Physical therapists enjoy great benefits like high salaries and job growth. This is also a very rewarding profession because it gives you the opportunity to help people recover and live healthier lives. However, you may be wondering how you can advance your career more rapidly. Sometimes, this requires more than simply by gaining experience. Perhaps one of the quickest ways to promote your own career growth is to look into gaining extra physical therapy certifications! If you’re still figuring out what kind of PT you are, it’s important to explore specialty options. You can do this easily by applying for physical therapy certifications. In addition to helping you discover opportunities in your field, these certifications are also a great way to distinguish yourself from other physical therapists!
What You Should Know About Physical Therapy Certifications
Options for Certification
Currently, the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS), an arm of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), offers nine distinct specialty certifications. Continue reading for a complete list of these physical therapy certifications!
1. Cardiovascular & Pulmonary
Despite the first certification exam in this specialty being administered over 30 years ago, the ABPTS had only certified 349 specialists in this field as of June 2019.
2. Clinical Electrophysiology
Also available for more than 30 years, the clinical electrophysiology specialty is even less common. Since 1986, less than 200 specialists have been certified in this discipline.
Geriatric physical therapists are certainly more common than either of the first specialties. As of June 2019, the ABPTS had certified 3,065 geriatric physical therapy specialists.
While neurology is less common than geriatrics, the ABPTS has certified 3,035 neurology physical therapy specialists. The first neurology certification exam was offered in 1987.
Oncology is the most recently approved physical therapy specialty. In fact, 2019 is the first year that a certification examination has been administered for it. Therefore, the ABPTS has only certified 68 oncology specialists thus far.
Orthopedics is by far the most popular physical therapy specialty. As a result, the ABPTS has certified 15,596 orthopedics specialists. Some of these specialists have been certified since the first exam was administered in 1989.
Pediatric specialists make up 2,041 of ABPTS certified physical therapists. Physical therapists have been able to take this certification examination since 1986.
While many people associate sports therapy with physical therapy, only 2,411 sports specialists have been certified since 1987. Of course, this is still a substantial number of specialists, but it is far from the majority.
9. Women’s Health
Last but certainly not least, women’s health specialists make up 489 of ABPTS certified physical therapists.
Why Become Physical Therapy Specialty Certified?
Career advancement is important for all physical therapists, regardless of their years of experience. There are several reasons why physical therapy certifications are so beneficial. For example, employer’s tend to view specialty certified physicians much more favorably than those without any certifications. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you must be certified to be successful. However, both employers and patients are more likely to want to work with you if you do have a certification. This, in and of itself, could be a compelling reason for you to consider pursuing physical therapy certifications. Another major reason to consider becoming certified is that you could potentially earn a greater salary. After all, employers are often willing to pay more in order to attract more qualified candidates. Similarly, patients may be willing to pay more to work with experts in their field.
Whatever your reason is for looking into physical therapy certifications, there is definitely a lot to consider. If you’re looking for a new job, you should think about applying for positions that specifically look for ABPTS certified candidates. This will help you understand the benefits of gaining physical therapy certifications. Do you have questions about specialty certifications? Let us know in the comments below!