• August 21, 2020 Update

    CAPTE Town Hall Meetings Held; Summary Documents Available

    On July 29th and August 6th, CAPTE held its first Town Hall Meetings for program directors. Summary documents for the PowerPoint presentation and the Question and Answer session are available. Accreditation staff plan to host another set of Town Hall Meetings following the Fall 2020 CAPTE Meeting. When the dates are set, program directors will be notified via email. If you have any questions about the information provided, please reach out to Accreditation staff .

    June 8, 2020 Update

    CAPTE Mandates

    The information below notes changes in the Rules of Practice and Procedure; however, it does not delineate all of the recent changes. Changes made at the April 2020 CAPTE meeting will be highlighted in the Rules to facilitate their identification. Programs are reminded that it is their responsibility to adhere to the most current set of Rules and to seek clarification if needed. Of these noted changes to the Rules, some are reflected in the Application for Candidacy requirements and in the AFC Instructions and Forms and are, therefore, critical to the development of new programs. As always, you are encouraged to contact us if you need assistance.

    Changes in the Rules

    CAPTE adopted numerous changes to its Rules, some of which are editorial in nature, some of which are clarifying, and some of which are substantive. With the new USDE regulations, many CAPTE changes are needed to come into compliance with the USDE regulations. The changes of most interest to programs include the following.


    • Part 4 Operation of CAPTE
      4.5 Adverse decisions must be made known by the program to students and prospective students within seven days of receipt of the decision.

    • Part 7 Pre-accreditation
      7.2 Per USDE regulations, all credits and degrees earned and issued by a program holding candidacy are considered to be from an accredited program.
      7.10 Changes to process for submission of Letters of Intent for clinical placements.
      7.28 By USDE regulations candidacy programs must provide a teach out plan or graduate all students if requesting to discontinue program.
      7.31 By USDE regulations candidacy programs appealing a decision to withdraw candidacy can continue the program until a final decision is made.

    • Part 9
      9.4 Removed the need to update the master list of accredited programs related to programs not CAPTE accredited.
      9.13 Added modifying delivery type of curriculum plan to reporting effects of disasters.

    • Part 14 Procedures for Appeal
      14.3 Students transferring or graduating from a program that has candidacy withdrawn, initial accreditation withheld, or accreditation withdrawn must be considered to have graduated or have credits from a CAPTE accredited program to meet USDE regulations.

    • Part 15.2 Expenses
      15.2 Increased honoraria since the last increase was in 2016.

    New USDE Regulations

    The USDE passed new/revised regulations November 1, 2019 that go into effect July 1, 2020. CAPTE’s rules have been revised to meet the new regulations (note the rules changes above). One regulation that has significant impact is the consideration that credits earned by students and degrees earned by graduates from programs in candidacy status are from an accredited program. This revision will go into effect June 15, 2020 (30 days after the posting of the revisions to CAPTE’s Rules of Practice and Procedure).

    COVID-19 Response

    Programs are reminded to review CAPTE’s website for updates related to guidance for dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on programs. The most recent guidance provides directions for continuing distance education through the fall session.

    Standards and Required Elements Changes

    The following changes were made to the Standards and Required Elements (SRE):
    The USDE eliminated the designation of “regional” as a type of accreditation. Subsequently, use of “regional” has been eliminated from the SREs and replaced with the word “national.” (Element 3B)

    For Element 4G in the PTA Standards and Required Elements, the option for program director exemptions related to the required nine credits of coursework was eliminated. (Element 4G)

    The planned vote on the changes to the Standards and Required Elements was postponed to the fall meeting due to needing to conduct the spring 2020 meeting virtually.

    Fee Increase

    As adopted at CAPTE’s fall 2018 meeting, programs are reminded that there is an accreditation fee increase in 2022. The new fee is $4,750. Please be sure to account for this increase in the academic budget that includes 2022.

    Program Website Requirement Reminder

    In December 2019, §8.20(b)(2) in the Rules of Practice and Procedure was revised to include the requirement for first-time licensure pass rates, averaged over the most recent two years, to be included with student outcomes that must be made public. CAPTE expects student outcomes to be updated annually at the time the program submits its Annual Accreditation Report (AAR).

    What's New

    Change of Guard

    New Commissioners were elected and retiring Commissioners were recognized at the fall 2019 CAPTE Meeting. The new and re-elected Commissioners attending their first meeting were:
    Bev Johnson, elected Central Panel
    Becky Keith, re-elected Central Panel
    Russell Stowers, PTA Panel
    Neal Henning, re-elected PTA Panel
    Kim Rouillier, re-elected PTA Panel
    Richard Saia, elected PTA Panel
    Lisa Stejskal, elected PTA Panel
    Leah Dvorak, elected PT Panel
    Peggy Gleeson, re-elected PT Panel
    Sandy Pennington, re-elected PT Panel

    Ad Hoc PT Panel Members:
    Daniel Erb (2020)
    Dolly Swisher (2020)

    Welcome to New Staff

    Teresa Emmons joined the Accreditation staff on February 11, 2020. Her position is PTA Program Specialist. One of her primary responsibilities is scheduling on-site reviewers for PT and PTA programs. Teresa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Rhode Island, received her PTA degree from Bay State College, and is pursuing a Master of Science in Health Care Administration at George Mason University. Please welcome Teresa to Accreditation.


