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APTA's PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways is the premier program for increasing a PTA's knowledge and skill in a chosen area of physical therapy.

PTAs gain advanced proficiency knowledge and skill in one of the following areas:

  • Acute care.
  • Cardiovascular/pulmonary.
  • Geriatrics.
  • Oncology.
  • Orthopaedics.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Wound management.

Once achieved, Advanced Proficiency Pathway program recognition is good for 10 years.

Fees

  • Enrollment fee: $135.
  • Final program portfolio review fee: $135.
  • Costs of continuing education (varies per participant).

Eligibility

To participate in the program, you must be an APTA member and a licensed PTA.

Prerequisites

Prior to enrollment, you must complete the following courses in the APTA Learning Center:

Enrollment

Enrollment applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Access the Online Portal 

Steps to your online enrollment will include:

  • Submission/verification of your current contact information and PTA licensure.
  • Name and contact information of a self-designated supervising physical therapist (see supervising physical therapist selection below), who will receive an email request to complete a recommendation and partnering agreement.
  • Name and contact information of a self-designated clinical mentor (see mentor selection guidelines listed below), who will receive an email request to complete a recommendation and partnering agreement.
  • Completion of the three prerequisite courses listed above, which online enrollment system will automatically verify.
  • Submission of a $135 enrollment application fee. (Please note that an additional $135 portfolio review fee is due upon completion of program requirements and submission of final program portfolio.)

Enrollment applications will not be processed until all information has been submitted. Allow four to six weeks for review of enrollment applications.

Supervising Physical Therapist Selection

The supervising physical therapist must be an individual who agrees to assist the applicant through the PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways program. They may be asked to provide clinical mentoring, selected clinical experiences, relief time for clinical mentoring, and/or professional and/or personal support to the applicant; all as permitted by facility and regulatory guidelines. They also agree to demonstrate professional behaviors and provide opportunities as they arise for the applicant to develop skills in advocacy, leadership, and mentoring. They agree to promote enhanced PT-PTA collaboration, including communication and documentation. They also are asked to sign off on the applicant’s submitted total work hours in the content area of the Advanced Proficiency Pathway at the conclusion of the program.

Mentor Selection

Participants are responsible to recruit their clinical mentor, who provides instruction and feedback until the PTA is able to perform interventions or behaviors independently, as indicated in provided assessment tool post-enrollment.

The clinical mentor is a PT who has demonstrated competency in the content area and has accepted responsibility for teaching and guiding the PTA through the clinical education component of the curriculum.

The clinical mentor and supervising physical therapist can be the same person, providing that the supervising physical therapist has the required skills to serve as a clinical mentor.

Postenrollment Program Requirements

Once enrolled in the program, candidates have up to five years to complete the following program requirements using the online submission portal:

  • Submission of evidence of completion of 60 contact hours of continuing education coursework (online or in person) within the designated specialty pathway. Course details and proof of completion required.
  • Completion of mentored clinical experiences (see mentor requirements above) with knowledge/skills assessments, conducted with previously designated clinical mentor. Final completed assessment document uploaded by clinical mentor.
  • Documentation of 2,000 clinical hours of work experience in the selected content area. Following submission, verification request emailed to designated supervising physical therapist.