Young boy on yoga ball doing physical therapy
Career Development September 10, 2012

By Brent Nau

Types of Physical Therapy Specialties

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) offers several specialist certification programs for licensed physical therapists. These programs provide formal recognition that physical therapists have the required advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills to become designated specialists in one of the eight areas of practice that the ABPTS certifies. 


Different Physical Therapy specialties Certified through the ABPTS


  • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Certified Specialist (CCS)
  • Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist(ECS)
  • Geriatric Certified Specialist(GCS)
  • Neurologic Certified Specialist(NCS)
  • Orthopedic Certified Specialist(OCS)
  • Pediatric Certified Specialist(PCS)
  • Sports Certified Specialist(SCS)
  • Women’s Health Certified Specialist (WCS)


Physical therapists who hold a current certification from ABPTS as a specialist can be referred to as a “board-certified physical therapy clinical specialist” or a “board-certified clinical specialist”. The appropriate designation uses the initials “CS” (Certified Specialist) followed by the initials of the specialty area. For example, a Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Certified Specialist would be designated by “CCS”.


PT Specialty Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum eligibility requirements for all physical therapist specialist certification examinations:
  • Must hold current license to practice physical therapy in the United States
  • Application review fee: $500 (APTA Member) / $845 (Non-APTA Member)
  • Examination fee: $800 (APTA Member) / $1,525 (Non-APTA Member)
  • Application Deadlines:
    • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, and Women’s Health
    • Geriatric, Neurologic, Orthopaedic, Pediatric, and Sports
  • See additional minimum eligibility requirements by specialty areas


Physical Therapy Specialist Statistics

  • The number of physical therapists that are currently certified specialists in the United States (as of June 2012).
  • Cardiovascular & Pulmonary (176)
  • Clinical Electrophysiology (156)
  • Geriatric (1,422)
  • Neurology (1,102)
  • Orthopedics (7,655)
  • Pediatrics (1,178)
  • Sports  (1,094)
  • Women’s Health (154)


Contact Us!

We're here to help.

Learn More About Allied Careers

* Indicates Required Fields


By clicking "SUBMIT" I agree to receive emails, automated text messages and phone calls (including calls that contain prerecorded content) from and on behalf of {{site_name}}, its parent, AMN Healthcare, and affiliates. I understand these messages will be to the email or phone number provided, and will be about employment opportunities, positions in which I’ve been placed, and my employment with AMN companies. See privacy policy or cookie policy for more details.

Allied Industry News

Where Allied travelers go for allied news and information, compiled by industry experts at Med Travelers.

infograph for top therapy trends in 2022


Top Trends in Allied Therapy Travel in 2022

Allied therapy travelers can expect plentiful job opportunities in 2022, among other travel therapy trends. See what’s changing in the months ahead.

Read Article
Top 10 Apps for Travel Therapists


Top 10 Apps for Travel Therapists

There are multiple mobile apps and websites available to assist travel therapists with everything from scanning, to driving directions, accommodations, and hiking.  Here’s a run-down of our favorite free or low-cost apps for busy travel medical professionals.

Read Article


The 12 Best Jobs in Health Care for 2022

Is your allied health job ranked among the Best Health Care Jobs? U.S. News’ 2022 list highlights the top health care professions, with several changes this year.

Read Article