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Kinesiotherapy thrives where traditional therapy ends.

Kinesiotherapy is defined as the application of scientifically based exercfise principles adapted to enhance the strength, endurance, and mobility of individuals with functional limitations or those requiring extended physical conditioning.   The American Kinesiotherapy Association’s mission is to to support the rehabilitative services of Registered Kinesiotherapists while promoting the health and wellness of all populations including Veterans and individuals with functional limitations.

Kinesiotherapists provide sub-acute or post-acute rehabilitative therapy focusing on therapeutic exercise, reconditioning and physical education. Kinesiotherapists emphasize the psychological as well as physical benefits of therapeutic exercise for rehabilitation. Following a prescription from a licensed practitioner, kinesiotherapists provide rehabilitative exercise and education to patients.

These therapeutic exercises enhance the strength, mobility and endurance of functionally limited patients, or those requiring long-term reconditioning. Kinesiotherapists emphasize the psychological as well as physical value of therapeutic exercises. Developed during World War II, kinesiotherapy originally helped wounded or sick soldiers return to their units quickly and at full functionality.

Our History

Kinesiotherapy (formerly Corrective Therapy) is an allied health profession that has been in existence since 1946. The roots of this profession began during World War II. With the increased survival of troops suffering from illness or injury, there was a great demand to return soldiers to active duty. Corrective physical reconditioning units were established to enhance this process.

Early pioneers in the emerging field of rehabilitation medicine were U.S. Surgeon General Major Norman T. Kirk and Dr. Howard Rusk. By 1946, they had overseen the training of physical reconditioning specialists for the armed forces with funding and support from the federal government. Employing exercise and mobility programs, these “Corrective Therapists” in the military provided a program of treatment for convalescing troops, increasing the demand for this specialty in the Armed Forces. The early leads in rehabilitation saw the need to organize and accredit these new specialists accordingly.


In 1953, the American Corrective Therapy Association (the predecessor of the AKTA), realized the need for credentialing process and formally adopted a certification examination to establish a consistent level of competency. The process of credentialing and establishing academic programs has evolved throughout history. In 1980, the clinical training requirements increased from 400 to 1,000 hours.


In 1982, the Council on Professional Standards for Kinesiotherapy (COPS-KT) was established. In 1986, mandatory continuing education requirements were set to maintain registration. In that same year, Professional Examination Service (PES), a national testing service was contracted to standardize and administer the national certification examination.


Following completion of a baccalaureate program in exercise science or equivalent, individuals who successfully pass the certification examination become Registered Kinesiotherapists (RKT). RKTs who meet continuing education requirements set by COPS-KT qualify for listing on its national registry.

The name Corrective Therapy was formally changed to Kinesiotherapy in 1987 and the national organization became known as the American Kinesiotherapy Association.

In the continuing effort to meet and maintain the highest standards for rehabilitation, Kinesiotherapy was formally recognized as an allied health profession by a national accrediting body, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in April 1995. This attainment culminated many years of moving forward in health care excellence.

Adapted from “Kinesiotherapy – Then and Now”, by Warrant Smith, RKT, March 1994. Synopsis by Susan Raich, RKT and Lorie Hansen, MS, RKT

Our mission

The mission of the AKTA is to support the rehabilitative services of Registered Kinesiotherapists while promoting the health and wellness of all populations including Veterans and individuals with functional limitations.

Advancing the professional standards of education and training by developing and sponsoring educational programs of the highest scientific and professional competence.

Encouraging research, publication and distribution of scientific articles relating to the advancement of physical rehabilitation that include but are not limited to anatomy, physiology, kinesiology/biomechanics, adaptive equipment, motor control, psychology, health/pathology, neurology, orthopedics, geriatrics and pediatrics.

Enforcing the Association member’s professional conduct by encouraging the adherence to the code of ethics and the Scope and Standards of Practice.

Create strategic partnerships by networking with other allied health professions in the interest of advancing awareness of the profession.

Enhancing member connections through programming and networking.

Supporting national regulation which influences the practice of Kinesiotherapy.

The Association ensures equal opportunity for all members and employees regardless of their age, sex, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, or physical/mental handicap.


April 15, 1943

The first school to qualify personnel in the “corrective physical rehabilitation” was organized at the 307th Station Hospital (U.S. Army) in Coventry, England.

May 18, 1946

VA Circular No. 121, established Corrective Therapy (or Corrective Physical Rehabilitation [CPR]) as part of Medical Rehabilitation Services providing an integrated program of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Education retraining and shop retraining.


