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

  • 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 June 2021, there were 32,704, Board Certified Specialists. Of these, 417 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 APTA Academy of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy 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. analyze case studies of patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary dysfunction to understand all components of chart and determine complexity,
  2. apply knowledge of CV and Pulmonary diseases to cases using clinical reasoning to develop optimal plans of care for similar patients,
  3. discuss all diagnostic tests and their implications for patient assessment and interventions, and
  4. describe effects of various medications as well as potential side effects that could delay or prevent progression of mobility.

Course Agenda:

  • Day 1: 
    • Coronary Artery Disease/Myocardial infarction/Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Case
    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Case
    • Heart Failure Case
    • Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Case
  • Day 2: 
    • Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Case
    • Asthma Case
    • Diabetes and Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Case
    • Atrial Fibrillation/Cardioversion/Ablation Case
  • Pre-recorded Content
    • How to Study, Diagnosis/Prognosis/Outcomes
    • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Outcome Measures

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

Price: $500 full conference (2 days)

Supplementary pre-recorded content available for an additional $350 when purchased with this course

  • Cardiovascular Anatomy and Physiology
  • Cardiovascular Pathophysiology
  • Pulmonary Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pulmonary Pathophysiology
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Diagnostic Testing
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Medications
  • Exercise Testing and Prescription
  • Cardiovascular Interventions
  • Pulmonary Interventions
  • Pediatric Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Conditions and Interventions

*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 and South College, Knoxville. In 2004, she received the Service Star for excellence in patient care from CPMC and in 2022, she received the Merit Award from the APTA Academy of CVP PT.  She is a contributing author to the 4th and 5th Editions of the Essentials of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy by Ellen Hillegass. She is the lead author for the Entry-Level Physical Therapy Competencies in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy. 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 professor in the department of physical therapy at South College in Atlanta. 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 Academy 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. 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 the Physical Therapy journal in February of 2016 and updated in the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy Journal in 2022) and is the current chair for updating the Oxygen Recommendations 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 fifth edition published in June 2022, 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.