Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the perspectives of program directors of CAPTE accredited physical therapist assistant (PTA) educational programs on clinical reasoning (CR) in PTA students and the applicability of the Integrated Clinical Education Theory (ICET) to clinical reasoning in PTA students through exploratory research. Methods: Participants completed a survey that collected information about demographics and PTA program directors’ perspectives on qualities of clinical reasoning and on the concepts of the ICET. Descriptive statistics and directed content analysis were used to analysis participants’ responses to Likert scale questions and open-ended questions, respectively. Results: Three hundred and seventy PTA program directors were emailed a questionnaire and 97 participated. Participants indicated that clinical reasoning is an important skill for PTA students to develop and perceived that the ICET concepts are an important component in clinical reasoning development. Perceptions of clinical reasoning also aligned well with the definition of clinical reasoning associated with physical therapy students. Conclusion: Clinical reasoning is an important skill that should be developed in PTA students. The ICET framework can potentially serve as the foundation for the development of clinical reasoning in PTA students.

Author Bio(s)

Melissa A. Cencetti, PT, DPT, EdD, is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Department at Misericordia University in Dallas, PA. She is a licensed physical therapist is the state of Pennsylvania and has completed the APTA Certificate of Advanced Competency in Home Health.




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