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Physical Therapy Specialist Certification


Title: Physical Therapy Specialist Certification Author: Shelly Owens Last modified by: derekstepp Created Date: 2/10/2012 2:44:10 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physical Therapy Specialist Certification

Enhancing Professional Development through
Learning Objectives
  • Upon completion of this presentation, you'll be
    able to
  • Discuss the role of specialist certification in
    advancing your clinical practice and importance
    to our profession
  • Describe the current areas of specialty practice
  • Provide an overview and describe the process for
    ABPTS certification and Maintenance of Specialist
    Certification Program
  • Describe the minimum eligibility requirements and
    role of clinical residencies
  • Identify top motivations to pursue ABPTS
    specialist certification

The Path to Clinical Excellence
Clinical Excellence Dimensions
Multidimensional Patient centered
Philosophy of PT Practice
Caring Commitment
Collaborative process Reflection
Central focus Centered on function
Jensen GM et al (2000) Phys Ther 80(1)2843
Clinical Excellence Potential Pathways
  • Entry level degree
  • Years of experience
  • Continuing education
  • Postprofessional residency
  • Post-professional degrees
  • Post-professional certifications
  • Specialization board certification!

What is Clinical Specialization?
  • A formal process established to
  • recognize physical therapists with advanced
    clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a
    special area of practice
  • assist consumers and health care community in
    identifying physical therapists who are
  • address a specific area of patient need

Key Elements of Board Certification
What does Clinical Specialization Require?
  • Broad based foundation of physical therapy
    education and clinical practice
  • Depth and breadth of knowledge in a specialty
  • Advanced clinical expertise and skills

Purpose of Board Certification
  • Recognize specialists through established testing
    methods to ensure a defensible process, and a
    reliable and valid examination
  • Promote
  • highest possible level of physical therapy care
  • ongoing development of science and art underlying
    each specialty practice
  • Inform stakeholders of physical therapists who
    are certified in a specialty area

Areas of Specialty Practice Recognized through
ABPTS Board Certification
  1. Cardiovascular Pulmonary (CCS)
  2. Clinical Electrophysiologic (ECS)
  3. Geriatrics (GCS)
  4. Neurology (NCS)
  5. Orthopaedics (OCS)
  6. Pediatrics (PCS)
  7. Sports (SCS)
  8. Womens Health (WCS)

Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Clinical
Specialization Certification
  • Current license to practice physical therapy in
    the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto
    Rico, or Virgin Islands
  • 2,000 hours minimum of direct patient care
  • as a licensed physical therapist in the specialty
  • 25 (500 hrs) of which must have occurred in the
    last 3 years.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements
  • Direct patient care must include activities
  • in each element of the patient/client management
    model, as defined in the Guide to Physical
    Therapy Practice
  • included in the Description of Specialty Practice

Other Eligibility Requirements
  • Specific to the specialty
  • Emergency care certification (SCS)
  • ACLS certification, Data Analysis Project (CCS)
  • Patient reports (ECS)
  • Case reflections (WCS)

Other Option to Meet the Eligibility Requirements
for Specialty Certification
  • APTA Accredited Clinical Residency
  • Program of post-professional clinical and
    didactic education designed to advance the
    physical therapist's skill in a defined practice
  • Residency Curriculum - designed using the
    Description of Specialty Practice
  • Specialty councils may allow completion of an
    APTA-accredited clinical residency to replace all
    or a portion of the practice eligibility

Board Examination
  • Developed by the Specialty Councils, in
    collaboration with the
  • National Board of Medical Examiners
  • A rigorous, criterion referenced exam that tests
    the application and synthesis of
  • advanced knowledge
  • clinical skills reasoning

Where to Start?
  • Description of Specialty Practice
  • Self-Assess strengths and weakness
  • Consider patient populations that are familiar
    and not as familiar
  • Develop a plan and strategy to prepare.
  • Your patients are your best teachers!

Description of Specialty Practice (DSP)
  • Describes the advanced knowledge, skills, and
    abilities for clinical practice in a specialty
  • Based on the results of an extensive practice
  • conducted by Specialty Councils and approved by
  • Guides the development of the certification exam

Components of the Examination
  • Patient Care
  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Consultation
  • Communication
  • Interpretation of Research
  • As defined by a specific DSP

Path towards Clinical Specialization
  • Board certified specialists
  • Knowledge and skills
  • Continuing education
  • Post professional clinical residency
  • Post professional education

Preparing for the Board Certification
  • Continuously review and adapt your path
  • Use resources from APTA Sections
  • Recommended textbooks
  • Reading lists
  • Advanced Clinical Practice Courses
  • Join a study group
  • Seek the guidance of a mentor
  • Attend continuing education
  • ? ABPTS does not approve or review material or
    course content ?

