Physical Therapy Program Accreditation

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is the only accrediting agency that is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit entry-level physical therapist education programs. Graduation from a CAPTE accredited program is required for licensure to practice physical therapy in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Graduating from an accredited program is a required element for a student/graduate to be eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

Passing the NPTE is one of the required elements to be licensed as a physical therapist in a specific state. Each state licensing authority has its own eligibility criteria for licensure. Explore individual state licensure authorities and their requirements for licensure.

On Sept. 22, 2014, the Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission concurred with the evaluation findings and approved the institution’s request to offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education

The Department of Physical Therapy at Briar Cliff University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22305-3085; telephone: 703-706-3245; email:; website: If needing to contact the program/institution directly, please call 712-279-1708 or email

For more information regarding the process of accreditation, please contact:

Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education American Physical Therapy Association
3030 Potomac Ave., Suite 100
Alexandria, VA 22305-3085
Phone: 703-706-3245

 DPT Goals

In order to uphold the program’s missionthe program will:

  1. Provide an innovative curriculum that prepares students to be autonomous and contemporary interprofessional practitioners, respond to patient and societal needs, and be leaders within their profession and communities.
  2. Promote the advancement of evidence-­‐based physical therapy practice.
  3. Collaborate with local stakeholders to provide patient-­‐centered initiatives that address the health-­‐related challenges of the region. 

In order to uphold the program’s mission, the faculty will:

  1. Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and the advancement of contemporary expertise in the realms in which they teach.
  2. Serve as leaders and role models for students, graduates, and colleagues within the University, Siouxland community, and profession, including, but not limited to, the realms of community service, professional service, interprofessional collaboration, and scholarly activity.

In parallel with the program’s mission, upon completion of all requirements of the Briar Cliff University School of Physical Therapy, the student/graduate will be prepared to:

  1. Practice physical therapy autonomously.
  2. Provide health care services in underserved settings.
  3. Be leaders within their communities and profession.
Formal Complaints About the Program

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs (PT or PTA) that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE's Evaluative Criteria help determine if anyone has violated any of CAPTE's expectations related to academic integrity. CAPTE will consider two types of complaints:

  1. Those that involve situations subject to institutional due process policies and procedures.
  2. Those that involve situations not subject to due process procedures.

If the complainant is involved with an institution/program grievance subject to due process and procedure, CAPTE requires that the process be completed prior to initiating CAPTE's formal complaint process, unless the complaint includes an allegation that the institution/program process has not been handled in a timely manner, as defined in the institution/program policy, in which case CAPTE will consider the complaint prior to completion of the grievance process. Evidence of completion of the institutional process, or of the untimely handling of such must be included in the complaint materials. If the complaint is related to situations that fall outside of due process policies and procedures, the complaint may be filed at any time. CAPTE will not consider complaints that fall outside its jurisdiction/authority as expressed in the Evaluative Criteria and the academic integrity statements. When appropriate, complainants will be referred to other organizations to pursue their  concern(s).

In order for CAPTE to consider a formal complaint, several conditions must be met:

  • The complaint must be specifically linked to the relevant Evaluative Criteria (PT or PTA) or to the integrity statements.
  • The complainant must have exhausted all remedies available through the institution, if appropriate.
  • The complaint must be submitted in writing, using the format prescribed by CAPTE, and must be signed by the complainant.
  • The event(s) being complained about must have occurred at least in part within three (3) years of the date the complaint is filed.

In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria. CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint. To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703-706-3245 or 

CAPTE acts on formal complaints twice a year, in April and October/November. The timelines involved in the complaint process are such that complaints received between January 1 and June 30 will be considered at the October/November meeting and complaints received between July 1 and December 31 will be considered at the April meeting. 


The program has determined that its curriculum meets the state educational requirements for licensure or certification in all states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands secondary to its accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, based on the following:  CAPTE accreditation of a physical therapist program satisfies state educational requirements in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, students graduating from CAPTE-accredited physical therapist education programs are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) and apply for licensure in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information regarding state qualifications and licensure requirements, refer to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy website at

Graduation from the Program does not guarantee the ability to pass the NPTE, nor to gain licensure in a specific state. The Program validates a student’s graduation with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and, when requested by a student/graduate, for a specific state licensure authority. It is a student’s/graduate’s responsibility to complete the necessary steps and paperwork to sit for the NPTE and to apply for specific state licensure.

NC SARA Professional Licensure Information

The DPT program at BCU is accredited by CAPTE. According to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, it states:

General Eligibility Requirements

In order to sit for the NPTE, you must meet the following eligibility requirements: 1. You must be at least eighteen years old. 2. You must have a degree appropriate for the exam level from a CAPTE-accredited institution. Candidates who did not graduate from a CAPTE-accredited institution should see the additional requirements outlined below. 3. You cannot have an open security investigation or sanctions that have not been completed.

Exam Eligibility

Once you register for the NPTE, your jurisdiction will need to make you eligible for the exam. This process differs by state, so it is important to understand your jurisdiction’s policies and licensing requirements. Jurisdictions often require a licensure application, supporting academic records, an application fee, or other documentation before they make their candidates eligible for the NPTE. It is your responsibility to ensure that your jurisdiction has all the necessary information to make you eligible for the exam. 

If you have further questions, don't hesitate to reach out. 

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