2016 Standards Adopted by CAPTE The 2016 Standards and Required Elements for Accreditation of PTA and PT programs were adopted by CAPTE at its fall 2014 meeting. All programs with an accreditation or candidacy site visit after January 1, 2016, will be reviewed using the 2016 Standards. All Accreditation Workshops are now based on the new 2016 Standards.
Steps to Develop an Education ProgramThe rules governing the development of an education program for the preparation of physical therapists (PT) or physical therapist assistants (PTA) are delineated in the Accreditation Handbook. These rules change periodically; it is the institution's responsibility to ensure that it is working from the most current set of rules.
In order to begin the preaccreditation process and establish a candidacy review cycle, institutions MUST provide all evidence delineated in Part 7.8 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure. This evidence includes, but is not limited to:
There are three (3) candidacy review cycles per year*, which dictate:
A maximum of six (6) applications are reviewed by CAPTE per candidacy cycle.*Effective November 2016, the number of candidacy review cycles per year has been reduced from three to two. The two review cycles remaining will have respective AFC submission deadlines of June 1 (Cycle A) and December 1 (Cycle B).
Institutions may not matriculate students into a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant program until Candidate for Accreditation status is granted by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. The rules governing this process are delineated in Part 7 of the Rules of Practice and Procedure found in the Accreditation Handbook. Institutions seeking to develop a PT or PTA program must submit an AFC that meets eligibility requirements established by CAPTE, as delineated in Part 7 of the Rules.
The AFC is a detailed report that describes progress toward and the potential for achieving compliance with the Standards and Required Elements. In order to develop an AFC, programs must follow the instructions and forms identified and provided by Accreditation Department staff after the program has established a candidacy review cycle. View the number of available slots in future candidacy cycles (.pdf).
Program start dates must take into consideration that initial accreditation decisions are made by CAPTE only during their regularly scheduled meetings (Fall and Spring). The related on-site visit for initial accreditation decisions must occur no later than ten (10) weeks prior to the CAPTE meeting. Exceptions to this requirement will not be considered by CAPTE. Since state licensing laws require graduates to be from CAPTE accredited programs, it is not advisable to have students graduate from a program prior to the program achieving accreditation. Although CAPTE has the ability for its decisions to be retroactive to a date prior to graduation, not all states will accept retroactive accreditation. In addition, graduation prior to accreditation delays the ability of students to take the licensing exam and, therefore, begin employment.
PT Standards and Required Elements (.doc) [effective January 1, 2016]
PTA Standards and Required Elements (.doc) [effective January 1, 2016]
WorkshopsAPTA's Accreditation Department holds two types of workshops 3 times a year: Self-Study Workshops and Developing Program Workshops. Developing programs are required to send at least 2 individuals (the program director and an appropriate institutional administrator) to a Developing Program Workshop PRIOR to the submission of the Application for Candidacy. In addition, the program director must attend a Self-Study Workshop prior to AFC submission. Self-Study Workshops are held to discuss CAPTE's expectations for specific elements, as well as to address general accreditation and self-study processes. Program directors and administrators are strongly encouraged to attend the workshops early in the development process.
ConsultantsCAPTE recommends that developing programs engage the services of a consultant. The Accreditation Department staff does not provide names of consultants for program development. A list of educational consultants, if desired, can be obtained from Libby Ross, APTA Director of Academic Services.
A “Blueprint for Teaching Cultural Competence in Physical Therapy Education” and other resources to facilitate academic program curriculum development, review and enhancement are available to PT and PTA Educators.
Last Updated: 3/2/2017