Practice Hours

What are practice hours?

Practice hours are paid and professional activity hours spent in physical therapy practice or other activities resulting from possessing physiotherapy or physical therapy credentials and experience.

Why do you report practice hours?

Physical therapy regulators in Canada consider practice hours to be an indication of currency of practice. All Canadian jurisdictions, except Quebec, have the same requirement. The same requirement exists for application[1] for full registration, for reinstatement[2] of full registration, and for renewal[3] of full registration.

Practice hours are a reflection of practice experience. For example, the College requires new physical therapists to have a minimum number of practice hours to be eligible to use dry needling in physical therapy practice.

Practice hours are also a component of health human resources data. The CPTBC reports practice hours to CIHI annually where they are aggregated nationally.

How many practice hours are required?

  • 1,200 practice hours (total) must be accrued in the 5 years[4] preceding application, renewal or reinstatement.

The requirement has been in the Bylaws since 2018 but has not been enforced for registration renewal. Beginning in 2024, the practice hour requirement for registration renewal will be enforced for the first time.

What qualifies as practice hours?

  • The Bylaws define practice hours as “clinical practice, research, administration, teaching or academic positions, and consulting.”
  • Practice hours include activities you do while registered as a physical therapist in order to meet the expectations of the Code of Ethical Conduct and the Standards of Practice for the provision of physical therapy service to clients. This includes, for example, clinical documentation, report-writing, and team meetings.
  • Teaching that results from possessing physical therapy credentials

What does not qualify as practice hours?

  • Physical therapy clinical practice means service provided to human clients[5], so hours spent providing rehabilitation care provided to animals do not qualify as practice hours.
  • Vacation hours, statutory holidays, leaves of absence (e.g. sick, parental), continuing education, courses and on-call time if the physical therapist is not called in to work do not qualify as practice hours.

Who can accrue physical therapy practice hours?

  • Physical therapists (full and interim registrants) practising physical therapy in BC in accordance with CPTBC Standards of Practice, Code of Ethical Conduct and the Bylaws.
  • Physical therapists registered to practice in another jurisdiction in Canada.
  • Physical therapists practising physical therapy in jurisdictions outside of Canada where physical therapy is a regulated profession; the physical therapist must be registered with the regulator in that jurisdiction in order to practise and to accrue practice hours.

When do you report your practice hours?

  • When submitting an application for registration
  • Annually during registration renewal

What dates do you use to count your practice hours?

  • Practice hours are counted per registration year from June 1 to May 31.

What happens if you don’t have sufficient practice hours?

  • It is each registrant’s responsibility to ensure they meet the practice hour requirement.
  • Applicants who don’t have the minimum 1200 practice hours in the previous 5 years[6] will be referred to the Registration Committee for recommendation of a pathway to re-enter the profession.
  • Starting in 2024, full registrants who have not accrued 1200 practice hours in the previous 5 years at the time of registration renewal[6] (May 31) will not be able to renew. Instead, they will be required to apply to the Registration Committee for reinstatement of their full registration. The Registration Committee will recommend a pathway for them to re-enter the profession.

[1] CPTBC Bylaws s.43(1)(f) and s.43(4)(a)
[2] CPTBC Bylaws s.47(1)(a)
[3] CPTBC Bylaws s.49(1)(d)(ii) and s.50(1)(b)(ii)
[4] Note that this requirement does not apply if an individual has successfully completed an entry-to-practice assessment in those 5 years.
[6] Note that this requirement does not apply if an individual has successfully completed an entry-to-practice assessment in those 5 years.