Foreign-trained physical therapists (PTs) must meet certain educational standards to become U.S. licensed and visa eligible. These standards are summarized by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) as coursework tools (CWT). Since July 1, 2009 the coursework tool has been CWT5. Starting January 1, 2017 CWT5 is being replaced by CWT6.
As a physical therapist you should read this article to learn how CWT6 will impact you.
Why is a coursework tool needed?
The FSBPT provides a brief explanation on its site:
“The Coursework Tools for Foreign Educated Physical Therapists (CWT) were developed by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) in response to the needs of its member jurisdictions (U.S. States) for a standardized method to evaluate the educational equivalence of foreign educated physical therapists. Adoption of the tools would allow the same mobility of foreign-educated PTs as that afforded to US-educated graduates.”
What is changing with CWT6?
We’ll outline the current requirements, followed by what’s new in CWT6. The CWT6 additions will follow “CWT6” in bold below:
- The minimum degree required is effectively a DPT. With the new coursework tool, your conferred degree must be equivalent to an entry-level or first professional degree for a US PT, which is the doctor of physical therapy (DPT). CWT6: Educational equivalencies and a BPT are no longer accepted.
- A minimum of 170 semester credit hours, which includes general and professional education. CWT6: 20 more credit hours than CWT5.
- CWT6 added general education requirements in additional subject areas.
- Professional education demands 68 classroom credit hours and 22 clinical education credits. CWT6: The total number of credits remains 90 but the breakout of classroom and clinical differs.
- Clinical education credits are capped at a maximum of 22 hours. The clinical education must consist of no less than 1,050 hours total and supervised by a PT. CWT6: The credits awarded dropped one credit hour from 23, but the hours required jumped up from 800 to 1,050.
- CWT6 requires that the clinical education consist of TWO internships in DIFFERING practice settings.
Be sure to download the CWT6 in-full from the FSBPT website. It provides a worksheet you can use to compare your current education to the new requirements.
Introducing the Excel Program
Has CWT6 may dampened your dream of working in the USA? Enter PassportUSA’s Excel program, which will help BPTs quickly become DPTs, without having to pay for the advanced degree upfront.
Here’s how the Excel program works:
- PassportUSA has partnered with two U.S. academic institutions to create an online education program to meet the CWT6 standards.
- PassportUSA covers all costs associated with the Excel program in advance. That includes your tuition, fees, and textbooks.
- A low-cost repayment cycle begins once you begin your assignment.
- PassportUSA extends the re-payments over the course of your contract.
- Because of PassportUSA’s clout and volume of applicants, you will also save 10 percent off normal tuition rates.