Should I Go To a School That Is Not Accredited?

A Quick Q & A.

Q: What is Accreditation? 

A: A process in the United States that ensures the quality of education for the students


Q: Who grants Physical Therapy (PT) schools accreditation? 

A: A body called “CAPTE” or Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education.


Q: Why is accreditation important? 

A: In order to sit for your licensing exam and become a licensed Physical Therapist, you have to have graduated from an accredited institution. 


How accreditation works

When PT schools are applying for accreditation they are applying to get accepted for accreditation, aka “Candidacy.” Candidacy means that a school is a candidate for accreditation. 

The schools have to write down everything that they want to happen in school and actually do it. They have to say where the money is going. They say how much is going to a cadaver lab, how much is going to the teachers and the students. They have to break down every single lesson plan and every single test for every single student every single week. 

In order to achieve accreditation, students need to go through the program. Then the people from CAPTE come back and say, “all right, did you do what you said you were going to do?”

Did the students go through all the curriculum? Did they go through the program? How many people fell down and how many people were successful? Once they do all their paperwork and it’s approved, they are granted accreditation before that class graduates. 


The odds are in your favor!

Candidacy is harder to get than accreditation. So, a school that is not accredited yet but, is granted candidacy, is 99% of the way there. Everyone is fighting for this accreditation, so the schools are listening to their students more and they care more. They put in as much work into getting accredited as you put into getting into that school. Also, losing accreditation once granted candidacy is extremely rare.


Once accreditation happens, how long does it take?

An institution has to be accepted for accreditation before they admit students, or while students are applying. Once they're granted accreditation they can officially start accepting students. Accreditation happens before the first cohort graduates. How long it takes depends on how long their program is. It could take two and a half, two years, but it happens from before the first cohort is accepted. Once the first cohort starts the program until let’s say about three to six months or six to 12 months before the first cohort graduate. CAPTE reviews the school and marks off their checklist stating that it did all that it said it would do. If so, they are granted Accreditation. Now, that first cohort of graduates will have graduated from an accredited institution and can take their licensing exam.

So, if you're thinking about applying to a school that's not accredited yet, or if you have an interview there, don't sweat it!  

Thank You For Your Attention!

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