Apply now for specialty certification

Thursday, January 28, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. - Assistive technology professionals (ATPs) can now apply to become seating and mobility specialists (SMSs).

RESNA in January posted the application for the specialty certification to (click on "certification" then "seating and mobility certification").

"We've had inquiries from OTs, PTs, suppliers and even some academics," said Anjali Weber, an ATP and RESNA's director of certification, in January.

Applicants for the specialty certification must have 1,000 hours of direct customer service experience. They must also meet any two of the following seven criteria: clinical service delivery, advocacy, mentoring/supervision, presentations/formal instruction, learning/continuing education, publications and research.

In most cases, RESNA expects to process applications within one week.

But getting their applications approved is only the first step ATPs must take to become SMSs. They must also sit for a $250 computer-based exam at one of numerous testing centers across the country. The four-hour exam has 165 questions, including questions that involve photos and video. An outline of the exam and study materials are available on RESNA's Web site.

RESNA expects the first exam to be given March 15.

The first 75 to 100 applicants to take the exam will have to wait 10 to 12 weeks to get their results. All other applicants will receive them immediately after taking the exam.

"For the first group, we need to take quality assurance measures," Weber said. "Before we determine who passes and fails the exam, we need to make sure, for example, that there's only one correct answer for each question."

Unlike the ATP, the SMS certification won't be a requirement, at least not right out of the gate.

Cindi Petito plans to apply and sit for the exam.

"It's my specialty," said Petito, an OT, ATP and owner of Seating Solutions in Jacksonville, Fla. "It's sometimes difficult to explain to doctors and referral sources the difference between both a DME and myself being an ATP. This will help define who we are and what we do."