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What’s the difference between ACAPT and CAPTE?

Sep 29, 2020

We've heard some folks get confused between the two organizations, so below is a Q&A to help explain.

Who is CAPTE?

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) grants specialized accreditation status to qualified entry-level education programs for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.  CAPTE is the authoritative body that formally recognizes PT and PTA programs when they meet specific core standards.  

CAPTE also:

  • Accredits over 250 physical therapist education programs and over 300 physical therapist assistant education programs in the U.S. and one physical therapist education program in Scotland.
  • Maintains a cadre of more than 300 volunteers who are trained to conduct on-site reviews of physical therapy programs.

Who is ACAPT?

The American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) is an association whose members are PT education programs and their educators – both academic and clinical -- across the United States.  ACAPT promotes excellence in PT education programs through leadership development, mentoring, networking, training and other resources.

Over 95% of all U.S. accredited PT programs are ACAPT institution members.

ACAPT also:

ACAPT’s consortia focus on specific topics within PT education – including clinical education, education research, clinical reasoning, pedagogy, simulation and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

How are the two organizations similar?

Both organizations target physical therapist academic programs in the U.S. – and both advance the enterprise of physical therapy in higher education.

How do they differ?

CAPTE decides which PT programs are accredited and can enforce its rules, while ACAPT is a professional association that encourages excellence across PT education programs as a whole, while providing training and resources for PT program chairs, faculty and clinical educators.

CAPTE accredits both PT and physical therapy assistant (PTA) programs.  Currently, ACAPT’s members are physical therapist programs.

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