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Every five years, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is required to collect input from stakeholders on the adequacy of the Standards and Required Elements for accreditation of PT and PTA programs to evaluate the quality of those programs and their relevance to student needs.

CAPTE is seeking input from program directors, institutional administrators, students, APTA national and component leaders, physical therapy clinicians, other accrediting agencies, state boards, and others.

Your perspective is important, so please consider participating in this process by reviewing the current Standards and Required Elements and providing your feedback/comments, using the links below.

The submission deadline is June 20.

Once the call for comments closes, CAPTE will review comments to determine if changes to the standards and required elements are necessary, and, if so, whether the changes are considered minor modifications or substantive changes, per CAPTE's Rules of Practice and Procedure. For details on how each type of revision is addressed, scroll down to On commenting - Part 5 in full.

Your comments on the standards and required elements are critical to the success of PT and PTA education, and to the readiness of students to provide quality care to patients and clients. 

On Commenting

Anyone who participants in this review is not required to comment on all Standards and Required Elements. You can choose to comment on any individual standard or required element or all.  More details can be found by accessing the online commenting portals. 

We're Here To Help

If you have questions or additional comments related to this five-year review of the Standards and Required Elements for either PT programs or PTA programs, please contact CAPTE at accreditation@apta.org.

PT Programs

Review the Standards and Required Elements for Accreditation of  Physical Therapist Programs. Access this document.

Access Online Commenting Portal

PTA Programs

Review the Standards and Required Elements for Accreditation of  Physical Therapist Assistant Programs. Access this document.

Access Online Commenting Portal

What CAPTE's Rules State

Per CAPTE's Rules it states:

(b)     All comments shall be reviewed by staff and the Central Panel to determine whether, in light of the comments, significant and substantive revisions in the standards/elements are necessary.

         (1)     If CAPTE determines that the needed revisions are not significant and substantive, then CAPTE will propose revisions pursuant to §5.2.

         (2)     If it is determined that the comments call for significant and substantive revision of the standards/elements, CAPTE will initiate a process for revision within twelve (12) months of that determination.

 

5.1 General Information

(a) Responsibility for development of the standards for accreditation lies within the scope and functions of CAPTE. The following procedures guide the timely revision and implementation of the official Standards used by CAPTE in its decisions on candidacy and accreditation statuses. Two mechanisms for revision are used.

(1) Modification of individual required elements as needed [see §5.2]

(2) Planned review and revision of required elements as a whole [see §5.3]

(b) Suggestions for new standards/elements or modifications to existing standards/elements may come from any source at any time. They typically originate from the physical therapy education community (administrators, faculty, students), from individuals involved in the accreditation process (on-site reviewers, CAPTE members, staff), or from organizations interested in improving the quality of physical therapy education.

(c) Individuals wishing to propose new or revised standards/elements should contact the Accreditation staff.

5.2 Procedures for Modification of Standards and Required Elements

(a) Minor Modifications: CAPTE may make minor modifications to existing standards/elements (i.e., changes to clarify the intent or focus of a standard/element by rewording) and/or alter the evidence needed to demonstrate compliance with a standard/element, provided that the modification does not materially alter the intent of the relevant standard/element.

(1) Unless proposed by CAPTE, all suggestions for minor modifications or evidence changes are first reviewed by the CAPTE Central Panel. If the Central Panel finds merit in the proposal, the proposed change is referred to the relevant review panel (PT or PTA) for further action. The review panel will evaluate the proposal to determine if existing standards/elements/evidence lists already address the issue. If existing standards/elements/evidence lists do not address the issue, the review panel will develop draft language and submit the revised standard/element/evidence to CAPTE for discussion and action to adopt.

(2) Adequate notice of minor modifications, including the effective date, shall be given to the communities of interest via the CAPTE website.

(b) Substantive Changes: CAPTE may make substantive changes to existing standards/elements (i.e., new standards/elements or changes that materially alter the intent of existing standards/elements) only after notifying the communities of interest of the proposed change, providing reasonable opportunity for comment, considering the feedback obtained, and providing sufficient advance notice of implementation.

(1) Unless proposed by CAPTE, all suggestions for modifications or evidence changes are first reviewed by the CAPTE Central Panel. If the Central Panel finds merit in the proposal, the proposed change is referred to the relevant review panel (PT or PTA) for further action. The review panel will evaluate the proposal to determine if existing standards/elements/evidence lists already address the issue. If existing standards/elements/evidence lists do not address the issue, the review panel will develop draft language and submit the new or revised standards/elements/evidence to CAPTE for discussion and action to circulate the change.

