ALEXANDRIA, VA, September 23, 2009 — The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has awarded specialist certification to 1,001 physical therapists this year. Since 1985, 9,409 physical therapists have achieved board certification. Those who were recognized recently completed the requirements to become board-certified specialists in one or more of the following specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women's Health Physical Therapy.
"Clinical specialists have demonstrated [their] ability to meet challenges by achieving the highest level of recognition for clinical practitioners," said Patricia Scheets, PT, DPT, NCS, keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony for the Recognition of Clinical Specialists at the APTA 2009 Combined Sections Meeting. According to Scheets, "Clinical specialists possess the perfect combination of knowledge and understanding of external evidence coupled with clinical skills, judgment, and experience that is needed to raise a generation of evidence-based physical therapists."
To obtain board certification, candidates must submit evidence of required clinical practice in a specialty area. In addition, candidates must successfully complete a rigorous written examination, demonstrating specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in a specialty area of physical therapist practice.
The APTA House of Delegates established specialist certification as a mechanism to formally recognize physical therapists who have demonstrated advanced clinical knowledge and skills. Since the program's inception in 1985 there has been a steady and substantial increase in the number of physical therapists who pursue specialist certification each year.
ABPTS was established by APTA as the governing body that awards certification to physical therapists who meet approved requirements. ABPTS oversees the physical therapy clinical specialist certification and recertification program and awards certificates to physical therapists meeting approved requirements.
Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility -- in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents more than 72,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com. Consumers can access the Online Directory of Certified Clinical Specialists in Physical Therapy to locate a board-certified clinical specialist at www.apta.org/specialist_certification. Additional consumer information is available at www.moveforwardpt.com.