John Eisele Davis, Sc.D., held the post of Chief, Corrective Therapy, in VA Central Office.

October 18, 1946

The inaugural training course for Veterans Administration (VA) Corrective Physical Rehabilitation (CPR) was conducted at the School on Social Rehabilitation in Topeka, Kansas, at the Winter VA Hospital.

October 29, 1946

Association of Physical and Mental Rehabilitation (APMR) was initiated at the Jay Hawk Hotel in Topeka, KS. (It was formally founded by Dr. John E. Davis.)

January 13, 1947

The second training course for 40 CPR therapists was held at the Winter VA Hospital in Topeka, KS.

March 1947

The first issue of the Journal of the Association was published.


The term “Corrective Therapy” replaced the phrase “Corrective Physical Rehabilitation” in the VA rehabilitation program.


Chapter Delegates (then called “Representative Assemblymen”) were introduced into the Association as part of the voting Board of Governors.

1949 – 1950

President Raymond W. Swanson published the first reported association newsletter.

July 1951

The APMR Awards were first introduced and approved during the 1951 Annual Conference in Los Angeles, CA. These earliest awards included: The John Eisele Davis Award, Conference Chairman Award, Honorary Membership and Sustaining Membership.

May 20, 1953

The Association became incorporated in the State of New York, and the charter and corporate seal were received by the President, Louis Montovano.

July, 1953

Mr. Thomas J. Fleming was selected to chair a committee to develop the APMR certification procedure. (By July, 1954, approximately 70% of active APMR members were certified by grandfathering.)


A Code of Ethics was developed and adopted by APMR for a 2-year trial basis.

July 1, 1955

The official definition of corrective therapy was adopted by the Board of Governors which stated: “Corrective Therapy is the application of the principles, tools, techniques and psychology of medically oriented physical education to assist the physician in the accomplishment of prescribed objectives.” (Reportedly composed by Edward Friedman, and remained unchanged until 1985.)

November 30, 1955

The first certification exam was developed.

June 1956

The first certification exam is given.

June 1956

Dr. John E. Davis was elected to the newly established position of Executive Director of the Association.


Eastern Washington State College in Cheney, WA, under the leadership of Dr. Jack R. Leighton, applied for and was granted the first accredited status by the APMR.


The “Introductory Handbook to Corrective Therapy and Adapted Physical Education” was written by Earl W. Mason and Harry B. Dando. It was later edited and rewritten by John R. Murphy, Jr. and Karl K. Klein and offered for sale to all corrective therapists and interested parties.

July 8 – 14, 1967

The APMR became the American Corrective Therapy Association (ACTA), during the Board of Governors meeting.


The VA medical centers in Chicago, including Hines, Chicago Lakeside, Chicago Westside and North Chicago helped create a novel CT clinical affiliation with the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle campus. Jim Descourourez, Associate Professor of Physical Education at the university, coordinated the program.

May 23, 1974

VA Central Office up-graded all VA clinical training programs in corrective therapy from 240 clock hours to 400, effective July 1, 1976.

April 4-5, 1978

A task force of ACTA and VACO Personnel met in VA Central Office to initiate a project on the VA Corrective Therapy Qualification Standards. CT participants included: Oral Mathison, Kirk Hodges, David Ser, Andrew Murphy and Warren Smith.

June 30, 1979

The first ACTA Continuing Education Certificates were issued to those individuals who had earned a minimum of 5 CEU’s during the preceding 3-year period.

July 1980

The ACTA Board of Governors approved new accreditation procedures, including:
1. Maintenance of a 3.0 GPA in required coursework prior to involvement in clinical training.
2. Students must be Physical Education or CT majors in ACTA accredited university.
3. Minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical training.
4. Percentages of clinical experience would be mandated in a variety of categories.

July 1982

The Council on Professional Standards, ACTA, was organized to Coordinate the three groups of the Association which deal with Certification, Accreditation and Continuing Education.

Oct. 27 – 29, 1983

The newly formed Council on Professional Standards met in Toledo, Ohio, for the first time, for a “Work Meeting”. The Following representative participated in the meeting: Keith Orie and James Husing (Certification), Grace Clarke and Steve Figoni (Continuing Education), Leonard Greninger and Cheryl Gooding (Accreditation).

May 17 – 18, 1986

The Council on Professional Standards met again in Toledo, Ohio. One of the new policies was the mandatory Continuing Education Units required for maintaining certification status.

