Q: Can you take the NPTE or NBCOT exam prior to officially graduating?
A: It is certainly a very exciting prospect to take your national board exam early so you can start practicing sooner rather than later!
Each state has developed their own set of rules pertaining to the licensing of their therapists. Each one has their own requirements. For example, some require a Jurice Prudice exam, some require fingerprinting, and others require both. Likewise, each state has decided whether or not they will allow therapists within their state to take their boards early.
Currently, there are 32 states that will allow NPTE testing prior to graduation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the NBCOT can be taken prior to graduation. There are some requirements in order to sign up for the NPTE early. Most of the states will require your school to send a verification that you completed the education and your expected graduation date. Some have additional rules such as being a resident of their state.
According to FSBPT (see complete list here), these are the states willing to allow early boards: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, KS, LA, MI, MN, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, and WV.
Now, the remaining question is whether or not you should take your boards early. There is no fail-safe way to determine what timing is right for you. Some students have done well taking the exam early. It’s safe to say if you can devote a lot of time studying, even while doing fieldwork rotations, you will be more prepared to take it early. If you couldn’t manage squeezing in a couple of hours each night, maybe wait the additional time to take the exam. Regardless, it is about how confident you feel in the knowledge you have absorbed.
What other questions do you have about travel therapy? Comment below!