Links to APTA Section Websites
  1. Cardiovascular Pulmonary http//www.cardiopt.or
  2. Clinical Electrophysiologic http//www.aptasce-wm
  3. Geriatrics http//
  4. Neurology http//
  5. Orthopaedics http//
  6. Pediatrics http//
  7. Sports http//
  8. Womens Health http//

Specialist Certification Application Process
Specialist Certification Fees
APTA Member Non-Member
Application Review 515 860
Examination 800 1,525
Total 1,315 2,385
Board Certification is valid for ten years
Possible Sources of Financial Assistance
  • Continuing education funds through employer
  • Scholarships
  • Section on Pediatrics Carol Gildenberg Dichter
    Memorial Fund Scholarship

When is the certification exam administered?
  • Once per year, over a two-week exam period
  • Candidates may sit for the exam between February
    and March
  • 2016 February 27-March 12

Examination Format
  • Computerized exams, administered at Prometric
    test centers worldwide
  • Multiple choice questions including case
    scenarios, videos, and pictures

Recognition of Certified Clinical Specialists
  • Opening Ceremony of APTA Combined Sections
  • APTA sections and State chapters
  • Inclusion in online Directory of Certified
  • Only individuals who have successfully completed
    the ABPTS certification process may use the term
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist

Board-Certified Clinical Specialists
  • Who Are They?

Number of Certified Specialists by YearTotal as
of June 2014 16,138 individuals
Certified Specialists by Area
Cardiovascular Pulmonary CCS 218
Clinical Electrophysiologic ECS 163
Geriatrics GCS 1721
Neurology NCS 1530
Orthopaedics OCS 9505
Pediatrics PCS 1378
Sports SCS 1424
Womens Health WCS 226
Total in 2014 16,138
Certified Clinical Specialists Age
Data current as of June 2014
Certified Clinical Specialists Gender
Data current as of June 2014
Certified Clinical Specialists Work Settings
  1. Private PT Offices
  2. Health systems or hospital-based outpatient
    facility or clinics
  3. Academic Institutions

Certified Clinical Specialists Positions Held
  1. Supervisor/Director of PT
  2. Staff or Senior PT
  3. Sole Owner/Partner PT Practice
  4. Academic Faculty

Why do physical therapists become Board
Certified Clinical Specialists?
Perspective on ABPTS Specialization
Initial Certification Starting Point
To stay current and advanced in PT practice
To be a lifelong learner
Top Motivations to Pursue ABPTS Certification
  • Professional career goal
  • Personal challenge or achievement
  • Earn a credential that reflects advanced practice
    to patients, physicians, payers
  • Proof of expertise in specialty area

Source Survey of certified specialists (2013)
Positive Impact of Board Certification
  • Sense of personal achievement
  • Self-confidence professional growth
  • Patient care, including better outcomes
  • Increased credibility with patients referral
  • Recognition in clinical, academic and community

Source Survey of certified specialists (2007)
How has board specialty certification influenced
the careers of Specialists?
  • Opened doors for professional growth
  • Consultations
  • Invited Presentations
  • New job opportunities
  • Leadership service
  • Teaching opportunities
  • Research collaboration
  • Networking

Service Opportunities Related to Specialization
Employer Support of ABPTS Certification
  • 53 pay at least some of the costs associated
    with obtaining clinical specialization.
  • 43 give priority in hiring to job applicants who
    are board certified.
  • Employers value the expertise of specialist.
  • Have high patient care standards
  • Serve as mentors for others
  • Provide team leadership

Value of ABPTS Certification to Certified
  • 79 report that certification is an indicator of
    clinical competence
  • 90 report that certification is an indicator of
    depth and breadth of knowledge in an area of
    specialty practice
  • High rate (68) of specialists choose to

Source Survey of certified specialists (2007)
Specialist Recertification Purpose
  • Verify current competence as an advanced
    practitioner in a specialty area
  • Encourage ongoing education and professional

Specialist Recertification Requirements
  • For specialists certified before 2013
  • Direct patient care hours in specialty (2000 hr)
  • AND
  • Professional Development Portfolio
  • Current written examination
  • OR
  • Graduation from a credentialed APTA clinical

Professional Development Portfolio (PDP)
  • Documentation of professional development
    activities and advanced clinical practice related
    to specialty practice, since initial
  • Examples
  • Continuing Education courses
  • Clinical Supervision
  • College/University courses
  • Teaching continuing education or college courses
  • Research presentations
  • Presentations to professional groups or
  • Presentations to community or client-based groups
  • Author or editor of book chapters, journal
    articles, grant proposals
  • Committee membership in professional organization
  • Consultation

MOSC Purpose and Model
  • More effectively verify current competence as an
    advanced practitioner in the specialty area
  • More effectively evaluate professional
    development and clinical experience
  • Better encourage ongoing education and
    professional growth
  • Keep pace with the rapidly expanding specialty
    knowledge base and scientific evidence that
    guides clinical decision-making
  • Promote improved health outcomes related to
    physical therapy specialty services

