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ACAPT members approve observation hours guidance, DPT structure & more

Nov 17, 2021

Read on for exciting news based on member institutions' votes on motions at the ACAPT's October 2021 business meeting during the Educational Leadership Conference (ELC):


Non-physical therapist educators can now join ACAPT for free as individual members under their member institution.

We encourage ALL faculty at member institutions and their clinical affiliates to set up their own online account through the ACAPT Member Portal at
members.acapt.orgThe portal allows you to:
  • Update your contact information and interests.
  • Access your member benefits including the Leadership Compass and Career Center.
  • Search the member directory for collaboration with your colleagues on publications and research.
REMINDER: Each member institution must also designate a primary ACAPT member representative who votes on behalf of the program and can be any core faculty, including director of clinical education (DCE), at the educational institution. The representative role is not limited to program directors or chairs.

Review the full approved motion about individual membership.



Pre-admission observation hours guidance

ACAPT encourages admissions committees to discontinue listing recommended observation hours and be explicit about observation hours criteria to better inform applicants and clinical sites. See the approved motion.

Based on previous reports from ACAPT's National Consortium of Clinical Educators (NCCE), we generally recommend 20-50 pre-admission required observation hours.

An upcoming ACAPT survey in early 2022 will also ask programs to report their hours so we can identify trends.


Structure of DPT programs within a university

As the physical therapy profession matures as a doctoring profession, we've looked to our academic colleagues for models of program structure that will ensure DPT education programs are able to:
  • Function autonomously.
  • Be adequately resourced to innovate and advance the profession.
  • Develop equitable inclusion.
  • Be represented at the highest levels of the parent institution.
ACAPT members voted to support the following:
  • All PT educational units will be named a department, school or college of physical therapy by 2030.
  • The leader of the educational unit will be a PT who serves as the chairperson/head of that department, dean of that school or college, or equivalent.
  • The chairperson or dean will have autonomy of the fiscal resources and budgetary oversight of the DPT program and report directly to either a dean, chief academic officer or equivalent.

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