Physical Therapists: FAQs

Q. What will InterFysio do for me?
A. InterFysio will license you, sponsor you, and employ you.  Our team of lawyers, credentialing/licensing specialists, and staffing professionals will help obtain the required licenses and authorization for employment with us as a physical therapist in the United States. We will handle all necessary steps including your visa screen and your license application. We will handle your immigration application and will sponsor you for a work visa or for permanent residence in the United States.

Please note that Australian citizens benefit from a special, expedited work visa.

Q. What are the costs?
A. You will be responsible for certain credentialing fees.
Q. How long will the process take?
A. Processing times vary depending on your credentialing and licensure status when you apply with us.  If you have not yet begun the credentialing process, it may take approximately one year to obtain the necessary credentialing and licensure approvals for your visa. InterFysio will do its best to ensure timely completion of the process but offers no guarantee on the ultimate timing.
Q. What visa will I come in on?
A. InterFysio will sponsor you for an H-1B visa. Note that Australian and Canadian citizens are eligible for other visa categories.
Q. Can my family join me in the U.S.?
A. Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 will also receive green cards permitting them to live and work in the US. If you enter on an H-1B visa, your spouse and children will receive H-4 visas allowing them to live but not work in the US. 
Q. How does the H-1B visa program work?
A. The H-1B visa provides temporary, three year, permission to reside and work in the United States and is renewable for an additional three year period. There is a tight quota on the number of H-1B visas available each fiscal year, which begins on October 1st of each year. The earliest an employer can file for an H-1B petition is six months prior to October 1st (i.e. April 1st). In practical terms, we would file for your H-1B visa six months before you can enter and work in the United States on that visa. Furthermore, because of the strict quota, many employers rush to file the H-1B visa petitions on April 1. As a result, the H-1B visa quota is often quickly and almost immediately exhausted in the start of April. In fact, in 2008, there were so many applicants that a lottery took place. Slightly over half of our applicants were selected and received their H-1B visa.
Q. What is a “visa screen”?
A. U.S. immigration law requires that certain foreign healthcare workers, including physical (no capital) therapists, obtain a foreign healthcare certificate. There are currently two accredited agencies authorized to issue these certificates for physical therapists: CGFNS (www.cgfns.org) and FCCPT (www.fccpt.org). The certificate issued by CGFNS is commonly referred to as a “visa screen” certificate, whereas the FCCPT certificate is called a “Type I” certificate. The purpose of the immigration law requirement is to verify that foreign health care workers possess the requisite education, (i.e. a 4-year degree, English proficiency and a foreign physical therapy license.)
Q. Am I required to be fluent in English?
A. Yes. U.S. immigration law and work place realities require proficiency in English. The required scores are:

  • Computer-Based TOEFL: 220
  • Test of Written English (TWE): 4.5
  • Test of Spoken English (TSE): 50

or the new Combined Exam:

  • TOEFL iBT: Total 89 (Speaking, 26)

This is required for all applicants who are not graduates of university healthcare programs from Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand and the U.K. Please note that CGFNS must receive your score directly from ETS.