July 1987

A motion was made and passed to rename the ACTA to the “American Kinesiotherapy Association” (AKTA) and rename the journal “Clinical Kinesiology”

January 11, 1988

Ms. Gail S. Shaffer, Secretary of State of New York, formally confirmed the name of the Corporation to be officially the American KinesiotherapyAccociation, Inc. Mr. Raymond J. Powers, Attorney at Law, represented the Association, while ACTA President Jerome Brown and Secretary Anita Schafer signed the documents.

1987 – 1988

The Council on Professional Standards (COPS) adopted an Equal Employment Opportunities statement into its By-Laws.

1987 – 1988

COPS stated that a “certified member in good standing will be referred to as a Registered Kinesiotherapist.” Certification is a one-time process, but being maintained on a “registry” demands maintenance of continuing education credits and payment of annual fees.

July 1989

A new logo was designed and approved for use on stationary, arm patches and other association promotional materials.

November 16, 1990

In an Executive Board meeting in Dayton, Ohio, certain elected association officers (President, President-Elect, First Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer) were made two-year appointments.

May 1991

The Association celebrated its first formal “Kinesiotherapy Week”.

July 1992

The AKTA (COPS) published a “Kinesiotherapy Scope of Practice”, to serve as a guideline for practicing Registered Therapists.


A new “AKTA Mission Statement” was prepared which states: “The mission of the American Kinesiotherapy Association, Inc. (AKTA) is to promote kinesiotherapy by improving recognition of the profession through the pursuit of legislation and public relations. The organization will work to enhance the standard of care provided by kinesiotherapists through educational opportunities.”

July 1993

A new AKTA award was approved by the Board of Governors and named the “Editor’s Award,” for individuals who contribute significantly to the Journal.

April 1997

During the third annual CAAHEP Conference, the Commissioners voted to formally recognize the Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for Kinesiotherapy.

April 1995

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) formally recognized Kinesiotherapy as an allied health profession. In that same year the American Kinesiotherapy Association and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation joined CAAHEP as co-sponsors of Kinesiotherapy.

April 23, 1998

The CAAHEP Executive Board approved The Standards and Guidelines for Accredited Educational Programs for Kinesiotherapy.


Executive Board creates the positions of Eastern States and Western States Members-at-large to replace delegate system and provide representation to all members and to streamline executive board functions.


The AKTA’s journal, “Clinical Kinesiology” goes online.


Strategic plan developed at mid-year conference meeting.


“Mobility” goes online


Co-located with MFA for annual conference– San Antonio Texas


Established  Strategic  Partners  with  American  Council  in Exercise and Medical Fitness Association


Updated Logo to reflect a more modern design


Centers   of   Excellence   were   established   to   offer   an alternative opportunity to sit for the registration exam


Established  Strategic  Partners  with  American  Council  in Exercise and Medical Fitness Association


Updated  KT  scope  of  practice  to  accommodate  changes in the Kinesiotherapy profession


Established  Strategic  Partners  with  American  Council  of Lifestyle  Medicine,  Medical  Fitness  Network  and  American Kinesiology Association


Updated AKTA Mission statement: “The mission of the AKTA is   to   support   the   rehabilitative   services   of   Registered Kinesiotherapists while promoting the health and wellness of all   populations   including   Veterans   and   individuals   with functional limitations.”


Updated  KT  scope  to improve access to services provided

Strategic Partners

The American Kinesiotherapy Association’s Strategic Partners are groups of individuals or services that enhance the vision and mission of the AKTA.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE)

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), the largest nonprofit health and fitness certification, education and training organization in the world. In addition to providing quality certification programs and continuing education, ACE offers the only Health Coaching Certification accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) on the market.

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM)

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) provides leadership and assistance, facilitating lifestyle medicine clinicians’ pursuits of continuing medical education, practice knowledge, leadership skills, and research information needed to provide quality patient care and best treat patients with lifestyle-related diseases.

The American Kinesiology Association (AKA)

The American Kinesiology Association (AKA) is an organization of academic departments/schools of kinesiology. The AKA promotes and enhances kinesiology as a unified field of study and advances its many applications. AKA works with departments and affiliated professional organizations to promote physical activity for the enhancement of human well-being.

The Medical Fitness Association (MFA)

The Medical Fitness Association (MFA), a non-profit organization, was formed in 1991 to assist medically integrated health and fitness centers achieve their full potential. The Association is a professional membership organization whose mission is to ascertain and respond to the needs of medically integrated centers throughout the world. As a resource to the medical fitness industry, Medical Fitness Association is 100% focused on medical fitness, and is the first association to have focused on hospital fitness and wellness.


