The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties certifies physical therapists in cardiovascular and pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, geriatrics, neurology and orthopedics specialties. Other specialties include pediatrics, sports and women's health. Certification signifies documented training in that specialty. A physical therapist does not need certification to provide care.
A student first earns a general education in physical therapy before completing additional study in a specialty. In order to be recognized in one of the eight specialties, the physical therapist must document at least 2,000 hours practiced in the specialty or complete a residency in the area of specialty. The residency must be supervised by a certified specialist. Some specialties have specific requirements. For example, a physical therapist earning a specialty in sports physical therapy must spend time practicing physical therapy within a sports venue.