Purpose. The purpose of this study was to develop descriptions and identify commonalities of current clinical education models used in physical therapy programs; then, using this information, to examine differences in first-time and ultimate pass rates among the derived formula from Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited programs in 2011-2013. Methods. This mixed methods study captured qualitative and quantitative data from the 204 PT programs located in the United States and Puerto Rico from 2011 to 2013. The data were coded into 11 different clinical education models which represented all programs. The models were then linked to first time and ultimate pass rates. Results. Twenty out of 204 (9.8%) PT programs reported first-time pass rates and 201/204 (98.5%) reported ultimate pass rates in the cited three-year cycle period stated in this study. The three most commonly occurring models make up 84% of all current existing models. All three frequently occurring models include both full time and clinical internship clinical experiences. Additionally, these models outperformed the national pass rate average by at least 3%. Conclusions. Our results are the first to provide an analysis of the various models in use in physical therapist education, as well as a preliminary outlook on how clinical education design is matched against a program’s pass rate on the national exam. Since pass rate is one of the few standardized, modifiable outcomes for CAPTE approved programs, it was selected as the outcome to allow comparison of clinical education models. One of the driving forces behind this study was to illustrate clearly the tremendous variety of clinical education models and a better understanding of the scope of the variances that is occurring.

Author Bio(s)

  • Chalee Engelhard, PT, EdD, MBA, GCS, is an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy, at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Christine McCallum, PT, PhD, ELI Fellow APTA is a Professor and Director of Clinical Education, Physical Therapy, at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.




Submission Location


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