Q. Will InterFysio provide me with any study materials or model exam questions (CDs or books) so that I can adequately prepare for the NPTE?
A. We do not directly provide you with study materials, but we will provide you with the appropriate recommendations for NPTE preparation books and corresponding educational websites. InterFysio has negotiated a discount with a recommended test preparation publication for our candidates.
Q. Where do I take the NPTE?
A. The NPTE is only administered in the United States and its territories. You do not need to pass the NPTE prior to arrival in the U.S. on a green card or work visa. However, you must obtain an eligibility letter from the State licensing authorities confirming that you are eligible to sit for the NPTE. For more information on the NPTE, including locations and schedules, please visit www.fsbpt.org.
Q. What happens if I fail the NPTE?
A. Due to evidence of cheating and fraud, FSBPT has recently implemented Fixed Date Testing.  This means that the NPTE is administered only four times per year; therefore, we time our new hires to arrive immediately prior to a given test date.  FSBPT issues pass/fail results within 24-72 hours of taking the examination.  If you do not pass the NPTE exam, please inform InterFysio’s offices immediately for next steps.
Q. How long is the employment period in the InterFysio contract?
A. Our contracts are the standard industry length of 36 months. The 36 month period begins on the first day of work as a licensed Physical Therapist in the United States, not on the day you sign your contract.
Q. What happens if for some reason I need to go back home during my contract?
A. InterFysio understands that our employees will from time to time need time off to get back home to take care of personal family matters. For that reason, we are generous with unpaid leave on these occasions.
Q. What happens at the end of the employment period stated in the InterFysio contract?
A. Don’t worry, you will not be out on the street. If you have performed well, we will offer you a contract extension at a higher pay rate with more benefits.
Q. How much will I be paid?
A. InterFysio bases its hourly rate on the United States Department of Labor’s fair wage determination when filing for their employees’ visas.  Special consideration may be given to the level of education and experience. We will also offer extra hours, in the evenings and on weekends, to anyone interested. At the end of each year of your employment, we will review performance and increase your salary if performance merits it.
Q. How much will I be taxed?
A. As a resident of New York, you will be taxed by the United States Federal Government and New York State and New York City (if you choose to live in the City). Your tax rate will depend on your marital status and dependents, but you can expect to pay roughly 25 to 35% of your annual income in taxes. You can learn more about tax rates at www.irs.gov
Q. What benefits are included?
A. We include workman’s compensation, disability insurance, unemployment insurance, and professional liability as part of our standard package. We will also pay a portion of your healthcare insurance premium.  Additionally, we offer continuing education benefits. We also offer a matching contribution in our retirement plan for staff that have been with InterFysio for two years.
Q. Will I be able to live on my salary in New York?
A. Yes, you will be able to afford a reasonable lifestyle in New York. While everyone’s tastes and preferences are different, it is safe to say that New York has something for everyone at every income level. Our therapists live well paying anywhere from $500 to $1500 in rent and another $200 to $400 in food to provide just two examples of the largest items in any budget.
Q. How will I find housing?
A. We will provide you with a list of real estate agents and websites which will aid you in your search for a house or apartment. We will also put you in touch with our employees that have recently found housing themselves. We also assist you with references as necessary.
Q. What type of assignments can I expect?
A. InterFysio’s clients include an entire range of treatment facilities. While it is impossible to say with certainty what assignment you will get – since you won’t arrive in the United States before 12 to 24 months from the time you sign your contract – most of our assignments are with outpatient clinics, schools, after-school peds centers, nursing homes, adult daycare centers, and home healthcare. You will either be assigned to a single facility or split your time between two facilities. Furthermore, you will not necessarily be assigned to the same facility for your entire employment period with InterFysio. Many of our therapists like the opportunity of switching between work environments in order to enhance their experience base. If you, however, prefer to work at a single facility for the entire employment period, we will do our best to ensure it happens.
Q. If I am unhappy with my assignment, can I choose another?
A. InterFysio will always attempt to match your skills and preferences with a suitable client. If necessary, we will accommodate your request for a new placement.
Q. Can I work in states other than New York?
A. Requests for employment in states other than New York are handled by us on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What can I expect to receive in vacation time?
A. You will receive a reasonable amount of vacation time plus several public holidays: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Q. Will I be able to take classes or continuing education while working in the United States?
A. InterFysio offers an annual $400 credit for a continuing education class of your choice. We also offer numerous in-house training opportunities.  We encourage you to continue your education and career development. While we do not finance your studies, we will attempt to provide flexibility in your work schedule to accommodate your studies.
Q. What are the next steps in getting selected to join InterFysio?
A. The first step is for us to evaluate your educational and professional background through a review of your CV and a telephonic or in-person interview. If we accept you, we make an offer of employment and present you with a contract. We may request a commitment deposit by USD check, wire, or credit card. This deposit is immediately returned to you when you enter the United States.