Advanced Competency in Home Health FAQs

Question: How will this program benefit me?

Answer: The APTA Home Health's Advanced Competency in Home Health program synthesizes current evidence-based practice and tailors it to the unique physical therapy setting of home health. This program enables home health agencies, outpatient practices that provide home care physical therapy, and individual physical therapists to enhance efficacy and efficiency of treatment of their home health patients and clients.

  • For clinicians entirely new to home care: This program will prepare you for the unique characteristics of practicing in the home care setting. This includes an in-depth orientation to performing either patient assessments (PTs) or cardiopulmonary assessments of patients (PTAs) in their homes, recommended tests and measures to assess patient performance, and instruction in the regulatory requirements specific to home care. The program also will give you needed supplementary education in pharmacology to prepare you for medication review with home care patients, and will provide advanced tools for managing some of the most common treatment scenarios encountered in home care.
  • For therapists already practicing in home care: This program will allow you to increase and test your expertise in home health. The program will also bring you up-to-date on regulatory requirements and best practice in the home care setting. Most important, success in this program distinguishes you as an advanced clinician in home health.
  • For agencies and practices providing home care physical therapy services: This program enables you to ensure that the physical therapists you employ are adequately trained to work autonomously in the home health field. Whether you send new hires or existing staff through the advanced competency program, it’s an important investment in your peace of mind.

Question: How do I register?

Answer: APTA Home Health asks that you complete this form at the time that you decide to pursue this certification. 

Question: What do I do to complete the program?

Answer: Requirements vary slightly depending upon whether you are a PT or a PTA. Follow the program requirements for each from the main Advanced Competency in Home Health program page. You must successfully complete the requirements within a 24-month period.

Question: Can PTAs enroll?

A: Yes! We rolled out program requirements for PTAs in August of 2018. 

Question: I am a student. Can I participate?

Answer: Students may take the e-learning courses but are not eligible to register for the face-to-face course or earn the certificate for the Advanced Competency in Home Health program until they have graduated and are licensed. You must be a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant to participate. 

Question: Are CEUs available for Advanced Competency in Home Health courses?

Answer: CEU information for courses offered through APTA's Learning Center is available here. Note that in some cases, CEU applications may be in-progress for an individual course. The face-to-face on-site Advanced Competency course is sponsored solely by the Home Health Section and we will apply for CEU approval in the host state (if required) and in some cases, surrounding states. We will include the state approvals in the course information. Our courses are automatically accepted by some states and we are an approved provider by New York. It's important for professionals to be familiar with state continuing education requirements when determining whether or not a course is likely to be accepted by the state licensing board.

Question: How long does it take to complete the Advanced Certification in Home Health?

Answer: That depends upon the participant. Contact hours for the program total roughly 40 hours for the Physical Therapist Track and approximately 32 for the Physical Therapist Assistant Track. Many of the program courses are self-paced via online learning. The clock begins ticking when you register for the first program e-learning course. If you need longer than 24 months due to exceptional circumstances you can petition APTA Home Health in writing for an extension.

Question: What happens if I don't complete the program within 24 months?

Answer: The 24-month requirement is designed to ensure that candidates complete courses that are current and up-to-date. If you don't complete the program within 24 months, you'll be required to re-register and complete the course requirements again.

Question: How much does the program cost?

Answer: It depends upon your Section/APTA membership status. Current fees are listed here. Note that APTA members will save more than $200 by joining the Home Health Section for a $45/year. Non-members save almost $700 by joining the APTA and the Home Health Section prior to participation.

Question: When and where are the face-to-face courses?

Answer: For the foreseeable future, the two-day course is available annually as a pre-conference course at APTA's Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). At least one additional PT Track course will be scheduled annually in various U.S. locations. See the Home Health Section Calendar of Events for available courses. The Physical Therapist Assistant Track face-to-face course is currently available only at Combined Sections Meeting.

Question: If I complete this program, will I be a certified home health physical therapist?

Answer: No. You will earn a certificate and pin in Advanced Competency in Home Health, which is an assessment-based certificate in home health physical therapy. It is not a credential. This program is not recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists, or ABPTS. Individuals who successfully complete this program may use the following terminology: “Certificate of Advanced Competency in Home Health.”

Question: Can I take individual courses without taking the entire program?

Answer: Yes, you may take the e-learning courses individually without the intention of completing the Advanced Competency in Home Health program. However, your must complete the 4 to participate in the face-to-face course.

Question: What's required to pass examinations?

Answer: Each course includes an online, multiple choice examination requiring a passing score of 70% or greater. The number of questions varies depending upon the duration of the course, but typically 15 – 25 questions. Participants may retake tests for online modules twice. If you fail any test more than twice, you will be required to re-register for the course and pay the registration fee again. The face-to-face weekend course includes a skills test performed on-site and an online post-test. The standard for the face-to-face course post-test is higher than the others. A score of 70% or greater is passing and you are permitted a total of two attempts; however, you are not permitted to see your score until after you pass the test. If you fail the test twice, you will be required to register for and attend a second face-to-face course.

Question: Can I exempt out of any of the courses if I have taken similar courses in the past?

Answer: No, you must complete the designated ACHH courses to complete this program. This program reflects completion of specific didactic coursework, successful passing of multiple written tests at the end of the each e-learning course and successful check-off of essential skills during instructor-led face-to-face course. We can only confidently award the ACHH certificate to those who have completed the courses required in the program.

Question: Where can I find more detailed information and register for the program?

Answer: The best place to get information about this program, as well as updated course lists and links is from the Home Health Section’s Advanced Competency in Home Health webpage. Bookmark it!

Question: Why did APTA Home Health decide to create a competency program instead of a certification program?

Answer: APTA Home Health used membership surveys and a task force to explore the feasibility and needs related to specialized education for physical therapists practicing in the home care setting. After extensive consideration and discussion with members and allies regarding the education needed for home care practice and the costs involved in obtaining relevant continuing education, the Section determined that a competency program best fit the needs of members and the home care industry.

Question: Is renewal required for the certificate in completing the Advanced Competency in Home Health program?

Answer: Yes. Certificates are valid for 5 years. There is a modest education and activities requirement of 10 qualifying contact hours during the certificate period, and persons with certificates must submit a renewal application and fee within 30 days of the certificate expiration date. Read more about the renewal requirements.

Question: My Advanced Competency in Home Health certificate expires November 30, 2022. When am I supposed to renew it?

Answer: If you've met the renewal requirements, you may submit a renewal application as early as 4 months (approx. 120 days) prior to your expiration date, or July 30, 2022. A late renewal fee will apply to your renewal application if you submit it after November 30, 2022. You become ineligible for renewal on December 30, 2022. If your certificate expires (without renewal), you will need to re-complete the program requirements.

Question: My agency is interested in offering the Advanced Competency course to multiple staff members. Can we host a course?

Answer: The Home Health Section partners with agencies or organizations to bring the face-to-face course to large groups. We require minimum attendance of 35 individuals to consider this option. If you are interested in making the course available to your employees through a special event, contact the Home Health Section.