Pave the Way to Success on the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialty (CCS) Exam

This course has been certified by the FSBPT for Physical Therapy Continuing Education. The FSBPT is recognized as a certifying agency for the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  • 2-day virtual course for 16 contact hours (1.6 CEUs)
  • 6 hours live content and 2 hours pre-recorded content each day
  • Successful course completion is based on attendance and participation in all lecture/labs
  • See registration section of this website for upcoming dates near you
  • Don’t see a date or location that is convenient, contact to host this course at your facility

Course Description: The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) established the specialist certification program in 1978. As of June 2016, there were 20,144 Board Certified Specialists. Of these, 254 are certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialists. Every year, individuals hoping to take the CCS seek assistance in examination preparation. Due to conflict of interest, the ABPTS and the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Section of the APTA are unable to provide comprehensive advice and instruction for the best way to prepare for this exam. Thus, there are very few resources available for these individuals and many people postpone the process of specialization. This course intends to demystify the process of preparing for this exam. We will cover the most prevalent topics on the exam in the depth of knowledge required for successfully passing the examination.

Level of Education: Advanced

Course Objectives: By the end of this course, participants will be able to independently:

  1. Describe the anatomy and physiology of the human oxygen transport system,
  2. Explain the pathophysiology of 3 commonly seen CVP diseases,
  3. Explain the pathophysiology of 3 commonly seen pediatric CVP diseases,
  4. Interpret 3 CVP diagnostic tests,
  5. Perform a chest exam and alter the performance of the fragile CVP patient with breathing and airway clearance techniques,
  6. Interpret the results of a maximum exercise test,
  7. Analyze 3 CVP medications including their mechanism of action, why they are prescribed and their effect on the cardiovascular or pulmonary system,
  8. Design a treatment plan for a patient with cardiovascular disease,
  9. Design a treatment plan for a patient with pulmonary disease, and
  10. Design a treatment plan for a pediatric patient with cardiovascular or pulmonary disease.

Course Adgenda:

  • Day 1:  Cardiovascular
    • CVP Diagnostic Testing
    • Cardiovascular Interventions
    • Exercise Testing and Prescription
    • Pre-recorded Content: Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology and Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
  • Day 2:  Pulmonary
    • CVP Medications
    • Chest Exam and Pulmonary Interventions
    • Pediatric CVP Conditions and Treatment Strategies
    • Pre-recorded Content: Pulmonary Anatomy and Physiology and Pulmonary Pathophysiology

Clock Hours: 16 hours lecture/lab/discussion – CEUs available

Price: $500 full conference (2 days)

*Discounts available for employees affiliated with a hosting center

** Discounts available for groups of 5+ people, please contact for details

Course Faculty:

Morgan Johanson, PT, MSPT, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of California, San Francisco. Morgan is the President of Good Heart Education, a continuing education company that provides live and online seminars in cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy and mentoring for the ABPTS Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialty Examination. She has worked as a Level 3 Acute Care Physical Therapist at the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and as the Coordinator for the Inpatient and Outpatient Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS). In addition, she was a Co-Director, mentor and faculty member for the VAAAHS Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy Residency Program. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, Flint, and is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of Toledo, Ohio DPT Program. She is currently treating patients at the Grand Traverse Pavilions Rehabilitation Center. In 2004, she received the Service Star for excellence in patient care from CPMC.  She is a contributing author to the 4th Edition of the Essentials of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy by Ellen Hillegass. She is the current Professional Development Chair for the Academy of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy. 


Ellen Hillegass, PT, DPT, FAPTA, Board Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist currently holds the position of adjunct professor in the departments of physical therapy at Mercer University in Atlanta and Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Ellen is also the president and CEO of PT Cardiopulmonary Educators, a web-based education company for entry-level DPT, residency, CCS board preparation, and continuing education. She is the former payment and policy chair for the Academey of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy. She has represented the cardiovascular and pulmonary issues of physical therapists at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services along with the APTA on several occasions. Dr. Hillegass started a clinical residency through Mercer University in conjunction with Piedmont Hospital and works with the residents in the ICUs on a weekly basis. Ellen Hillegass is a member of the board of directors of the US COPD Coalition, as well as the chair of the COPD Coalition Strategic Planning Committee. She was the chair of the Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee on Venous Thromboembolism for the APTA (published in Physical Therapy journal in February of 2016) and is the past chair of the Oxygen Recommendations Task Force for the APTA. She is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. She is the editor of Essentials in Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy, an entry-level text with its fourth edition published in June 2016, as well as the author of a clinical notes book entitled PT Clinical Notes (formerly Rehab Notes). Ellen received her entry-level training in physical therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, her Master of Medical Science in cardiopulmonary physiology from Emory University, and her doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Georgia.