What are the requirements in order to maintain the OCS credential?

ABPTS has developed a model for certification that focuses on continuing competence of the physical therapist specialist. This new model has been titled the “Maintenance of Specialist Certification” and includes the following elements:

  • Professional Standing and Direct Patient Care Hours
  • Commitment to Lifelong Learning Through Professional Development
  • Practice Performance Through Examples of Patient Care and Clinical Reasoning
  • Cognitive Expertise Through a Test of Knowledge in the Profession

Requirement 1: Professional Standing and Direct Patient Care Hours

  • In years 3, 6, and 9, a specialist must submit evidence of current licensure as a physical therapist in the United States or any of its possessions or territories.
  • In years 3, 6, and 9, a specialist must submit evidence of 200 hours of direct patient care acquired in the specialty area within the last 3 years. Direct patient care hours accrued in year 10 may be applied to the year 3 requirements for the next MOSC cycle.

Requirement 2: Commitment to Lifelong Learning Through Professional Development

  • Each board-certified specialist is obligated to participate in ongoing professional development, within his or her designated specialty area, which leads to a level of practice consistent with acceptable standards. Each specialist may choose to pursue professional development that leads to a level of practice beyond prevailing standards.
  • A web-based system to track continuing competence in a specialty area will be developed. This system will provide an individual account tracking mechanism for each specialist to record professional development activities during years 3, 6, and 9 of his or her certification cycle. There is not an hour requirement in this area, but the specialist must show evidence of professional development activities (equivalent to 10 MOSC credits) within 2 of the 3 designated activity categories in years 3, 6, and 9. By year 9, a specialist must have accrued a minimum of 30 MOSC credits and demonstrated professional development in each of the 3 designated activity categories. These activities include professional services, continuing education coursework, publications, presentations, clinical supervision and consultation, research, clinical instruction, and teaching

Requirement 3: Practice Performance Through Examples of Clinical Care and Reasoning

  • The purpose of this requirement is to document continuing competency in patient/client management in the specialty area.
  • The specialist will use an online system to complete 1 reflective portfolio submission in years 3, 6, and 9 of his or her certification cycle. These reflective portfolio submissions will be used to demonstrate the specialist’s use of clinical care and reasoning. Each submission must have a reflective component and must have documentation that reflects clinical reasoning.
  • These reflective portfolio submissions will not be scored but will be screened for completion of required information and reflection.

Requirement 4: Cognitive Expertise Through a Test of Knowledge in the Profession

  • The purpose of this requirement is to document continuing competency in patient/client management in the specialty area.
  • During year 10 of the certification cycle, the specialist will be required to sit for a recertification examination, comprising approximately 100 items. The exam will be specialty specific, assess an individual’s cognitive expertise in the specialty area, and reflect contemporary specialist practice.
  • The exam blueprint breakdown for this exam will mirror that of the initial certification exam, as noted in the various Descriptions of Specialty Practice. Items will be coded and pulled from existing specialty item banks.
  • Successful completion of requirements 1-3 are prerequisites for sitting for the recertification exam. If a specialist fails to receive a passing score after the first attempt, he or she will be permitted to sit for the exam 1 additional time and will maintain his or her certification during this 1-year grace period.

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