APTA Responds to The Washington Post on Certification

July 24, 2009

Dear Editor:

In "Preparing for Battle: A Certification Exam Requires Study Time on the Front Lines" by Adele Levine, some points of clarification must be made.

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) awards specialist certification to physical therapists of all ages who meet approved requirements. It is not a "reward to older physical therapists" as Ms. Levine suggests.

Also, examination results are based on the number of questions answered correctly and is a scaled score, not graded on a curve as Ms. Levine indicated.

Specialization allows a physical therapist to build on a broad base of professional education and experience in order to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills related to a particular area of practice. It promotes the highest level of enhanced diagnostic skills and specialty care, including managing patients with complex conditions, to achieve the most effective clinical outcomes.


Kim Nixon-Cave, PT, PhD, PCS
Chair of the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties
American Physical Therapy Association