Maintenance of Specialist Certification
Certification Cycle
Minimum Eligibility Requirements of MOSC
  • 1. Professional Standing and Direct Patient Care
  • Evidence of Current Licensure as a physical
    therapist in the United States, the District of
    Columbia, Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands
  • Direct Patient Care in the Specialty Area
  • Evidence of 200 hours of direct patient care in
    the specialty practice within each three (3) year
    submission period
  • Hours accrued in year 10 applied to the next
    three year submission period

Minimum Eligibility Requirements of MOSC
  • 2. Commitment to Life Long Learning through
    Professional Development
  • Mimics the information captured in the current
    PDP (professional services, continuing education
    coursework, publications, presentations, clinical
    supervision and consultation, research, clinical
    instruction, teaching)
  • Minimum requirements for each three (3)
    submission period across three (3)designated
    activity areas
  • Minimum of 10 MOSC credits, within 2 of the 3
    designated activity categories, in years 3, 6,
    and 9. By year 9, a specialist must have accrued
    a minimum of 30 MOSC credits, and demonstrated
    professional development in each of the 3
    designated activity categories.
  • A web-based submission/tracking system

Minimum Eligibility Requirements of MOSC
  • 3. Practice Performance through Examples of
    Clinical Care and Clinical Reasoning
  • Online submission of one (1) Reflective Portfolio
    for each three (3) year submission period
  • Demonstrate the clinical care and reasoning
    utilized and reflect how a patient case(s) has
    impacted practice
  • Not scored, but screened for completion of
    required information and reflection

Minimum Eligibility Requirements of MOSC
  • 4. Cognitive Expertise through Examination
  • Recertification examination, comprised of
    approximately 100 items in year ten.
  • Exam blueprint will mirror that of initial
    certification exam/DPS, but will reflect
    contemporary specialist practice and allow a
    specialist to demonstrate continued competency in
    general areas of the profession (professional
    roles, responsibilities, values)
  • Successful completion of requirements 1-3 at each
    three (3) year submission period are
  • Permitted two attempts without loss of credential

MOSC Timeline
Transition Implementation Phase 2013-16
  • All individuals who are newly certified or
    recertified as of 2013 will be subject to the new
    MOSC process.
  • This will include a waiver of the first 3-year
    requirements, meaning that
  • board-certified specialists certified or
    recertified in 2013 and 2014, and those who will
    certify and recertify in 2015, will be required
    to fulfill the year 6 (second 3-year)
    requirements beginning in 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • As of 2016, all individuals who will newly
    certify or recertify will be subject to the MOSC
    process, as described, in its entirety.

Timeline for MOSC Implementation
  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030  
2012 4 5 6 7 8 9 10-PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5        
2013 3 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam 1 2 MOSC 4        
2014 2 3 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam 1 2 MOSC        
2015 1 2 3 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam 1 2        
2016 PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam 1        
2017   PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam        
2018     PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam      
2019       PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam    
2020         PDP 1 2 MOSC 4 5 MOSC 7 8 MOSC 10-Exam  
For more information contact
APTA Department of Postprofessional
Certification and Credentialing 1111 North
Fairfax Street Alexandria, VA 22314 800/999-2782,
ext 8520
Literature about Specialization or Specialists
  • Conrad S. Taking on the Specialist Certification
    Exam - And Winning. Perspectives for New
    Professionals of the American Physical Therapy
    Association. February, 2013.
  • Stepp DD. Focus your career Specialist
    Certification. Perspectives for New
    Professionals of the American Physical Therapy
    Association. May, 2010.
  • Bryan J, Blake A. How do other health care
    professionals view specialist certification? PT
    Magazine. 200412(9)54-57.
  • Bryan J, Gill-Body K, Blake A. How employers
    view specialist certification. PT Magazine.
  • Thompson M. The role of higher education in the
    career paths of board-certified clinical
    specialists in geriatric physical therapy
    implications for professional and post
    professional education. J Phys Ther Educ.

Literature about Specialization or Specialists
  • Hart DL, Dobrzykowski EZ. Influence of
    orthopaedic clinical specialist certification on
    clinical outcomes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.
  • Milidonis MK, Godges JJ, Jensen GM. Nature of
    clinical practice for specialists in orthopaedic
    physical therapy. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.
  • Ellison J, Becker M, Nelson AJ. Attitudes of
    physical therapists who possess sports specialist
    certification. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.

Literature about Specialization or Specialists
  • Smith LC. The decision to specialize. PT
    Magazine. 20019(6)52-59
  • Edmonds MM. What if? PT Magazine.
  • Wynn KE. Why recertify? PT Magazine.
  • Williams DO. Answering the bell PTs school
    sports. PT Magazine. 19964(12)36-39
  • Woods EN. Whats so special about specialist
    certification? PT Magazine. 19942(2)46-51
  • Ferrier MPB. One stage in professional evolution.
    Clinical Management. 199111(2)66-70