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The ABPTS (American Board of Specialties)

18 October 2009 No Comment

 

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) is a section of the American Physical Therapy Association (ABPT). This section of the ABPT places in order and is in charge of the process for specialist certification. They take the responsibility as the governing body for certification and recertification of clinical specialists. The America Physical Therapy Association (APTA) the principal professional organization that stands for physical therapist members within the US established this specialist certification program in 1978.

The ABPTS consists of nine distinct individuals with different backgrounds. These individuals consist of five board-certified physical therapists with different specialty areas, a physical therapist representing the APTA Council of Section Presidents, a highly skilled person in testing, a member of the APTA Board of Directors who is a physical therapist, and a person who stands for the public that is not a physical therapist. The assignment of the ABPTS according to the APTA “is to improve public health by advancing clinical excellence in physical therapy practice through credentialing clinical specialists.”

The minimum requirements for certification and recertification of specialists are set by the ABTS. They’re responsible for approving and recommending to the APTA formation of new specialty areas. The ABTS approve and form specialty councils in areas sanctioned by the House of Delegates. Supervising specialty council activities is also their responsibility as well as approving the certification and recertification of candidates for specialist certification. They are also responsible for the development and revision of policies and procedures related to the specialist and recertification process.

Board Certification and Specialties

To be certified in a physical therapy specialty area is the process in which a physical therapist increases their fundamental professional education and experience to acquire outstanding skills and knowledge that is related to a particular area of practice. The certification specialist process was created to provide recognition of physical therapists with highly developed clinical knowledge and skills in a special area of practice. The designation of a specialist is very helpful for consumers and those in the health care community to acknowledge these therapists. Seven specialty areas physical therapists can pursue for board-certification are Cardiovascular and Pulmonary (CCS), Geriatric (GCS), Neurologic (NCS), Orthopedic (OCS), Pediatric (PCS), Clinical Electrophysiology (CES), and Sports (SCS). All the initials are abbreviations that represent each specialty area used by physical therapists that have been board-certified as specialists to note this achievement. Currently there are 8,408 physical therapists with specialty certifications. The outline by specialty areas is 135 Cardiopulmonary, 136 Clinical Electrophysiologic, 927 Geriatric, 669 Neurologic, 4979 Orthopedic, 854 Pediatric, and 708 Sports.

Specific conditions outlined by the ABPTS for each specialty prior to certification can occur. The least possible clinical hours, taking part in research and proof of emergency care competency are just some examples of the requirements that must be accomplished before a licensed physical therapist can take a specialty certification exam. The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) supplies test development and administration of the specialist certification examinations. This association works in partnership with ABPTS to create the tests in specialty areas. These computer-based exams are only administered at proctoring centers. In order to receive a specialty certification you must pass the examination with a score of 500.

The costs associated with attaining an ABPTS clinical specialization certification are sometimes covered by employers. The most recent survey by the ABPTS states that private practice clinics and acute care hospitals are the entities more likely to help with these costs. A few of the incentives for physical therapists to pursue specialty certifications are salary increases, job title change and/or additional authority or responsibilities at work. Physical therapists who are board-certified specialists are most often given priority in the hiring process.

Physical therapists that have successfully attained certification in a specialty area are required to have recertification every ten years. The re certification is to verify a therapist’s up-to-date competence as a skilled practitioner in a specialty area. Physical therapists performing in an area of specialty are encouraged to go after continuing education and professional research. A therapist who retains their certification is showing their commitment to clinical superiority.

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