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Illinois Physical Therapy Continuing Education

How many continuing education hours are required during a reporting period?

Physical Therapists: Forty (40) hours.

New Licensees:  A renewal applicant is not required to comply with CE requirements for the first renewal following the original issuance of the license.

Physical Therapy Assistants: Twenty (20) hours.

How is credit hour defined?

A CE hour equals fifty (50) minutes.  After completion of the initial CE hour, credit may be given in one-half hour increments.

How long is the reporting period?

A prerenewal period is the twenty-four (24) months preceding September thirtieth (30th) in the year of the renewal.

Can CE credits be carried over into the next reporting period?

Not specified.

Are there any specific requirements for continuing education?

PT: Beginning with the September 2016 renewal, at least three (3) hours of the forty (40) hours must include content related to the ethical practice of physical therapy.

PTA: Beginning with the September 2017 renewal, at least three (3) hours of the twenty (20) hours must include content related to the ethical practice of physical therapy.

What types of activities can be used for the continuing education requirements?


Hour Calculation


Courses that are part of the curriculum of a university, college or other educational institution.

Fifteen (15) CE hours for each semester hour or ten (10) CE hours for each quarter hour of academic credit awarded.


Teaching a course for an approved CE sponsor or a CAPTE accredited PT or PTA program.  The applicant must be able to provide verification of unique content for each CE course taught via course goals, objectives, and outline.

An applicant will receive two (2) hours of credit for each CE hour awarded to course attendees the first time the course is taught and one (1) hour of credit for each CE hour the second time the same course is taught.

A maximum of fifty percent (50%) of the total CE requirements.

No credit will be given for teaching the same course three (3) or more times.

 American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Clinical Specialist Certification.

An applicant will receive forty (40) hours of CE credit for the prerenewal period in which the initial certification is awarded.


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)-approved post-professional clinical residency or fellowship.  Clinical residency hours may not be used for CE credit if the applicant is also seeking CE credit for hours earned for post-professional academic coursework in the same prerenewal period.

An applicant will receive one (1) hour of CE credit for every two (2) hours spent in clinical residency.

Twenty (20) hours.

Professional research/writing.  An applicant may receive CE credit for publication of scientific papers, abstracts, or review articles in peer-reviewed and other professional journals; publication of textbook chapters; and poster or platform presentations at conferences sponsored by any entity that has pre-approved status.

Fifteen (15) hours for each refereed article

Three (3) hours for each non-refereed article, abstract of published literature or book review.

Five (5) hours for each textbook chapter.

Five (5) hours for each poster or platform presentation or review article.

A maximum of fifty percent (50%) of the total CE requirements.

 Self-study.  An applicant may obtain CE credit by taking correspondence or web-based courses from an approved CE sponsor.  These courses shall include a test that must be passed in order to obtain credit.  An applicant can receive CE credit for utilizing moderated teleconferences, webinars, or pre-recorded professional presentations offered by approved sponsors.

A CE hour equals fifteen (50) minutes.

A maximum of fifty percent (50%) of the total CE requirements.

Completion of published tests/quizzes based on APTA publications.The applicant will be responsible for verifying successful completion.

These publication-based tests/quizzes, typically offered for less than one (1) hour of CE credit, are the only exception to the requirement that all approved CE activities must be at least one (1) hour.

A maximum of fifty percent (50%) of the total CE requirements.

 Journal clubs.  Participation must be verified with an attendance list and list of articles from peer-reviewed journals discussed at each meeting.

Credit will be earned based on actual hours of participation.

Up to five (5) hours of CE credit may be obtained for participation in a journal club.

Educational programs at Illinois Physical Therapy Association (IPTA) district meetings.

Credit will be earned based on actual hours of participation and must be verified with an attendance list and referenced presentation materials.

Up to five (5) hours of CE credit may be obtained for attendance at these programs.

Departmental in-services.

Credit will be earned based on actual hours of participation and must be verified with an attendance list and referenced presentation materials.

Up to five (5) hours of CE credit may be obtained for attendance at inservices at healthcare facilities or organizations.

