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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. CAPTE does not accredit institutions and is not a Title IV gatekeeper.

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education:

  • Is the only accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit entry-level physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs;
  • Has been recognized as an independent agency since 1977 and has been the only recognized agency to accredit physical therapy programs since 1983;
  • Currently accredits over 300 physical therapist education programs and over 390 physical therapist assistant education programs in the US and one physical therapist education program in Scotland;
  • Has 13 board members and 73 panel members from a variety of constituencies: PT and PTA clinicians, PT and PTA educators, higher education administrators and the public;
  • Maintains a cadre of approximately 200 active volunteers who completed training updates to conduct program accreditation reviews of physical therapy programs;
  • Conducts on-site visits to approximately 80 programs annually;
  • Reviews information from approximately one-third of all accredited programs at each meeting;
  • Is an active member of the Association of Specialized and Programmatic Accreditors (ASPA) and subscribes to the ASPA Code of Good Practice.

The Commission comprises broad representation from the educational community, the physical therapy profession, and the public. Members include physical therapy educators who are basic scientists, curriculum specialists, and academic administrators; physical therapy clinicians and clinical educators; administrators from institutions of higher education with allied health programs; and public representatives. The wide-ranging experience and expertise of this group in education in general and physical therapy education in particular provide ongoing assurance that the accreditation process of physical therapy education programs is fair, reliable, and effective.

The CAPTE Accreditation Process depends on the commitment of numerous volunteers, who undertake the important work of providing peer review of physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs. The volunteer groups include the CAPTE Board, PT and PTA Panel members, and the Cadre of On-site Reviewers. CAPTE volunteers are supported by staff of APTA.