We have joined True Health Initiative (THI), a global voice for lifestyle as medicine.  In doing so, we publicly and proudly align our organizational values with the core principles of healthy living and with a commitment to the THI vision.  THI exists to make the fundamental truths about healthy, sustainable living and eating common knowledge. Shifting the global understanding of practices that most likely help people live longer and envision a world with less chronic disease.  As a member organization, we are helping build a movement that supports individuals and communities in directing their resources toward this goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Kinesiotherapist do differently from other therapies such as Physical Therapy?

Kinesiotherapists utilize two fundamental modalities, exercise and education, to enhance and regain function through improved mobility, strength, endurance and flexibility. Our interaction with the patient/client typically is holistic and occurs following the acute stage of an illness and/or disease. A Kinesiotherapist is the bridge between acute illness and physical wellness. Effective KT treatment often begins when traditional therapy ceases. The KT approach to exercise could be defined as structural and functional integration. In essence, the treatment approach is not limited to a segmented body area, but the treatment approach to the impaired body structure is restored in a holistic manner.

Are your services reimbursable?

Kinesiotherapists work upon referral from a physician. We are reimbursable in some instances for our services.

Are you licensed?

No, Kinesiotherapists, while not licensed in any state at this time, are credentialed by the Council on Professional Standards Board for Registration of Kinesiotherapists. On a semi-annual basis, Registration examinations are offered to those eligible candidates. The Registration Examination was developed in conjunction with and is administered by, Professional Examination Services in New York. Registration as a regulation/credentialing process requires practicing Kinesiotherapists to conform to specific criteria for ethical, safe treatment of patients within the Scope of Practice and Standards of Practice for Kinesiotherapy.

What are your credentials?

The profession of Kinesiotherapy was recognized nationally by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs in April 1995 as an allied health profession. Kinesiotherapy is included in the National Health Care Provider Taxonomy and has been assigned a revenue code by the National Uniform Billing Committee, effective October 2000.

What clients do you best serve and where?

RKTs employed in the Veterans Affairs (VA) are utilized in all levels from acute care through long term care. Within each VA facility, the job functions assigned to the RKT depend on the workload demands and the overall make up of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service (PM&R). Many PM&R Chiefs state their preference for a RKT because of their “can do” attitude and adaptability to a variety of settings. VA Medical Centers are the primary employer of RKTs. However, since the mid 1970s there has been a continuing trend of RKTs employed in the private sector. Some RKTs establish independent clinics. Currently there is an emerging trend of PT clinics employing RKTs to augment their treatment services. Medical Fitness facilities (fitness facilities associated with a hospital) create a unique need for RKT services. We have developed a close alliance with the Medical Fitness Association, which has increased their awareness of Kinesiotherapy.

What is the average salary for a Kinesiotherapist?

Depending on the particular job setting, the average projected starting salary for Registered Kinesiotherapists is $36,000 to $47,000 annually. The overall average is $60,000; upper-level salaries are in the range of $70,000-$90,000.

What do the certification credentials “RKT” and “Registered Kinesotherapist” mean?

They tell consumers and employers that you have met the standards for professional practice, as identified by Council of Professional Standards of Kinesiotherapy (COPS-KT). These credenitals verify the registration status of an RKT.

Kinesiotherapists are an extremely valuable resource in the VA. They provide a variety of essential services, which enhance the quality of life of our veteran patients. Through their expertise in assessment and treatment they promote improved function, overall health and conditioning.

Dr. Barbar Sigford, M.D. National Representative for the Veterans, Affairs Central Office PM&RS Advisory Board

Having an exercise physiology background makes kinesiotherapists (KT) well suited for additional sub-specialization in many areas. We have KTs who provide cardiac and pulmonary rehab, aquatic therapy, driver training, and functional capacity evaluations. The versatile nature of kinesiotherapists makes them well suited for interdisciplinary patient care

Timothy Silver, M.D. Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - H.H. McGuire Veterans Affairs Hospital - Richmond, Virginia

I have had the pleasure of working with Kinesiotherapists at all levels, from the VA system to private industry. I have found Kinesiotherapists to be very capable and qualified to competently perform all aspects of rehabilitation. They have shown considerable compassion towards my patients and provided a much needed education of the rehabilitation process.

Thomas Sturdavant, M.D. Rehabilitation Solutions