Completion of skills certification courses.

 Credit will be earned based on actual hours of participation and must be verified with an attendance list and referenced presentation materials.

A maximum of two (2) hours in cardiopulmonary resuscitation certified by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or other qualified organization may be accepted.

A maximum of three (3) hours may be accepted for certification or recertification in Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or their equivalent.

Clinical instructor.

Credit will be earned based on hours of cumulative student clinical instruction, with one (1) hour of CE credit per one hundred and twenty (120) student hours.  CE credit hours for clinical instruction will be awarded by the student's academic institution.

Up to five (5) hours of CE credit may be obtained by being a clinical instructor for either PT or PTA students.

What type of approval is needed for the courses?

Approved sponsors:

  • APTA and its components, including programs, courses and activities approved by the IPTA;
  • Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, including programs, courses and activities approved through its ProCert program;
  • Colleges, universities, or community colleges or institutions with physical therapist or physical therapist assistant education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education; for post-professional academic coursework, all regionally accredited colleges and universities would be approved sponsors; and
  • Any other person, firm, association, corporation, or group that has been approved and authorized by the Division upon the recommendation of the Board to coordinate and present continuing education courses or programs.

CE Earned in Other Jurisdictions

If a licensee has earned CE hours in another jurisdiction from a nonapproved sponsor for which he/she will be claiming credit toward full compliance in Illinois, that applicant shall submit an application along with a $20 processing fee prior to taking the program or ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date of the license.  The Board shall review and recommend approval or disapproval of this program.

If a licensee fails to submit an out of state CE approval form within the required time, late approval may be obtained by submitting the application with the $20 processing fee plus a $10 per CE hour late fee not to exceed $150.  The Board shall review and recommend approval or disapproval of this program.

What type of courses or activities are not allowed?

Courses not acceptable include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal estate planning;
  • Personal financial planning;
  • Personal investments; and
  • Personal health.

CE will not be awarded for the following types of activities:

  • Entry-level physical therapist or physical therapist assistant academic coursework.
  • Employee orientation programs.
  • Professional meetings or conventions, other than educational programming by approved sponsors.
  • Committee meetings.
  • Work experience.
  • Individual scholarship, mass media programs or self-study activities.

What are the reporting requirements?

Each renewal applicant shall certify, on the renewal application, full compliance with CE requirements.

Types of Records that must be Maintained

Course certificates along with documents specified in the above table.  

How long must continuing education records be retained?

It is the responsibility of each renewal applicant to retain or otherwise produce evidence of such compliance for a minimum of five (5) years.


Waiver of CE Requirements

Any renewal applicant seeking renewal of his/her license without having fully complied with these CE requirements shall file with the Division a renewal application, the renewal fee, a statement setting forth the facts concerning such non-compliance, and a request for waiver of the CE requirements on the basis of such facts.  If the Division, upon the written recommendation of the Board, finds from such affidavit or any other evidence submitted that good cause has been shown for granting a waiver, the Division shall waive enforcement of such requirements for the renewal period for which the applicant has applied.

Good cause shall be defined as an inability to devote sufficient hours to fulfilling the CE requirements during the applicable prerenewal period because of:

  • Full-time service in the armed forces of the United States of America during a substantial part of such period; or 
  • Extreme hardship, which shall be determined on an individual basis by the Board and shall be limited to documentation of:
    •  An incapacitating illness documented by a currently licensed physician;
    • A physical inability to travel to the sites of approved programs; or
    • Any other similar extenuating circumstances.
  • If an interview with the Board is requested at the time the request for the waiver is filed with the Division, the renewal applicant shall be given at least twenty (20) days written notice of the date, time and place of the interview by certified mail, return receipt requested.
  • Any renewal applicant who submits a request for waiver shall be deemed to be in good standing until the Division's final decision on the application has been made.


When there appears to be a lack of compliance with CE requirements, an applicant will be notified and may request an interview with the Board, at which time the Board may recommend that steps be taken to begin formal disciplinary proceedings.

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