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Full Story

Announcing ACAPT National Registry of PT Graduates Task Force

Mar 5, 2019

At the fall 2018 business meeting, ACAPT adopted a resolution to develop a strategic plan to determine what would be required to develop and implement a national registry of physical therapists who graduated from an accredited program.
The purpose of this announcement is to seek interested volunteers for this small task force.  The work product will be a strategic plan to implement such a registry and the task force’s recommendation whether or not to proceed with executing that plan.
Whenever a physical therapist moves from one licensing jurisdiction to another, the therapist’s educational program must certify to the jurisdiction that the therapist completed the required program.  For the bachelors and certificate degree stages of our profession, clinical education often occurred after the undergraduate degree and was not tracked by the university registrar.  In these cases, the programs must keep a record of data sufficient to certify program completion for every graduate to any jurisdiction.  The data required to by jurisdictions varies widely and requires sensitive information such as social security numbers and dates of birth.  
In the current climate of identity and credit fraud, the process poses unnecessary risks to the programs and their graduates.  The process is also complex, slow, and confusing for graduates.  While some know to contact the program directly with the appropriate form, most begin with a general question, not knowing how or where to begin.  Many send the program completion form to the registrar, and that office does not complete the form and either forwards it to the program or returns it to the applicant.  Often, applicants are delayed in getting a job in the new jurisdiction because of this one part of the process.  The process is also inefficient and labor intensive for the jurisdictions.  Typically, the one piece of information outstanding for an applicant seeking licensure in a new jurisdiction is the program completion form.  Staff in the jurisdictions spend an inordinate amount of time fielding questions from applicants and tracking incomplete applications due to this one item.
A relatively simple solution is now possible.  The federation of state boards of physical therapy (FSBPT) has implemented a new system for computerized verification of graduation cohorts.  This system presently is used to certify that a student is on track for graduation and can register for the NPTE.  With a minor modification, this infrastructure could also be used for the program to certify program completion after graduation.  This would be a simple and secure way to verify completion that could be accessible to all jurisdictions, eliminating the need for program completion forms and the problems associated with the current process.  It would be fast, simple, efficient, and secure, saving time for all stakeholders, programs, graduates, and jurisdictions.
CHARGE:  The ACAPT National Registry of PT Graduates Task Force shall develop a strategic plan sufficient to create and implement a national registry of graduates of accredited physical therapy programs in the United States:  The plan will:
• Identify the pros and cons to such a registry process
• Recommend a minimal data set required by jurisdictions to satisfy program completion
• Recommend a process for programs to certify new graduates in the registry, including a timeline to begin doing so
• Recommend a process for past graduates to request inclusion in the registry, and a process to add them to it
• Enumerate the steps needed to ensure that this registry becomes the sole means by which jurisdictions gain verification of the educational completion of an accredited PT program
• Identify any costs to stakeholders
ACAPT LIAISON:  The ACAPT liaison to the National Registry of PT Graduates Task Force is John Buford, PT, PhD, of The Ohio State University.
CHAIR:  The chair shall be elected by the members of the task force, subject to approval by the ACAPT Board of Directors.
All members of the task force must have knowledge and/or experience with the licensure process for physical therapists.  Members representing the PT profession must be affiliated with an ACAPT member institution in good standing.
The task force will be small and shall be comprised of the following members:
1 – 2 current PT Program directors interested in developing a registry
One representative from the FSBPT
1 -2 representatives from licensure jurisdictions interested in developing a registry

Work Plan:

The Task Force will conduct its work by conference call at no cost to members of the task force.


The Task Force will meet monthly. Minutes from each conference call will be provided to the ACAPT Board of Directors and a final report will be presented by August, 2019.


$1,500 has been approved in the ACAPT budget to support the work of the Task Force.  To access these funds, the task force will need to submit a detailed budget request explaining how the funds will be used to support its work.

Sample Strategic Plan:

A sample draft of the front section of such a strategic plan is below.

Mission: Develop and implement a national registry of graduates from accredited physical therapy (and physical therapist assistant) programs

Vision: By 2024, all US jurisdictions will utilize and accept the registry as a source of verification of program completion

Goal 1: Develop a national mechanism through FSBPT to create a record of program completion for all graduates from accredited programs going forward for new cohorts graduating in 2020 and beyond.
Goal 2: Secure agreement from a select group of jurisdictions to run a pilot project during the 2021 year to use this process.
Goal 3: Develop a process to register past graduates and implement this option for the pilot jurisdictions by 2022.
Goal 4: Secure 100% participation among jurisdictions by 2024.


The strategic scan would have a SWOT analysis in the front as a strategic scan, a set of goals necessary to achieve the mission and vision, objectives sufficient to accomplish the stated goals, and a timeline, including persons responsible for action.  It is envisioned that a new task force with a larger group of members would be required to implement the plan, if it is adopted.  People on this original task force would be eligible to serve on that new task force if they so desire.  

Application: Please complete the application by March 27 by following this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NatlRegistryTaskForce 

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