National Conferences Hosted by the APTA

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) hosts three major conferences each year. These conferences each typically last three to five days and are an opportunity for physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, faculty, and students to gather and exchange ideas about their profession.

The national conferences are also an opportunity for vendors and exhibitors to show off some of the new products that are available to help physical therapists improve their evaluation and treatment techniques. Some exhibitors offer information about innovation and technology in physical therapy, while others are there to show off the latest tools to improve patient mobility. If you are a physical therapist, you may have attended or are planning to attend one of these conferences.

If you are a patient of physical therapy and your physical therapist is taking a few days off, perhaps he or she is attending one of the national conferences. Hopefully, your physical therapist will return to the clinic after a conference with new ideas on how to make your physical therapy experience a positive one.


man at pt appointment

The Annual Conference and Exposition is held each June and lasts for approximately 4 to 5 days. It features multiple classes and a large exposition area. Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can attend multiple classes and lectures to brush up on their assessment and treatment skills.

The Annual Conference and Exposition also hosts the organization’s major lectures, the McMillan Lecture and the Maley Lecture. The conference also hosts an Oxford Debate, which is a lively discussion and friendly debate about the major issues that affect the physical therapy profession.



There are 18 specialty sections of the APTA that focus on different aspects of physical therapy. These include specialty areas such as geriatrics, hand therapy, or cardiopulmonary therapy. The Combined Sections Meeting is held annually and is a collaborative conference between the APTA and the sections. Here, various lectures and presentations are held by the different sections. This allows physical therapists to learn about different aspects of physical therapy in one centralized conference. The Combined Sections Meeting is held each February.



The National Student Conclave is an annual event where students of physical therapy gather for one weekend in October or November. There, students can attend classes and network with other physical therapy students. Seminars are also offered in resume building and interviewing skills, and many human resources professionals are available to speak with in the exhibit hall at the conclave.

Although it is not a conference, another important time of year for physical therapy professionals is October, which is designated National Physical Therapy Month. During this month, physical therapists and assistants celebrate their profession and help to educate and inform the public about the health and wellness benefits of physical therapy.