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FAQs: CAPTE and Accreditation

  • What is CAPTE?

    The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is an accrediting agency that is nationally recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). CAPTE grants specialized accreditation status to qualified entry-level education programs for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Learn more. 

    What is accreditation?

    Accreditation is a process used in the US to assure the quality of the education that students receive. It is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer-review process that occurs on a regular basis. Learn more. 

    What is the profession's role?

    National professional organizations work closely with the accreditation agency in their individual fields to ensure that persons entering their professions are receiving formal preparation related to current requirements for professional practice. In physical therapy, the cooperative relationship between the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Commission follows in this tradition.

    How does a program become accredited?

    Accreditation is a voluntary process. Physical therapy education programs desiring accreditation status apply to CAPTE and must first achieve candidacy status before being considered for initial accreditation status. Both steps involve careful internal and external review and reports; onsite visits by qualified reviewers; and demonstrated compliance with established evaluative criteria and guidelines. Learn more. 

    Who benefits from accreditation?

    Everyone! The physical therapy accreditation process is a valuable service to the public, students, educational institutions, the programs, and the profession. Learn more. 

    How often does CAPTE meet?

    CAPTE meets twice a year in April and October/November. Learn more. 

    Is CAPTE the only PT & PTA education accrediting body?

    Yes.

    Does CAPTE accredit individuals?

    No, CAPTE only accredits physical therapy education programs. Learn more. 

    Does CAPTE accredit distance learning programs? (e.g., online or mail programs)?

    Due to the "hands-on" nature of the profession, entry-level programs must include practice laboratories and clinical experiences that cannot be offered online or by correspondence. Therefore, CAPTE does not accredit any programs that are offered exclusively in a distance learning format. However, there are some programs that offer a portion of the program through distance. In the Directory of Accredited Programs, search by code A5 to find schools that offer a portion of the program through distance learning.

    Does CAPTE accredit transitional DPT programs (tDPT)?

    No, tDPT programs are post-professional programs. CAPTE only accredits entry-level PT and PTA education programs.

    Does CAPTE accredit PT Aide or PT Technician programs?

    No, CAPTE accredits only physical therapist and physical therapist assistant programs.

    How many PT & PTA programs are accredited?

    View the current number of PT and PTA programs (.pdf).

    We are interested in starting a PT or PTA Program. How do we proceed?

    Click here for information about developing an education program for the preparation of physical therapists (PT) or physical therapist assistants (PTA).

    I want to complain to CAPTE about a program. How do I do that?

    The only mechanism through which the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) can act on your concerns is through the formal complaint process.

  • American Physical Therapy Association | 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1488 703/684-APTA (2782) | 800/999-2782 | 703/683-6748 (TDD) | 703/684-7343 (fax)