Mutual/Membership Benefit Organizations, Other

American Association of Physics Teachers

aka AAPT

College Park, MD


AAPT's mission is to enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.
The Association has identified four critical issues that will guide our future activities:

The twenty-first century will provide the greatest opportunities and
challenges for us as we take an active role in shaping the future. Our
success will depend on the commitment, dedication, and continued input
of our members and the physics education community. Join us in this
journey to enhance the quality and effectiveness of physics education
at all levels.

Ruling Year


Principal Officer

Beth A. Cunningham Ph.D.

Main Address

One Physics Ellipse

College Park, MD 20740 USA


Physics Education, Physics Teachers, Physics Programs, The Physics Teacher, American Journal of Physics





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Professional Societies, Associations (Y03)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

U.S. Physics Team for the International Physics Olympiad

Physics Bowl

High School Photo Contest

Where we work

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Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

Our vision is to be the leader in physics education. We are committed to providing the most current resources and up-to-date research needed to enhance a physics educator's professional development. The results are not only a deeper appreciation of the teaching profession, but most importantly, more enthusiastic involvement from their students.

Goal 1. Create a vibrant community to support those interested in enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.

Goal 2. Enhance professional development opportunities utilizing AAPT products, journals, programs/conferences to disseminate knowledge about the understanding of physics, physics education research, and effective physics teaching practices.

Goal 3. Enhance the visibility and role of AAPT in physics and STEM education communities to effectively influence policy and practice.

Goal 4. Enrich the field by increasing the number and diversity of physics students and teachers at all levels, including those from ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds, those with diverse abilities, and those from the LGBT+ community

Strategies for Goal 1:
Support physics educators and physics education researchers through opportunities for professional development, research, and publications.
Develop programs, products, and services that meet the needs and pique the interest of physics educators throughout their careers.
Engage students and early career professionals with special programs and offerings.
Publicize widely the value and benefits of AAPT membership and the opportunities available at National Meetings.
Utilize technology to engage those interested in physics teaching in professional development activities.
Enhance local and regional community building opportunities among physics educators.
Establish programs that help develop the next generation of leaders within AAPT.

Strategies for Goal 2
Develop and maintain a portfolio of print and electronic resources that support the physics teaching community.
Provide and support professional development for physics educators and physics education researchers locally, regionally, and nationally.
Continue to develop programs, products, and services that support physics teachers, physics departments, and administrators in adopting best practices related to physics education.
Support physics related outreach and informal education experiences.

Strategies for Goal 3
Support and develop position statements that can help inform public policy as it relates to physics education.
Advocate for funding and policies that promote excellence in physics teaching and physics learning.
Continue to develop relationships with organizations, nationally and internationally, that will increase support for physics education.
Serve as a forum for disseminating information on policy related to physics education.
Provide and support programmatic and policy recommendations for physics departments, schools, and administrators.

Strategies for Goal 4
Develop and support programs to increase the number of physics students in high school and college courses, opportunities for physics teacher preparation, and opportunities for teaching physics at all levels.
Support the development, dissemination, and implementation of best practices in recruiting, retaining, and teaching under-represented and marginalized students in physics to enhance their success in learning and practicing physics.
Enhance the diversity of AAPT and the physics education community by recruiting and supporting members from all groups, including those currently under-represented and marginalized in physics education.
Support best practices in in the preparation of physics teachers to teach students from all academic, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds.

AAPT has a small national office supported by volunteers across the spectrum of physics educators from K-12 through post graduate physics education, including physics education research with eighteen area committees providing intellectual content and and service to the physics education community as a whole.

AAPT's progress indicators include increased participation in social media discussions, journal usage statistics, resource usage analytice, and professional development opportunities.

Portions for each strategic goal have been accomplished. However with the changes in the Next Generation Science Standards there is still work to be accomplished as the objectives for physics education are evolving.

External Reviews


American Association of Physics Teachers

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?