dates to plan accordingly.
  • Register early for the NPTE to secure your preferred test date and location, keeping an eye on deadlines and fees.
  • Utilize various study resources, tailor your study plan to address weak areas, and familiarize yourself with the exam format and rules.
  • Understand how to receive your scores, the retake process if necessary, and stay informed on continuing education for license renewal.
  • Approach the NPTE with confidence, leveraging professional networks and online resources for support, and engage in continuous learning to advance in the physical therapy field.
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The National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is a pivotal step for aspiring physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) aiming to practice in the United States. Understanding the intricacies of scheduling, eligibility, and preparation for this exam is crucial for a successful career in physical therapy. This comprehensive guide will navigate you through everything you need to know about the NPTE, from eligibility to exam day tips.

NPTE Eligibility Requirements

Before marking your calendar for the NPTE, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. The journey begins with completing a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Subsequent steps involve obtaining authorization from your state’s physical therapy board, which might require submitting transcripts and other documentation. Familiarize yourself with these prerequisites early to pave a smooth path toward your exam registration.

Understanding the NPTE Schedule

The NPTE is administered four times annually for both PTs and PTAs, offering several opportunities to sit for the exam. However, specific dates may vary each year, necessitating a check with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) for the latest schedule. Typically, the exam dates are spread across January, April, July, and October, but it’s essential to verify these months as you plan your study schedule and registration.

NPTE Registration Process

Securing your spot for the NPTE requires attention to detail, especially concerning registration deadlines and fees. Early registration is not only cost-effective but also ensures you can choose a convenient testing location and date. The FSBPT website serves as your hub for registration information, deadlines, and fee schedules. Don’t let a missed deadline derail your licensure journey.

Preparing for the NPTE

A robust preparation strategy is your best ally in conquering the NPTE. Leverage resources like official study guides, practice tests, and comprehensive review courses to build a solid knowledge foundation. Tailor your study plan to address your weaknesses while reinforcing your strengths. Remember, consistent study habits and effective time management are key to your success.

Day of the NPTE

The big day requires more than just academic readiness. Arrive at the testing center early, armed with necessary identification and materials approved by the FSBPT. Familiarize yourself with the testing center’s rules and the exam’s format beforehand to minimize anxiety and maximize performance.

After the NPTE

Post-exam, your focus shifts to receiving scores and, if necessary, planning for a retake. Understanding the score release process and the steps for reapplication is vital. Additionally, staying abreast of continuing education and licensure renewal requirements will ensure your career in physical therapy thrives long after passing the NPTE.


How often can you take the NPTE?

You can take the NPTE up to three times in a 12-month period, with specific retake rules varying by state.

What is the passing score for the NPTE?

The passing score is determined by a fixed-point scale, which can vary slightly each exam cycle. Check the FSBPT website for the most current information.

How to apply for accommodations?

Candidates needing accommodations for the NPTE must apply through the FSBPT, providing appropriate documentation to support their request.


The NPTE is a significant milestone in your journey to becoming a licensed physical therapist or assistant. With diligent preparation, a clear understanding of the eligibility and registration processes, and strategic planning, you can approach the exam with confidence. Remember, success on the NPTE is not just about what you know; it’s about how well you prepare and execute your plan.

Stay ahead in your physical therapy career by subscribing to our blog or following us on social media. Here, you’ll find a wealth of information on NPTE preparation, career advice, and the latest in physical therapy practice. Your journey to becoming a licensed physical therapist starts with a single step, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

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