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Pathways to Board Certification for Physical Therapists

March 17, 2021 • Business

Board certification is an important milestone for physical therapists looking to be lifelong learners and leaders in physical therapy. Sitting for the test can be difficult and uncertain, but it doesn’t have to be. You can choose a path that provides advanced training and prepares you for board certification. Is board certification for you?

Why should you get board certified?

Board certification gives you recognition as a leader in your health care community. Fewer than 10% of physical therapists are American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) board-certified specialists. Getting board certified sets you apart with patients, fellow physical therapists and referral sources.

Board certification shows you have specialized, advanced clinical proficiency in both knowledge and skills to treat patients effectively. Employers will see your commitment to your practice and the hard work it takes to achieve better outcomes for your patients, and they may often reward those efforts with a pay raise. Patients who are looking for specific help can find you by your credentials and seek out your specialized knowledge and skills.

From a business perspective, board certification distinguishes you from other physical therapists when you are building provider referral relationships. The credential proves your qualification in the specialized area of care that they are looking for.

How do you prepare for board certification?

There are several different pathways you can take to get your board certification. Choosing the right path depends on many factors, like where you are in your career (just starting out or experienced), the time commitment you’re able to make, and your preference. Here’s a look at the paths available to you through educational offerings at EIM.

Prepare for Board Certification through a PT Residency + Test Prep Course

Length: 12-18 months of coursework

This is the option for new clinicians who want a mentor on their path to board specialization. Doing a residency helps you in your clinical practice through focusing on clinical excellence, clinical reasoning, and clinical outcomes – all guided by a clinical mentor.

Your residency mentor is the most important part of your residency experience. They will give you the extra attention you want and need as a brand-new clinician. At EIM, our residencies are tailored for your work and life circumstances. Program advisors work with you to match you with a mentor who will give you quality guidance throughout your residency. If you already have a job at a clinic and a qualified mentor at that clinic, we have a residency track for you as well.

The test prep course is also a key part of preparing for board certification because it offers assessments and a community of learners to help you during the study process before you sit for your test. Our residency programs and test prep course are packaged together, giving you access to our test prep courses with over 95% pass rates from course participants.

Prepare for Board Certification with a Specialty Certification + Test Prep Course

Length: 12 months of coursework

If you have some years of experience and a desire to dive deeper into a specific practice area, a certification plus a test prep course could be the pathway for you. A specialty certification gives you specialized training in a specific practice area, allowing you to become proficient in clinical practice.

EIM offers certifications in various specialty areas including, orthopaedics, pelvic health, sports and more. Combine a certification with our test prep course for serious board certification preparation.

CE courses + Test Prep Course

Length: 6-12 months of coursework

If you want to take your time working through weekend courses and applying your knowledge and skills in the clinic, this may be your pathway. You can take a series of CE courses and build your own education pathway and clinical practice. After reaching the clinical hour requirement outlined by the ABPTS and taking a test prep course, you will be ready to sit for your boards.

Test Prep Course

Length: 4 months of coursework

Clinicians who have many years of experience may be ready to take a test prep course and sit for your board exam. EIM’s test prep courses are open on a yearly cycle leading up to the test dates. Starting with a pre-test to gauge the areas where you need help studying, the test prep courses will curate lectures to help build your knowledge in your challenge areas. Test prep courses will give you that extra push to be prepared to achieve board certification.

Whatever your pathway to board certification, move forward and prepare yourself for the next level of your career.

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