To increase PTAs’ knowledge and skills in a select area of physical therapy, in 2004 APTA established a program called Recognition of Advanced Proficiency for the Physical Therapist Assistant. In 2014 APTA launched a companion program, PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways (PTA APP). By 2016 it was clear that PTA APP could encompass the goals of both programs, and APTA elevated it to the premier advanced proficiency program for PTAs, ending the earlier program.
The PTA APP program was developed with multiple approaches to help applicants gain and demonstrate proficiency in areas of interest that include acute care, cardiovascular and pulmonary, geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, and wound management. These approaches include online core courses common to all the APPs, content-specific courses for the selected area of work, and experiences with a qualified mentor of the participant’s choosing. One purpose of the mentor was to encourage the participant to stay on the pathway and arrive at advanced proficiency as efficiently as possible.