    Sandra Wise retired her full-time position as Sr. Director of Accreditation at APTA on January 15, 2020, but graciously committed to staying on as part-time staff through May 31 to assist during the transition. I want to acknowledge and thank Sandra for her work at APTA over the past 5 years.

    Sandra has seen several transitions in education, accreditation and the association during her time as director, including the development of the Education Leadership Partnership and serving as an ex-officio representative, the transition of four chairs of CAPTE, and the launch of APTA’s renewed brand as it enters its centennial. Her staff leadership has prepared the accreditation division to move into the association’s next century with a continued commitment to accountability and excellence.

    Staff Updates

    Candy Bahner, PT, DPT, MS, has been named the Interim Director of Accreditation supporting the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), while a search for a permanent director is conducted. Dr. Bahner joined APTA as staff in June 2017 as the Lead PT Programs Specialist and has 30 years of physical therapy education experience. Prior to joining staff, Dr. Bahner served as chair and professor of the Stefani Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Saint Mary. She has also served in the positions of assistant chair and director of clinical education at Wichita State University and program director and DCE of the PTA program at Washburn University. Candy has significant leadership experience, including service as Kansas chapter president, chief delegate, secretary, and board member, among other significant roles. Prior to joining staff, she served CAPTE as a site visitor, team leader, commissioner and reader consultant.

    Ellen Price, PT, MEd, has been named the Interim Lead PT Programs Specialist. She previously functioned as the Lead PT Programs Specialist for 16 years prior to her retirement. Ellen most recently served as the Interim Lead PTA Programs Specialist for the past 5 months. Ellen has served as faculty in a PT program and served as the program director for three different PTA programs. She has also served as a private consultant for PT Programs.

    Cindy Mihelich, PT, MEd, has been named the Interim Lead PTA Programs Specialist. She previously functioned in this role in 2015-2016. Cindy previously served as a Commissioner from 2006-2012 and served as the PTA Panel Chair from 2007-2009. Cindy developed and served as the program director of a PTA program for 17 years and served in various higher administrative positions at the same institution. She has also served as a private consultant for numerous new and accredited PTA program.

    APTA has reopened the search for all three vacant positions in Accreditation (Director, Lead PTA Programs Specialist, and Senior Coordinator).

    Contact information for Accreditation Staff is as follows:
    Candy Bahner, PT, DPT, MS, Interim Director, Accreditation: 703/706-3242, candybahner@apta.org

    Michael Chevalier, PTA, AAS, BS, Lead Pre-Accreditation Specialist: 703/706-3385, michaelchevalier@apta.org

    Cindy Mihelich, PT, MEd, Interim Lead PTA Programs Specialist: 703/706-3213, cindymihelich@apta.org

    Ellen Price, PT, MEd, Interim Lead PT Programs Specialist: 703/706-8593, ellenprice@apta.org

    Task Forces

    International Accreditation/Certification - the Task Force has created a survey to be distributed to international PT programs. The survey will collect information on programs interested in CAPTE accreditation/recognition. Distribution of the survey has been delayed due to the worldwide impact of COVID-19.

    Scholarship - the Task Force discussed several issues related to identifying and counting scholarship. A position paper is being created to provide guidance for defining scholarship for PT faculty and should be available by January 2021.

    Core Faculty - several issues were raised related to faculty serving as core at more than one program. To further explore this issue, a position paper is being created to further define core faculty and should be available by January 2021.

    CAPTE Student Debt – CAPTE convened the task force in acknowledgement that current student debt may significantly impact the profession’s ability to attract well-qualified individuals into the field and place a long-term burden of debt on practitioners that influence career choices.  CAPTE further recognizes and commends the work completed by the Education Leadership Partnership (ELP) Task Force to examine the issues influencing student debt and provide a list of recommendations for CAPTE’s consideration.  CAPTE endorses the principle of transparency including transparency of student cost related to physical therapy education. The Task Force held its first meeting on May 27, 2020. Draft goals discussed by the task force include the following:

    1. Clarify the role of CAPTE in addressing the student debt burden.
    2. Analyze data related to student cost from an accreditation lens, e.g. what data is currently being collected through the Annual Accreditation Report and other required reporting mechanisms.
    3. Consider each of the recommendations forwarded by the ELP task force.
    4. Formulate recommendations to submit to CAPTE and ELP related to the ELP task force report and CAPTE’s role in improving transparency related to program student costs. 

    Actions Taken at the Spring 2020 CAPTE Meeting

    At its spring 2020 meeting, the Commission:

    • Made 5 Candidate for Accreditation decisions
    • Made 4 Initial Accreditation status decisions
    • Made 154 accreditation (reaffirm and continue) status decisions
    • Granted 2 program withdrawals at institution request
    • Reviewed 7 substantive change requests
    • Reviewed the most recent pass rates provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
    • Reviewed graduation and employment rates as provided by programs in the 2019 Annual Accreditation Report (AAR)
    • Reviewed data provided by programs in the 2019 AAR related to compliance of the Standards and Required Elements.

    The decisions have been posted on the website.

     Archived Updates

    View past CAPTE updates.