(2) Proposed changes, including the planned effective date, will be circulated to the communities of interest who will be given at least thirty (30) days to provide comment. Comments will be compiled and provided to the relevant review panel for consideration at the next regularly scheduled CAPTE meeting. CAPTE Rules of Practice and Procedure January 2021 39

(i) If the feedback is predominantly in support of the change, the review panel will make any necessary editorial changes that might arise from the commentary and submit the proposed change to CAPTE for final approval.

(ii) If the feedback is not predominantly in support of the change, the review panel will either determine not to proceed further, or edit the proposed change consistent with the feedback and circulate the changes to the communities of interest again for further comment.

(3) Adequate notice of substantive changes, including the effective date, will be given to the communities of interest via the CAPTE website.

 

5.3     Procedures for Planned Review and Revision of the Standards for Accreditation

(a)     Approximately every five (5) years (calculated from their effective date), CAPTE shall seek comment from its stakeholders about the adequacy of the standards/elements to evaluate the quality of educational programs and their relevance to the educational needs of students.  Comments will be sought from the following communities of interest:

         (1)     Program directors

         (2)     Institutional administrators (President, Provost, Dean) of accredited and developing programs affected by the standards/elements under review

         (3)     Students

         (4)     APTA leadership, including national and component leaders

         (5)     Physical therapy practitioners

         (6)     Other accrediting agencies

         (7)     State higher education authorizing boards

         (8)     State physical therapy licensing boards

         (9)     Others who have made their interest known

(b)     All comments shall be reviewed by staff and the Central Panel to determine whether, in light of the comments, significant and substantive revisions in the standards/elements are necessary.

         (1)     If CAPTE determines that the needed revisions are not significant and substantive, then CAPTE will propose revisions pursuant to §5.2.

         (2)     If it is determined that the comments call for significant and substantive revision of the standards/elements, CAPTE will initiate a process for revision within twelve (12) months of that determination.

(c)     If significant and substantive revisions are needed, a special subcommittee, called the Standards Revision Group (SRG) will be appointed to revise the standards/elements.  The SRG will consist, at least, of the Chair of CAPTE (or a designee) and one member from each review panel (or their designees) as well as three (3) consultants from the external communities of interest.  At least one of these consultants must be a non-physical therapist.  Other members may be appointed as needed.

(d)     Procedures of the Standards Revision Group.  The SRG will:

         (1)     review the commentary received about the standards/elements

         (2)     draft a revision of the standards/elements based on the commentary and determine the timetable of the revision process and implementation of any changes in the standards/elements

         (3)     circulate the proposed revision to all the communities of interest served by CAPTE

         (4)     collect comments pertaining to the draft and incorporate such feedback in a second draft.  This process may include public hearings at the discretion of the SRG.

         (5)     provide the second draft to CAPTE no later than thirty (30) days prior to its next regularly scheduled meeting

(e)     Procedures of CAPTE.  CAPTE will:

         (1)     discuss the second draft and determine if a third draft of the revisions is needed.  At its own discretion, CAPTE may develop the third draft or may ask the SRG to do so.  The resulting third draft, if needed, will be circulated to all the communities of interest for comment.

         (2)     schedule and hold at least one (1) public hearing to allow testimony on the proposed changes.  The hearing may be transcribed and the transcription provided to CAPTE.

         (3)     based on input from the hearings, CAPTE will edit the draft to create the final version of standards/elements for accreditation.

         (4)     take action, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, to adopt the revised standards/elements.  The proposed changes will be adopted, if passed by two thirds of a quorum of CAPTE.

         (5)     set the effective date for implementation which is typically at least one year following adoption.

         (6)     provide copies of the adopted standards/elements to the communities of interest along with notification of the implementation date.

5.4 Implementation of Revised Standards

(a) Revision of standards typically reflects the evolving nature of physical therapy education, research and practice. To assure its communities of interest that programs are evolving in concert with such changes, CAPTE expects all programs to be in compliance with revised Standards within two (2) years of their effective date, regardless of when programs are scheduled for their next self-study and on-site visit.

(b) CAPTE reserves the right to shorten or lengthen the timeline for compliance as appropriate to the revised Standards. In such cases, CAPTE will announce different timelines when revised Standards are adopted.

5.4     Implementation of Revised Standards

(a)     Revision of standards typically reflects the evolving nature of physical therapy education, research and practice.  To assure its communities of interest that programs are evolving in concert with such changes, CAPTE expects all programs to be in compliance with revised Standards within two (2) years of their effective date, regardless of when programs are scheduled for their next self-study and on-site visit.

(b)     CAPTE reserves the right to shorten or lengthen the timeline for compliance as appropriate to the revised Standards.  In such cases, CAPTE will announce different timelines when revised Standards are adopted.