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Developing a community of visionary, innovative, and influential directors in physical therapy educational programs to advance the health of society.

The APTA Fellowship in Higher Education, provides you with the skills and resources you need to be an innovative and influential leader.

The award-winning fellowship is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education.

The APTA Fellowship in Higher Education is currently accepting applications through March 15, 2022 for the 2022 – 2023 cohort.



Applicants must be:

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

Time Commitment

The fellowship is a 52-week curriculum delivered over a 13-month period (June-July). Three, 1.5-day, immersive sessions are provided in September, mid-March, and mid-July.

APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Program Details

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. Its nine on-line modules and immersive sessions are delivered in a trimester format and guided by content expert faculty, fellowship mentors, and the program director.

The curricular outline is as follows:

Trimester 1

  • Personal Leadership and Management
  • Institutional Leadership and Management
  • Immersive Session 1

Trimester 2

  • Higher Education, Health Care Systems, and Society
  • Student Affairs
  • Legal and Policy Issues
  • Human Resource Management
  • Immersive Session 2

Trimester 3

  • Resources/Financial Management
  • Program Development and Outcomes Assessment
  • Relationships, Influence, and Partnerships
  • Immersive Session 3

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 Higher 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.

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.

The total cost of participation the APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership is estimated to be $12,000.   

Program Tuition

Tuition is $7,000, and it is due upon acceptance into the program.

Other Costs

Additional costs associated with this program include:

  • Residency and Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS) application fee
  • Required texts and purchase of online articles (estimated cost: $1,500)
  • Travel to attend three, 2-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 APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership 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 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 2-year colleges have received Perkins Grants.

Time Commitment

APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership is a 52-week curriculum delivered over a 13-month period (June-July). The following activities represent major curricular and mentor time commitments for this program:

  • Self-directed learning of nine online modules in the American Physical Therapy Association’s 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 APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership 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 program (average 1.5 hours/week)
  • Complete all program assessments and evaluations

Applications open on RF-PTCAS on October 1 of each year. The early admission deadline for each cycle is November 11 and the final deadline is March 15.

  1. Download the nomination form and send it to your supervisor for signature.
  2. Submit your application via RF-PTCAS with all required elements.
  • Upload your completed and signed nomination form.
  • Add your PT/PTA license and APTA member number.
  • Enter the contact information for three evaluators. (One evaluation must be submitted by the same individual 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.
  • Answer the following questions:
    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 could be addressed through a fellowship leadership project.

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

ACAPT Awards

To support diversity in academic and clinical PT leadership, ACAPT is funding diversity awards to the APTA Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership.

Get Award Details

The APTA Fellowship in Higher Education is provided in collaboration with the APTA Academy of Education, with its PTA Educators Special Interest Group; and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy.

For more information, contact