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All programs interested in starting a physical therapy program are required to submit an Application For Candidacy (AFC) to the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If CAPTE approves the program’s AFC, Candidacy status is granted. Candidacy status is required by CAPTE to matriculate students into a DPT program.

Subsequently, an application for full accreditation is required by all candidate programs. This application must be submitted in the penultimate semester of the first cohort’s program. Each application is followed by an onsite visit by an accreditation team, typically consisting of 2-3 members to verify information in the report. CAPTE meets two times each year, in April and October. Decisions regarding candidacy and accreditation status are made during these meetings.

  •  Submission of Application for Candidacy Status - December 1st, 2022
  • CAPTE candidacy site visit - Jan 2023
  • CAPTE decision April 2023
  • Matriculation of Charter Class - August 2023
  • Submission of Application for Accreditation - December 2025
  • CAPTE Accreditation Visit - Fall 2025
  • CAPTE Accreditation Decision - May 2026
  • Charter Class Graduation - May 2026
  • Charter class eligible to sit for the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) - July 2026

CAPTE's rules have recently changed regarding the accreditation status of developing programs. Under CAPTE’s current rules, Candidacy is considered to be an accredited status, as such the credits and degree earned from a program with Candidacy status are considered, by CAPTE, to be from an accredited program. Therefore, students in the charter (first) class should be eligible to take the licensure exam even if CAPTE withholds accreditation at the end of the candidacy period. That said, it is up to each state licensing agency, not CAPTE, to determine who is eligible for licensure.  Information on licensing requirements should be directed to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT;  or specific state boards (a list of state boards and contact information is available on FSBPT's website).