Leadership Development

Take charge of your professional destiny! There are several programs within APTA and its chapters and sections to help you develop your leadership skills and advance your career through professional development activities.

Related: Nominate yourself or your peers for national leadership positions, or learn about serving on a volunteer group.

APTA Chapter and Section Governance and Leadership

Members who aspire to become leaders in APTA chapters or sections, as board members, officers or committee chairs, are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available through the Component Governance and Leadership Department.

APTA's Component Governance and Leadership department works with the Student Assembly leadership to foster engagement with student members. APTA annually recognizes an Emerging Leader nominated by each component and is seeking additional ways to recognize and help develop new professionals. A variety of leadership meetings are held at the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) and Annual Conference, including the Component Leadership Meeting, the Management and Operations Meeting (geared primarily for component execs/paid staff), section presidents meeting, chapter presidents meeting and an orientation session for new component presidents. An annual two-day component leadership symposium for new component president and executive teams focuses on roles and responsibilities of board and staff members to fulfill a component's mission.

Component Governance and Leadership department hosts a wealth of free webinars on governance topics of interest and concern to component leaders. The webinars are also posted on the Component Leaders Community for viewing by all APTA members. The Component Leaders Community serves as a treasure chest of useful resources to help with component management, leadership and governance. Chapter and section leaders can post announcements and resource documents, add calendar items, and generate discussion on topics of broad interest to component leaders and staff. Component Governance and Leadership also distributes a weekly e-newsletter with important news and deadlines for component leaders.

Video: Why Be a Chapter or Section Leader?

Private Practice Section (PPS)

If you are a private practice owner, or aspire to own your own private practice, join the Private Practice Section (PPS) and participate in their events and activities for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs.

The PPS Annual Conference & Exposition is the section's premier networking and business education event.  Each year's education sessions, posters, exhibitors, peer networking, and keynote speakers bring professional value to members and soon to be members. The importance of these four days is the opportunity to ask questions, to think "outside the box," to see products and services that will improve your practice processes, learn and discuss health care, and make private practice community friends.

Monthly PPS hosts continuing education audio and webinars on a variety of business topics, such as: Incentive & Compensation Models for Today's Modern Practice; Direct Access; Reimbursement Issues & Marketing to the Public; The Red Flag Rules: Is Your Practice Prepared for Compliance?; Staff Recruitment & Retention: Planning for Your Practice; How You Can Create Loyal Clients and Referral Business, just to name a few. These sessions provide a cost-effective way to enhance leadership and private practice management skills.

Regional educational programs are available throughout the year. The section's "How to Start a Physical Therapy Private Practice" and "Move Your Practice to the Next Level" reach maximum capacity quickly. The section's website announces where and when these programs take place as well as all the events that the Private Practice Section supports.

Education Section

For current and aspiring PT and PTA educators, there are several career enhancement opportunities through the Education Section for academic and clinical instructors, faculty, program directors, and academic administrators.

The Educational Leadership Conference (ELC) is held the first weekend in October. This meeting provides educational sessions for academic administrators and clinical educators, while offering a strong focus on networking, sharing challenges and discussing issues. The ELC is particularly useful for young faculty and new program directors.

The Section also hosts a Faculty Development Workshop each summer for the development of PT and PTA program faculty members. This multi-day workshop is geared toward full-time faculty members in their first 4 years of a PT or PTA faculty appointment. Participants are encouraged to bring items such as curriculum vitae, promotion and tenure policies, course syllabi, test samples, individual development plans, etc, to encourage the interactive nature of the meeting.

The Educational Leadership Institute Program (ELI) will provide a year-long leadership development experience that incorporates blended learning methods, including online programming, reading, audio conferencing, and in-person sessions. Each year, 20 participants will be selected to complete the process together. The program includes completion of a project that benefits the participant's institution. The initial target audience for ELI is potential and novice program directors, expanding to other faculty in the future. ELI is a collaborative effort between APTA and the Education Section. The ELI Steering Committee is designing the ELI curriculum, infrastructure, and program criteria and the program should launch in 2011.

Section on Health Policy and Administration (HPA)

The Health Policy & Administration Section's (HPA) LAMP (Leadership, Administration, Management, and Professionalism) Program uses self-assessment and conflict management tools to focus on personal leadership development in the initial course and focuses on individual strengths while leading others in advanced course.

LAMP is geared toward the new professional, but is also appropriate for leaders in management positions working in a variety of practice settings, faculty teaching leadership in entry-level physical therapist programs, clinical instructors supervising students, and association board and committee leaders navigating the scope of their leadership responsibilities. The focus of the program is on behavioral management skills, recognizing that everyone has leadership potential, not simply those in formal leadership roles. "Lead Wherever You Are: Becoming a Personal Leader" (C1) is the initial course that follows 6-8 hours of pre-work as participants do a leadership self-assessment. Following C1 is the identification of an Intermediate Independent Leadership Project (IILP). After the IILP goes through an approval process, the participant is paired with an HPA Leadership Mentor. After attending C1 and showing progress or completion of the IILP, participants may attend C2: "Adaptive Leadership in Physical Therapy-Advanced Leadership Course." After C2, participants can complete an Advanced Leadership Program (ALP). Upon completion of the full program, participants receive a certificate.

APTA Learning Center

APTA's Learning Center offers a series of online modules on professionalism, covering the history of professionalism in physical therapy, ethics, continued competence, emotional intelligence, and developing the patient-therapist partnership. These free courses are available any time and, in addition to offering CEU credits, present valuable knowledge to better equip members to enhance their leadership potential in the profession.

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