The American Physical Therapy Association is the body that oversees all aspects of physical therapy and those that employ the practice. To date, this organization has over 70,000 members all dedicated to maintaining the strictest code set forth by the Association. The American Physical Therapy Association has a rich and deep history but its goal has essentially remained the same: advancing the research, practice and education of physical therapy.
It was a woman named Mary McMillan that first formed the American Physical Therapy Association in the late 1930’s. At that time, the association had a meager 1,000 members who were called reconstruction aides. The Association underwent several changes throughout the years. Not only did the education for physical therapists take on a more formal and rigid standard but the needs for those wishing to become physical therapists became far more specialized and advanced. Also, innovations and new techniques helped in the advancement of physical therapy. The American Physical Therapy Association oversees all the procedures and practices used by their therapists. Today, the American Physical Therapist Association insures that all procedures and practices are at the highest quality and standard for the diagnosis, treatment, and well being of the patient.
The American Physical Therapy Association has several guidelines and bylaws governed by a Board of Directors, delegates and several committees. There is a chapter in every state and even in Puerto Rico. Some of the sections of concern for the American Physical Therapy Association include aquatic physical therapy or hydrotherapy, neurology, pediatrics and women’s health. There are several more areas and sections that the Association focuses on and will no doubt continue to expand on in the coming years.
In addition to the other various responsibilities, The American Physical Therapy Association is responsible for the training of the physical therapists and the continued education of these therapists. The American Physical Therapy Association offers a residency and fellowship accreditation, as well as career planning and providing the necessary resources for specialization in any physical therapy field, all which are helpful and even vital for physical therapists to continue their practice. Seminars and additional courses are offered that will expand the knowledge of the physical therapist. The Association is also an educational tool for the public. Information is offered by the American Physical Therapy Association to those who are about to begin or are wondering about physical therapy.
From its humble beginnings to its present day state, The American Physical Therapy Association is the main governing body that insures and maintains the practice of physical therapy. The association continues to break new ground in research and tools that aid in the rehabilitation and well being of the public.