United States of America

The United States of America commonly called the United States and America, is a federal republic consisting of fifty states and a federal district. The 48 contigious states and the federal district of Washington D.C are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is west of Canada and east of Russia across the Bering Strait, and the state of Hawaii is in the mid-North Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Capital: Wasington D.C.
Population: 315 Million.
Government: Federal Presidential Constitutional Government.
Official language: English Language.
National anthem: The Star Spangled Banner.





Working in America as a Physiotherapist educated in Ireland


In order to become a licensed physiotherapist, (physical therapist being the legally protected term in the USA), it is necessary to ask oneself the following:

            1.         How do I register for a Visa in the USA? 

            2.         How long can I work in the USA upon receiving a Visa?      

            3.         How do I become a licensed Physical Therapist? 

            4.         Do I have to do any exams before I become licensed? 

            5.         What is the cost of registration and licensing? 

            6.         What are the pros and cons of working in the USA?

1.         How do I register for a work permit in the USA?

As a qualified professional, an Irish physiotherapist can apply for an H-1B Visa from a US sponsor company. This program is the primary method for employers to recruit & hire International professionals and International students to work in the USA. This can be done by filling out an I-129 form, which is the Petition for Non-Immigrant Workers (see links). The I-129 form can be found on the US Citizenship and Emigration Services website.

Also, a Green Card can be obtained through employment/sponsorship, a family member, marriage and the Green Card Lottery Programme. As a new graduate in Ireland, the best way to obtain a Green Card is through employment/sponsorship, specifically an EB-3 Skilled or Professional Workers Green Card. This can be applied for if permanent employment is offered. The I-140, Petition for Alien Workers form must be filled in addition with a Labor Certification and a permanent full time job offer.

2.         How long can I work in the USA upon receiving a Visa?          

Under normal circumstances, the H-1B program allows workers in speciality occupations to work in the US in a range of three to six years.

3.         How do I become a licensed Physical Therapist?

As the US does not provide a national Physical Therapy license, a license must be obtained within the jurisdiction(s) in which a person wishes to work. Each jurisdiction differs in terms of its rules and regulations in relation to licensed Physical Therapists (see links).

4.         Do I have to do any exams before I become licensed?

In order to become licensed in the USA, foreign-educated candidates must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The NPTE contains five sections, with 50 questions in each section.  A total of 200 multiple choice questions are scored, with 600 out of 800 points being the pass mark.

5.         What is the cost of registration and licensing?

The following costs are expressed in US Dollars ($).

H-1B Announce Premium – $194.95 or                  

         H-IB Power Search – $94.95

I-129 Filing Fee – $325

NBTE fee – $370

Jurisprudence examinations fee - $30–$50

6.         What are the pros and cons of working in the USA?


  • The USA is a fully developed, english speaking country.
  • By obtaining a H-1B Visa, there is the possibility of obtaining a permanent residency through “Dual Intent.”
  • A Green Card holder is entitled to permanent residence in the USA.
  • Licensure in multiple jurisdictions can be obtained.
  • The NPTE had an 87% pass rate in 2010.
  • The USA is a proud sporting nation; therefore opportunities to work with teams at various levels may arise.
  • The USA has a vast multitude of cities, landmarks and tourist attractions that may appeal in terms of recreation, as well as a more appealing climate than Ireland.


  • Licensure cannot be obtained until the NPTE is passed.
  • Permanent residency is not guaranteed with the H-1B Visa.
  • The overall H-1B cap is 65,000 per annum, with a further 20,000 for International Students that graduate with an MBA or higher from a University.
  • With the addition of flights, accommodation and cost of living, the financial demands of immigrating to the USA may be difficult to meet.


Useful Links: 

HIB Visas




I129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Workers









Green Card Visa



1-140, Petition for Alien Workers







National Physical Therapy Examination




Share this resource: