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 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; 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 members and the Cadre of On-site Reviewers. Both groups are supported by staff of APTA.
CAPTE commissioners is a group of 32 individuals, with varied backgrounds, who are charged with: determining whether a program meets the standards of quality in physical therapy education; determining what standards of quality to use (i.e., the Standards and Required Elements); and setting policy and procedure for the accreditation process.
The Cadre of On-site Reviewers consists of approximately 300 PTs, PTAs, basic scientists and higher education administrators. Each member of the OSR has undergone at least one 3-day training session to learn about CAPTE's expectations as well as how to conduct an on-site visit.
The APTA Accreditation Department is comprised of ten individuals who provide support for the activities related to on-site visits and CAPTE meetings. Staff are also available to respond to questions about the accreditation process.