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Neurologic Specialist Certification

What is Neurologic Specialist Certification?

The APTA established the specialist certification program in 1978. Specialization is the process by which a physical therapist builds on a broad base of professional education and practice to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills related to neurologic clinical practice. Clinical specialization in neurologic physical therapy requires knowledge, skill, and experience exceeding that of the physical therapist at entry to the profession and unique to the specialized area of practice. The specialist certification program was established to provide formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in neurologic practice and to assist consumers and the health care community in identifying these physical therapists.

A Neurologic Clinical Specialist (NCS) is a licensed physical therapist who has:

  1. Completed over 2,000 hours of neurologic clinical practice while working with individuals who have neurologic dysfunction
  2. Demonstrated competency in the following areas: Patient Care (examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention), Patient Education, Interpretation of Research, Administration, Consultation.
  3. Passed the Neurologic Clinical Specialist Examination
  4. Obtained certification in Neurologic Physical Therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS).  

For more information on Neurologic Specialist Certification, visit the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.

ANPT NCS Exam Resources

ANPT’s Specialization and Advanced Proficiency Committee has developed a list of resources to assist with preparation for the Neurologic Certified Specialist exam. For information on the exam timing and resources click the button below.


Neurologic Specialty Council Responsibilities

The Neurologic Specialty Council oversees and defines neurologic specialty practice. In collaboration with the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS), they are responsible for the multi-step process of specialty exam development. They play an integral role in the recertification process of neurologic specialists by defining standards and reviewing applications and have a key role in the development of the new Maintenance of Specialty Certification (MOSC) program. This team also reviews and updates the Description of Specialty Practice every 10 years.

Each member of the council serves a 4-year term that begins in January of the calendar year. Currently, the council members are:

Lisa Brown, PT, DPT 
The chair of the council oversees all council activities, coordinates council meetings and facilitates communication between the Neurologic Council and the ANPT Board as well as the ABPTS staff.

Meaghan Costello, PT, DPT MOSC Item Review Coordinator
The MOSC item review coordinator council position was developed to facilitate and support the move from standard recertification processes to the new maintenance of specialty certification model.  The MOSC item review coordinator works with other council members to develop the MOSC exam and coordinate MOSC recertification efforts.

Rick (Morris) Beato, PT, DPT - Item Review Coordinator
The item review coordinator(s) oversee and coordinate the process of item writing through SACE (Specialization Academy of Content Experts) and CCE (Clinical Content Experts). In addition, the items that are created through SACE and CCE throughout the year, the item review coordinators may hold regional item writing workshops which are open to all NCS’s to attend. 

Kayla Covert, PT, DPT - Item Review Coordinator Elect
The  Item Review Coordinator Elect assists and is trained by the  Item Review Coordinator to assume this position the following year.

Are you interested in becoming involved?

There are many ways to do so, the first step is to make sure you have a volunteer interest profile completed through the APTA website (

Check for volunteer openings on the ABPTS website:

Be on the lookout if you are interested in becoming an item writer! (SACE) Application cycles typically open in early spring.

Recently Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialists:

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