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Like any goal worth reaching, APTA Specialist Certification will challenge you.

You are better prepared to meet those challenges if you understand the process before you begin your journey.

1. Get a Lay of the Land.

Everything starts with your application and culminates with the exam. Review the dates and deadlines for pursuing initial certification.

2. Learn About Basic Requirements — And Additional Specialty-Specific Standards.

To achieve certification, you must be a PT with an unrestricted license, but that's just the most basic requirement. Find out how many and what kinds of experiential hours are accepted, and explore additional specialty specific requirements.

3. Focus on a Specialty's Application and Exam Process.

Among specialty areas, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to application and examination processes — but those differences must not be ignored. This page offers access to more information on each specialty, including links to the individual specialty candidate guides that are required reading before you apply.

4. Submit Your Application.

Once you understand the requirements to achieve certification, it's time to apply. Applications are due no later than September 30 (view early bird application dates here), and are reviewed in the order they are received.

5. Track Your Application Status.

The ABPTS specialist certification online portal allows you to follow the progress of your initial and recertification applications and keep up with announcements and deadlines.

6. Prepare for and Take the Exam.

ABPTS oversees a valid, reliable examination program that helps to ensure candidates possess the knowledge and skills associated with each specialist area. You can put yourself in the best possible position to succeed on the examination if you understand how the exam is built and take time to prepare by reviewing the Description of Specialty Practice for your chosen concentration. This page provides important details. Results are emailed to all examinees by June 30, and then made available through the online application portal.

7. Congratulations, You're Certified!

Time to celebrate—new specialists are honored each year at the APTA Specialty and Proficiency Ceremony, the opening event of APTAs Combined Sections Meeting. It's also time to learn how to promote your board certification and connect with the physical therapy specialist community.