What is the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)?
You’ve probably heard of the American Medical Association (AMA). Maybe you’ve even heard of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). So what’s the equivalent for physical therapists? The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is an organization of more than 100,000 physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, and physical therapy students.¹ The APTA has many responsibilities and goals, one of which is to advocate on behalf of the physical therapy profession. Let’s dive in to learn more about the APTA, and you can learn more about our services to help you launch your physical therapy career here!
What Does the APTA Do?
The APTA is largely guided by its vision, which is:
“Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”²
As a professional organization, the APTA helps the physical therapy profession by advocating (such as to Congress), publishing research regarding physical therapy, hosting professional conferences, educating the public about physical therapy, and providing guidelines to the physical therapy profession whether through clinical recommendations or regulations.³
The APTA plays a leading role for physical therapy on the national and international stages. For example, the APTA has helped provide important information, resources, support, and guidelines to physical therapists during the COVID-19 pandemic.⁴ Additionally, the APTA and its members worked hard to urge Congress to decrease the payment cuts it was set to enforce through the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.⁵
The APTA plays an important role in organizing professional events, including the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM).⁶ CSM is an annual conference attended by thousands of physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, and physical therapy students. It offers attendees the chance to learn about the latest research surrounding physical therapy, network with other professionals, and understand new opportunities regarding tools, equipment, and innovation within physical therapy.
How is the APTA Organized?
The APTA is organized into 51 chapters which each represent one state and the District of Columbia (DC). Each state’s chapter is involved in advocacy efforts at the state level, networking events, and other regional projects.⁷
In addition to the 51 state chapters, the APTA offers various sections or academies. These sections usually revolve around specific topics such as fields within physical therapy. For example, there are sections that focus on neurology, pediatrics, sports, and aquatics, among others.⁷
Lastly, APTA members can be involved through special interest groups through their chapters and/or sections. These groups offer more specific professional guidance and networking.⁷
- Apta.org. 2021. About APTA. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/about-us> [Accessed 17 January 2021].
- Apta.org. 2021. Vision, Mission, and Strategic Plan. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/leadership-and-governance/vision-mission-and-strategic-plan> [Accessed 29 June 2021].
- Apta.org. 2021. APTA In 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/year-in-review/2020/apta-in-2020> [Accessed 17 January 2021].
- Apta.org. 2021. APTA In 2020, Part 1: Leadership In A Pandemic. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/year-in-review/2020/leadership-in-a-pandemic> [Accessed 17 January 2021].
- Apta.org. 2021. APTA In 2020, Part 4: Fighting The Medicare Payment Cut. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/apta-and-you/year-in-review/2020/apta-in-2020-part-4-fighting-the-medicare-payment-cut> [Accessed 17 January 2021].
- Apta.org. 2021. CSM. [online] Available at: <https://www.apta.org/csm> [Accessed 17 January 2021].
- Aptaapps.apta.org. 2021. Chapters And Sections. [online] Available at: <http://aptaapps.apta.org/componentconnection/chaptersandsections.aspx?UniqueKey=BCE953BC-256D-464A-9079-5081289D3CD1> [Accessed 17 January 2021].