Clinical Competency Certificate

The APTA Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency Certificate provides physical therapists and physical therapy assistants with a comprehensive study of the fundamental knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to provide safe evidence-based patient care using the aquatic environment. Participants in this course will demonstrate clinical competency in aquatic physical therapy by completing a series of both written and practical skills tests.

This is the only certificate program sponsored by a component of the APTA specifically designed for the aquatic physical therapy professional.

The APTA Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency Certificate is an assessment-based course in aquatic physical therapy.  It is important to note that there is not a credential associated with the completion of this program as it is not recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS). Consequently, participants are also not entitled to the designation of board-certified specialists.

There are 7 online learning modules through the Education Center and a 3-day in-person pool course to complete the entire certificate series.





On-Site Learning: 3-day in-person pool/lab course

Participants at this 3 day course will experience hands-on training to integrate skills and knowledge learned from the online modules of the APTA Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency Certificate. Emphasis will be placed on handling techniques to give the participant confidence to apply their knowledge to a wide base of treatment applications. Participants will be challenged to maximize the effectiveness of their treatments utilizing the unique properties of water and pool equipment. A variety of aquatic therapy techniques will be demonstrated and multiple case studies will aid the learner in understanding the aquatic therapy continuum from evaluation to discharge to wellness. Participants can expect to be in the pool for the majority of the course and will be tested on their handling skills as well as the integration of online and pool course material.

 Pool Course Objectives
  1. Apply critical thinking to evidence-based practice to support the need for aquatic physical therapy intervention.
  2. Recognize and respond to potential challenges prior to pool entry for specific patient populations.
  3. Appropriately select pool equipment best suited for patient treatment goals.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to logically progress exercise in the water.
  5. Confidently handle patients of all types in the water in all depths and all positions.
  6. Apply clinical interventions for gait and balance training in the water.
  7. Integrate aquatic techniques for maximizing muscle performance during aquatic physical therapy treatments.
  8. Demonstrate modifications to address possible sensory integration challenges when in an aquatic treatment session.
  9. Develop and integrate individualized cardiovascular techniques based on the patient’s needs.
  10. Demonstrate a basic understanding of Halliwick, Bad Ragaz Ring Method, Watsu, Ai Chi, AquaStretch, Aqua Yoga, and Burdenko Method.

Packing List

Sample Schedule



  See here.


Looking to have 12 or more staff members complete the APTA Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency Certificate? We can come to you!
Contact us at and ask about our corporate program.

In Person Dates

Omaha, Nebraska:         
April 28-30, 2023

Registration Opens in January

In-Person Pre-Req

Pre-Requisite online courses that must be completed BEFORE enrolling in the in-person/lab course:
Critical Thinking

  Education Center


See here.

Corporate Course

We can come to you!

Corporate Course Info


Hosts of the 3-day in-person regional course get 2 complementary registrations to the in-person component of the event plus a honorarium. Interested in being a host? Complete this form.