In recent years, some clinical organizations have implemented or voiced the intent to assess a fee for clinical education (CE) experiences. At the same time, student debt is also a major concern within the physical therapy profession. Many believe that charging for clinical education experiences may drive up the cost of education and become an unsustainable barrier to preparing physical therapists and physical therapist assistants for clinical practice.
Current health care and higher education challenges have converged and forced educators to examine the economics of providing CE experiences, and to develop sustainable policies for educating future professionals. ACAPT's National Consortium of Clinical Educators (NCCE) has examined the issue of payment for CE experiences through a task force, research and survey.
Based on the NCCE's work, ACAPT members voted in October 2020 to oppose direct monetary payment for clinical education experiences and promote non-monetary benefits. An overwhelming majority of surveyed DPT academic programs do not currently pay for clinical experiences and the majority of clinical respondents indicate they do not receive, are not seeking, or are not investigating payment for CE. Legal and ethical considerations were prominent in survey responses.
See more recommendations in NCCE's payment task force final report. ACAPT’s board has asked NCCE to conduct further research into non-monetary benefit options.