1985

First Exams for Specialist Certification Held.

In February 1985, three physical therapists celebrate receiving the first advanced specialist certifications awarded. Left to right: Linda Crane; Scot Irwin; and Meryl Cohen. All three earned specialist certifications in cardiopulmonary physical therapy.

In February 1985, three physical therapists celebrate receiving the first advanced specialist certifications awarded. Left to right: Linda Crane; Scot Irwin; and Meryl Cohen. All three earned specialist certifications in cardiopulmonary physical therapy.

Hear Lynda Woodruff's thoughts on her involvement in the development and evolution of clinical specialization.

As APTA’s special interest sections developed, a natural extension was the continued growth of specialist certification. The complex process of creating the appropriate mechanism for voluntary certification, which started in the mid-1970s, began to bear fruit in 1985, when the first three candidates — Linda Crane, Scot Irwin, and Meryl Cohen — took the exam and received Advanced Certification in Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy.

Added in subsequent years were specialist certification in clinical electrophysiologic physical therapy and pediatric physical therapy in 1986, neurologic physical therapy and sports physical therapy in 1987, orthopaedic physical therapy in 1989, geriatric physical therapy in 1992, women’s health physical therapy in 2006, and oncologic physical therapy in 2016. In the first decade following the introduction of the certification system, more than a thousand candidates achieved certification, and the numbers grew annually.

« Back to Timeline