U.S.Department of Education Staff Report

to the

Senior Department Official on Recognition Compliance Issues

Recommendation Page

  1. Agency: American Physical Therapy Association ( 1977 / 2014)
    (The dates provided are the date of initial listing as a recognized agency and the date of the agency’s last grant of recognition.)
  2. Action Item: Petition for Continued Recognition
  3. Current Scope of Recognition: The accreditation and preaccreditation ("Candidate for Accreditation") in the United States of physical therapist education programs leading to the first professional degree at the master's or doctoral level and physical therapist assistant education programs at the associate degree level and for its accreditation of such programs offered via distance education.
  4. Requested Scope of Recognition: Same as above.
  5. Date of Advisory Committee Meeting: 02/07/2018
  6. Staff Recommendation: Continue the agency's current recognition and require the agency to come into compliance within 12 months, and submit a compliance report 30 days after the 12 month period that demonstrates the agency's compliance with the issues identified below.
  7. Issues or Problems: It does not appear that the agency meets the following sections of the Secretary’s Criteria for Recognition. These issues are summarized below and discussed in detail under the Summary of Findings section.

    -- The agency must provide documentation to demonstrate it has taken an adverse action and enforced the timeframes required by this section. [§602.20(a)]

    -- The agency must provide documentation to demonstrate that it clearly communicates to a program when it grants an extension for good cause. [§602.20(b)]

Executive Summary

PART I: GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGENCY

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a professional association of more than 80,000 physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, and students of physical therapy. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the APTA is a programmatic accreditor. CAPTE membership is voluntary and its principal purpose is to accredit higher education programs. CAPTE accredits and preaccredits physical therapist (PT) education programs leading to the first professional degree at the master’s or doctoral level and physical therapist assistant (PTA) education programs at the associate degree level.

CAPTE accreditation of PT and PTA programs is required for access to the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) Program which was established via the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990, Section 737 of the Public Health Service Act. As a programmatic, non-Title IV eligible accreditor, CAPTE is not required to meet the separate and independent requirements in the Secretary’s Criteria for Recognition.

CAPTE currently accredits 202 PT programs, 274 PTA programs, and 74 preaccredited ("developing") programs throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, and its territories. In addition to the U.S. programs, the agency also recognizes PT programs in Canada and the United Kingdom, although these programs are outside the scope of the agency’s recognition by the Secretary.


Recognition History

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) was first recognized by the Secretary in 1977. In 1985, the Secretary granted an expansion of scope to the agency to include the preaccreditation of programs for the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant. The agency has been periodically reviewed and continued recognition has been granted after each review. The agency has evaluated programs offering courses using distance education methodology since 1994 and 1997 for the PT and PTA programs, respectively, and has been included within its scope since July 2002.

CAPTE was last reviewed for continued recognition at the fall 2012 meeting of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). Both Department staff and the NACIQI recommended to the senior Department official to continue the agency's recognition and require it to come into compliance within 12 months, and submit a compliance report that demonstrates the agency's compliance with the issues cited in the staff report. The senior Department official, Acting Assistant Secretary David Bergeron, concurred with the recommendations. The compliance report was reviewed and accepted by both Department staff and NACIQI at the spring 2014 meeting.

Since the agency's last review, the Department has received no complaints and no 3rd party comments.

In conjunction with agency's petition, Department staff reviewed the agency’s supporting documentation and observed a CAPTE meeting in April 2017.


PART II: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

The agency meets the requirements of the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition.

PART III: THIRD PARTY COMMENTS

The Department did not receive any written third - party comments regarding this agency.