Certification Pathways and Resources

Raise the Bar Higher

The specialist certification program was established in 1978 by the American Physical Therapy Association. The purpose of the program is to identify physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge and experience. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) coordinates and oversees the specialist certification process.

Are you considering taking the exam? Complete APTA’s Self-Assessment.

Resource List

The APTA Geriatrics resource list is free to download for members and nonmembers. We encourage anyone taking the Board Certification in Geriatric Physical Therapy exam to join APTA Geriatrics and further enhance your career in geriatric physical therapy.

 Download the Board-Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist Examination Resource List

View previous GCS Webinars On-Demand

Home Study Courses


Chair of the Geriatric Specialty Council of ABPTS

 Paras Goel, PT, DPT, MEd
 800/999-2782 ext. 8520

Chair, Geriatric Specialist Certification and Advanced Proficiency Pathways for PTAs Committee
Rachael Walton-Mouw, PT, DPT, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy


Reapplication Deadline – August 31
Application Deadline – July 31

Please note: Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the application and payment deadlines have been extended by three months, automatically, without prior approval. Applications are reviewed in order of submission; potential applicants are encouraged to apply prior to the deadline to expedite the review process. An option for an initial partial payment of the application fee will also be available (excluding reapplicants).

See the ABPTS website for more information.

Initial Certification Exam Fee Deadline – November 30
Scheduling Permits will be issued – January 16
2024 Exam Dates – February 28 – March 20, 2024

  1. Review the eligibility and application information on the ABPTS website
  1. You must complete one of the following two paths to Certification before applying for the exam:
    • Create a portfolio as outlined by ABPTS. Portfolios encompass independent completion of all requirements (including 2,000 hours of direct patient care in geriatric physical therapy) needed to become a board-certified clinical specialist. More detailed information and steps to complete Geriatric Specialty Certification via Portfolio can be found at www.abpts.org.
    • Complete an APTA-accredited post-professional clinical residency. A residency program is a post-professional planned learning experience that prepares physical therapists with the required knowledge and skills needed to become board-certified clinical specialists through structured mentored experiences. Please visit www.abptrfe.org for more information about APTA accredited residency programs in Geriatrics
  2. Start your preparation early!
  3. Complete the exam application from the ABPTS website
  4. Once approved by the ABPTS to sit for the exam, you will receive a letter (usually by January 1st) with instructions to schedule the exam at a local testing center (usually February and March).
  5. Prepare to take the Exam!
  6. Take the exam. Pass/fail notification usually arrives late June.
  7. All newly certified specialists will be recognized at the Combined Sections Meeting (held each year in February).

A geriatric clinical residency is a unique opportunity for you to develop skills and take courses in a mentored environment, to significantly advance your provision of geriatric PT and prepare you for Board Certification. The currently credentialed residency programs in geriatric physical therapy are listed on the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship webpage.

Application forms and information are available at https://specialization.apta.org. For more information, contact the Specialist Certification Program at 800-999-2782, ext 8520 or spec-cert@apta.org.