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The APTA Fellowship in Education Leadership, formerly called the Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship, provides you with the skills and resources you need to be an innovative and influential leader.

The award-winning fellowship is a 52-week blended learning program accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education. It is provided in collaboration by APTA and the Academy of Physical Therapy Education, with the PTA Educators Special Interest Group; and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy.


The total cost of participation is estimated to be $12,000. Tuition is $7,000 and is due upon acceptance into the program.

Additional costs associated with this program include:

  • Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service application fee.
  • Required texts and purchase of online articles (estimated cost $1,500).
  • Travel to attend three, two-day on-site sessions [October (associated with Education Leadership Conference), March, and July], situated throughout the United States (estimated cost $4,000).
  • Hotel accommodations for on-site sessions (the fellowship program provides meals during on-site sessions).

Institutional Support and Grants

  • The institution is strongly encouraged to provide financial support to the fellow, as it will directly benefit from the enhanced knowledge and skills of the individual. On the Nomination Form, please indicate what level of financial support the institution will provide the applicant.
  • To help cover fellowship costs, past fellows have also applied for internal grants at their institutions. These grants include travel, professional development, and other university scholarships.
  • Several fellows attending two-year colleges have received Perkins Grants.


Applicants must be:

  • A current APTA member who is licensed/registered/certified or licensure-eligible in the United States.
  • An aspiring or current director in a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant education program.

No more than one applicant per institution can be accepted per cohort.

No more than one applicant per academic institution will be accepted per cohort.

Application Process

March 15 is the final deadline for applications. Decisions are communicated each April.

1. Download the nomination form and send it to your supervisor for signature.

2. Submit your application via RF-PTCAS with all required elements by March 15.

  • Upload your nomination form to the Program Materials section.
  • Add your PT license and APTA member numbers in the Supporting Information section.
  • Enter the contact information for three evaluators (references) in the Evaluations section. One evaluation must be submitted by the same supervisor who completed the nomination form. Once you have entered the contact information, your evaluators should receive an email from RF-PTCAS with instructions on how to access the CAS Evaluator Portal, complete the evaluation, and upload a letter of reference.
  • Upload your current CV with evidence of past leadership activities in the Program Materials section of RF-PTCAS. Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to use the CAPTE CV format.
  • Present clear evidence of your potential for leadership in physical therapy education the Program Materials section of RF-PTCAS. You will need to provide: 1) A defining moment in your leadership journey, what has facilitated your growth as a leader, or your greatest leadership challenge. 2) Your leadership career goals and how your career aspirations are consistent with the fellowship mission. 3) Areas in which you hope to grow or learn through your participation in the fellowship. 4) A need your institution is facing that might be addressed through a fellowship leadership project.

Time Commitment

The fellowship is a 52-week curriculum delivered over a 13-month period (June-July). The following activities represent major curricular and mentor time commitments:

  • Self-directed learning of nine online modules in the APTA Learning Center during the fellowship year for approximately 450 instructional hours.
  • Complete a two-hour virtual orientation and actively participate in the virtual office hours with each module’s faculty.
  • Required readings, activities, and discussion forums (averages 40-50 hours per module).
  • Participate in monthly calls with your small mentorship group.
  • Three, two-day face-to-face sessions in a 13-month period, integrating content applied from each of the nine modules (requires approximately nine administrative leave days).
  • Develop and enact a leadership project that responds to a need in the fellow's institution.
  • Ongoing meetings with your institutional mentor throughout the fellowship (average 1 1/2 hours/week).
  • Complete all program assessments and evaluations.

Curriculum Outline

The fellowship curriculum addresses the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function as directors within physical therapy education and leaders in higher education. It is delivered in a trimester format via a dedicated APTA Hub community and face-to-face on-site sessions by content expert faculty, fellowship mentors, and program directors.

Three, two-day, face-to-face sessions are provided in October, mid-March, and mid-July. The sessions enable fellows to receive focused mentoring, to integrate the curricular content of the fellowship, and provides an open environment that facilitates a strong leadership community.

Activities during these sessions include:

  • Discussion of case vignettes.
  • Mentoring and feedback of real-life situations.
  • Exploration and refinement of leadership development plans.
  • Advancement of leadership development projects.

The module topics and face-to-face sessions are as follows:

Session 1

  • Personal Leadership and Management.
  • Institutional Leadership and Management.
  • Higher Education, Health Care Systems, and Society.

Session 2

  • Student Affairs.
  • Legal and Policy Issues,
  • Human Resource Management.

Session 3

  • Resources/Financial Management.
  • Program Development and Outcomes Assessment.
  • Relationships, Influence, and Partnerships.

In addition, fellows have an opportunity to interact online with module faculty during virtual office hours. Module content is applied directly to physical therapy education during monthly mentor group e-community sessions.


Mentorship is an integral part of the APTA Fellowship in Education Leadership experience. These individuals provide regular, timely, and close interactions with the fellows through coaching, advising, and thought-provoking questions. Fellows interact with two types of mentors: fellowship mentors and institutional mentors. The mentoring relationship provides fellows with:

  • Resources who can serve as coach, sounding board, and guide.
  • Introduction to academic leadership networks.
  • Role model in leadership and effective mentoring techniques.

Leadership Project

Based on a need within their academic institution, the fellow identifies a project topic that directly benefits the nominating institution. Throughout the fellowship, these projects are further developed and refined with feedback from peers, fellowship mentors, and institutional mentors. Though the projects are fully defined and initiated by the end of the fellowship, ongoing projects may not be fully completed, as they may extend past the end of the fellowship.


Successful completion of assessments, assignments, and evaluations are requirements to graduate. These include, but are not limited to, module assignments, assessments and evaluations, on-site and graduation evaluations, mentor logs, and leadership projects.