Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program (CCIP) Overview

This voluntary program is designed primarily for people interested in or involved with clinical education (clinical instructors [CIs], center coordinators of clinical education [CCCEs], academic coordinators of clinical education [ACCEs]) and is recognized by APTA as a Clinical Instructor (CI) Education and Credentialing Program.

The program was developed through a grant funded by APTA under the direction of principal investigator Michael J Emery, PT, EdD, with co-investigators Nancy Peatman, PT, MEd, and Lynn Foord, PT, MS, MEd, and with materials used by the New England Consortium of Academic Coordinators of Clinical Education.

The program addresses issues of:

  • planning and preparing for physical therapy students during their clinical education experiences
  • developing learning experiences
  • supporting ongoing learning through questioning and effective feedback
  • developing skills of performance evaluation
  • identifying and managing students with exceptional situations
  • identifying legal implications for clinical educators, including issues presented by ADA legislation

The Assessment Center provides each physical therapist and physical therapist assistant learner with the opportunity to apply information from the education program in simulated situations. Successful completion of each station in the Assessment Center results in the awarding of APTA CI credentialing. The six stations of the Assessment Center have been integrated into the program schedule. Therefore, it is essential for each participant to attend all sessions of the Course and Assessment Center in its entirety to be eligible for credentialing. It takes a total of 15 hours to complete the entire CI Education and Credentialing Program, which may be offered in several different configurations depending on the accessibility and needs of learners. Successful completion of this entire program (didactic and Assessment Center) earn physical therapists and physical therapist assistants APTA Clinical Instructor Credentialing.

The Course and Assessment Center will be useful for both new and experienced physical therapist and physical therapist assistant educators involved with clinical education. Although the information presented covers the basic skills for CIs, the interactive tasks and large- and small-group discussions will be of benefit even to experienced educators.

To be eligible to attend this course, all participants must complete and submit the participant dossier and accompanying documentation to the credentialed trainer prior to taking the course. The credentialed trainer reviews all documentation to determine the individual's acceptance into the course based on specified criteria (eg, current license as a PT or license/registration/certification as a PTA). Included as part of the course registration fee are: the CI Education Manual (APTA members-$90; available to non-members for $180 ), Assessment Center, CI credential certificate, CI credential pin, and registry on an APTA database.

APTA Credentialing for Experienced Clinical Instructors

Outcome Criteria

There are specific outcome criteria against which experienced CIs must assess themselves to determine their readiness to complete the Assessment Center without taking the CI Education Course. The experienced CI must possess all of the criteria listed below to successfully complete the six stations of the Assessment Center. People who are to become credentialed through this alternative mechanism must still complete and submit a participant dossier in advance of completing the Assessment Center, and must notify the trainer and sponsoring organization of the course of his/her intent is to complete only the Assessment Center to receive APTA CI Credentialing. In addition, the applicant is still required to pay fees associated with credentialing (APTA members-$90, non-member-$180) to include a copy of the APTA Physical Therapy Clinical Instructor Education Manual (same as the one used for the course) for study purposes, the Assessment Center fee, costs associated with printing and mailing the credential, and registry on an APTA Database.

The experienced CI must possess the following:

  • Understanding of and experience with the management of the "exceptional" student
  • Ability to communicate effectively in a variety of situations, including those involving conflict
  • Ability to define student readiness and plan and conduct relevant learning experiences
  • Ability to conduct and document formative and summative information of student performance
  • Ability to apply the principles of teaching and learning in the instructional process
  • Ability to adjust supervisory approach based on students' need
  • Knowledge of legal issues and federal regulations related to clinical education

Successful completion of the Assessment Center only earns experienced physical therapists and physical therapist assistants APTA Clinical Instructor Credentialing. If the experienced CI does not successfully complete the Assessment Center, then he/she will be encouraged by the course trainer to complete the CI Education Course in preparation for successfully completing the Assessment Center and receiving APTA CI credentialing.


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