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Massachusetts Physical Therapy Students

Exemption for Students

Any person pursuing a supervised course of study leading to a degree or certificate in athletic training or occupational therapy or physical therapy at an accredited or approved educational program, if the person is designated by a title which clearly indicates his status as a student or trainee, or

Any person pursuing a supervised course of study leading to a degree in athletic training, occupational therapy or physical therapy in an accredited or approved program, including co-operative education programs and post-doctoral clinical education programs. Students involved in clinical affliations which are part of their educational program may perform duties commensurate with their level of education, in addition to those duties which may be performed by aides, as set forth in 259 CMR 3.01, 3.02, 5.01 and 5.02. Students whose employment is not part of a co-operative education program may only perform those duties which may be performed by aides, as set forth in 259 CMR 3.01, 3.02, 5.01 and 5.02.

Co-operative Education

An educational approach which provides alternating or parallel periods of classroom study and supervised employment in which:

    • There is a formal agreement with the institution, the student and the employer;
    • The rotation between academic study and work experience is structured to further the student's education and employability; and
    •  The services performed by the student during the work experience are commensurate with their level of education and training.

What type of supervision is required for a student?

A physical therapist must provide direct supervision to the following persons rendering physical services:

    • Physical therapist students; and
    • Physical therapist assistant students.

Direct Supervision: A process by which a supervisor is on the premises and available to provide supervision in the form of aid, direction, and instruction when procedures or activities are performed.

Student Documentation

A physical therapist, physical therapist student, physical therapist assistant and physical therapist assistant student providing physical therapy intervention(s) shall legibly document, date, and authenticate all care that is provided:

    • Using their name as appearing on their professional license or legal name if a student;
    • Professional designation; and
    • Their license number if applicable.

The supervising physical therapist or physical therapist assistant shall co-sign all documentation provided by physical therapist assistant students.

Student Identification

Physical therapist students shall use the initials PT/s immediately after their name.

Physical therapist assistant students shall use the initials PTA/s immediately after their name.


259 CMR 2.01

259 CMR 5.01

259 CMR 5.03

259 CMR 5.04

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