Finish your ABPTS Oncology Application with These 10 Easy Steps

The ABPTS 2024 application window is officially open, which means that you need to get your application submitted ASAP. Seriously, the deadline will sneak up on you, unless you do 2 things: have a plan & stick to your plan.

Now don’t worry, because I’ve outlined the EXACT plan for you in this episode:

Step 1: Review the requirements
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: the ABPTS website is incredibly circular…meaning that the same material is posted multiple times across different web pages. It’s very easy to go down rabbit holes on their website.

It’s also easy to get overwhelmed by all this information, especially because it’s repeated multiple times in different ways & linked repeatedly. So here’s how I recommend getting the information you actually need without drowning:

First, check out the minimum requirements. In short, you need to demonstrate your experience through either direct patient care hours OR via the completion of an accredited oncologic residency. If you choose the direct patient care hours option (which is what I did), you will need to submit evidence of 2,000 hours of practice in oncology within the last 10 years. 500 of these hours have to be from the last 3 years.

In addition to the application, you will also need to submit a case report. More on this later though…

If you’ve reviewed the requirements & you’re good to go, then it’s time to check out the deadlines & fees.

Step 2: Review the deadlines & fees
For the first time ever (at least for oncology), there are 2 deadlines for submitting your specialty application:
Early Bird application deadline: July 1, 2023 (& save $100)
Final application deadline: September 30, 2023

When submitting your application, you will also need to submit your application fee. The fees are tremendously discounted if you are an APTA member (as in $300-400 cheaper for your application fee).

Remember that the application fee is separate from the exam fee – this deadline is later in the year AFTER your application has been accepted.

Review the fees & deadlines.

Step 3: Select YOUR deadline & mark it on your calendar
As we discussed previously, you have two deadline options this year:
Early Bird application deadline: July 1, 2023 (& save $100)
Final application deadline: September 30, 2023

Whichever deadline you choose, be reasonable with yourself. Don’t rush & cram your application just to save $100.

It’s better to have a really great application & case report that will FOR SURE be accepted, rather than submit & have to reapply because your first go-round was rejected.

Step 4: Review the candidate guideline
Once you’ve A) determined that you’re a candidate for specialty application & B) selected your deadline, here’s when I would recommend reviewing the Candidate Guide. This is a free resource published by ABPTS to outline the examination & application process for each specialty area. This means that the Candidate Guide contains info for ALL the specialty areas – so don’t be overwhelmed by the 172 page count.

Most of the first few pages is general info that you’ve probably already learned from the resources I’ve listed earlier. Good review.

Once you’re familiar with the general info, now it’s time to check out the oncology-specific material. You’ll find a breakdown of what portion of questions will come from various content areas, as well as recommended medical conditions & impairments to study. The oncology addendum also includes some sample questions & a previously-submitted case report for your reading pleasure.

Within the Candidate Guide & the rest of the ABPTS website, you’ll hear about the DSP or Description of Specialty Practice. Whatever you do, DO NOT PURCHASE the DSP. You will receive a free copy once you apply for the exam. Also, it is literally spelled out in the Candidate Guide. It’s practically highway robbery in my opinion.

Step 5: Login to the applicant portal & see what you need
The applicant portal is where you will submit all of your info plus your case report. When you first log in to the portal, there will be a very general home page with all the specialty applications listed. Make sure you select the correct application to begin completing – I can’t imagine finishing half or all of your application only to realize it’s on the wrong application.

Once you’re here, don’t fill out the application yet. To complete the application, you will need various info about you, your career & professional experience, & hours worked in your specialty. I highly recommend reviewing the application, making a list of all the things you need to complete the application, & then compiling all that info. The application will time out after a certain time period, so having everything handy will make the process much easier.

Log on to the application portal.

Step 6: Once you’ve collected all the necessary info, now start filling out the application
Again, having all your information compiled & handy will make the application process much smoother.

For a step-by-step tutorial on how to complete your ABPTS application, I’ve filmed a tutorial you can watch here.

Step 7: Include your case report
At this point in the application process, it’s time to submit your case report. As of the time of this recording, the case report is the last part of the application.

Here’s how this works:
You should have your case report written, edited, proofread, re-written, re-edited, saged, blessed with holy water, & re-proofread before beginning this step.
You will then take your finished case report & paste SECTION BY SECTION into the application portal.
There are very specific headings that you will copy & paste corresponding sections of your case report into. DOUBLE CHECK THESE as you go.
Make sure to save as you go too.

Step 8: Review your application
Now that you’ve completed your application & inserted your case report, it’s time to triple check everything.

Go back through your application & check everything, every line. Don’t let a stupid mistake keep you from being accepted on the first try.

Don’t forget to check your case report one more time too.

It might be a good idea to have a friend check over your application – once again, don’t let stupid mistakes keep you from pursuing your dream!

Step 9: Submit your application
Once you’ve checked everything on your application, submit that baby! Make sure it actually submits & records your submission before moving onto Step 10, which is…

Step 10: Celebrate!
Submitting your application is the first step towards specialization. This journey is a long & tough one, so it’s critical to stop & celebrate the little moments along the way.
To Start (& Actually Finish!) Your ABPTS Application, watch this.
Everyone knows about the specialty exam & how much work it takes to prepare. But very few PTs know what it takes to actually get approved to take the exam.

In my webinar, Start (& Actually Finish) Your ABPTS Application, I walk you through:
✓ Why the exam is actually the least important part for you right now
✓ What no one will tell you about the specialty exam process
✓ The absolute essentials of your ABPTS application
✓ How to start (& actually finish) the most important part of your application: your case report!

Register now.

Until next time, this is Elise with TheOncoPT. And remember: you are exactly the physical therapist that your patients with cancer need. So let’s get to work.

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