Joining the Education Section


What is the Education Section?


The Education Section, one of the oldest of the American Physical Therapy Association, is dedicated to the development of each new generation of physical therapy practitioners, a dynamic cadre of academic educators, and a store of knowledge useful to consumers for enhancing their own musculoskeletal health. The Section serves as a point of contact for those interested in patient and professional education, and a mechanism for networking and professional development. The operative philosophies that support the entire Education Section involve a commitment to excellence in education, scholarship about education and leadership within the profession that relies so heavily on the teaching and learning process to support and maintain health.

The Education Section is committed to meeting the needs of all persons concerned with the progress, growth and development of education in physical therapy. Section members recognize that education in physical therapy is a multi-faceted process including didactic and clinical components which are implemented in a variety of learning environments. In some way, every physical therapists and physical therapist assistant is engaged in education: with patients, clients, and families, with students and colleagues, and with their own professional development. It is the purpose of the Education Section to support these educational efforts through communication among our members and with our professional community, through action within our Association and in our educational environments, and through investigation and scholarship related to education in physical therapy.

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Education Section's Goals:


  • Standards of Practice:  Provide support for the PT and PTA educator role by disseminating accessible resources on evidence based teaching and learning principles, methods and strategies
    • Strategy:   Form strategic alliances with other APTA sections to foster PT and PTAs in their role as educators in various aspects of physical therapy practice
  • Research:  Promote scholarly activities and access to new knowledge that facilitates evidenced based educational practices
  • Education:  Increase professional development opportunities to enhance the various educator roles in physical therapy practice.
    • Strategy:  Develop opportunities by segment (patient/community, continuing professional development, academic, clinical instructor)

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Education Section Activities


  • Programming at both Combined Sections and Annual APTA conferences
  • Sponsoring annual pre-conference workshops at Combined Sections meetings
  • Publishing the Journal of Physical Therapy Education
  • Publishing the Education Section Bulletin (the Official Member Newsletter of the Education Section)
  • Representing the membership on educational issues to various APTA components, task forces, and to the APTA Board of Directors
  • Conducting national conferences on educational issues in physical therapy
  • Supporting three special interest groups within the Section


Membership Benefits


  • Education Section Web site –keep up-to-date on Section activities and resources,
  • Connect with over 3000 other PT professionals through the Section Listserv. The Listserv is also open to individuals in academic settings. To join now, visit the listserv page.
  • Receive a new member welcome email within 60 days of becoming a member, including a membership form to join any or all of the special interest groups.
  • All members receive JOPTE four times a year.
  • Members can participate in the Section’s election process and will receive a ballot to elect Section officers.
  • Blast e-mails go to Section members with known e-mail. Messages include notification of abstracts being accepted for CSM, deadlines for submission of articles for JOPTE, reminders to register for upcoming courses, etc.
  • Leadership Opportunities --Education Section members are encouraged to become active as a committee chair, Special Interest Group leader or Executive Committee member. Members in good standing who have consented to serve are eligible for election to office.
  • A Voice in the Education Field -- Your Section delegate speaks on behalf of your interests at the APTA House of Delegates.
  • Receive Rreduced Rates on Education Programs
    • Pre-conference courses at APTA’s Combined Sections Meeting
    • Academic Administrators Special Interest Group meetings
    • Clinical Education Special Interest Group meetings

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Special Interest Groups


The various educational interests within the Education Section have produced three areas of intense activity. Each special interest group (SIG) has established its own governance, activities and annual programming. The SIGs are each supported in part by funds from the Education Section, and are complimentary to Education Section members.

The Academic Faculty Special Interest Group (AFSIG) serves as a forum for sharing and exchanging information about faculty matters and as an advocacy group for academic faculty in addressing issues of concern in physical therapy education. As the Section's newest special interest group, the AFSIG has generated excitement among academic faculty from different content backgrounds to come together over issues of teaching, scholarship and service.

The Clinical Education Special Interest Group (CESIG) serves as a resource and forum for individuals who have a professional concern for the coordination, implementation, and evaluation of clinical education for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The CESIG has created a significant and lasting relationship between members of academic programs and clinical facilities in addressing needs of clinical education from both of these perspectives.

The Physical Therapist Assistant Educators Special Interest Group (PTAESIG) serves as a resource and forum for individuals who have an interest in physical therapist assistant education. The PTAESIG provides a vehicle for increasing and improving the communication among educators in Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) programs. Through this increased communication, the PTAESIG has promoted continuing education for PTA faculty in areas pertinent to their teaching responsibilities.

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Awards and Scholarships


  • Leadership in Education Award is the highest honor given to an Education Section member. It is presented to a Section member who has exhibited outstanding leadership throughout his or her career as shown by contributions to physical therapy education.
  • Distinguished Educator Award recognizes outstanding contributions to physical therapy educators.
  • Adopt-A-Doc Scholarship seeks to increase the number of doctorally prepared faculty teaching in PT and PTA education programs by providing financial support to current or former PT or PTA faculty members who are in the dissertation phase of their doctoral programs.
  • Polly Cerasoli Lectureship: The Cerasoli Lectureship is an annual event at CSM honoring Pauline "Polly" Cerasoli, PT, EdD, a distinguished educator who has a long and illustrious career in physical therapy spanning nearly 40 years. Recipients of the lectureship are those who distinguish themselves, as Cerasoli does, as an esteemed leader, educator, administrator, practitioner, and mentor.
  • Linda Crane Memorial Lecture Award: To acknowledge an individual who has made outstanding and enduring contributions to the practice of physical therapy as exemplified in the professional career of Linda Crane. This award is made by the Cardiopulmonary Section, and supported by the Education Section.

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