Language and Terms

In 2017, ACAPT’s National Consortium of Clinical Educators (NCCE) developed ACAPT’s Physical Therapists Clinical Education Glossary to address the problem that academic and clinical faculty often use different terminology when describing their work within physical therapy education.

The glossary includes Clinical Education common terminology and recent updates from the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) and the APTA.

Download the APTA Glossary of Terms

Download the ACAPT Glossary of Terms

Clinical Education Common Terms and Abbreviations

Clinical instructor (CI) The physical therapist/physical therapist assistant responsible for the physical therapist/physical therapist assistant student and for directly instructing, guiding, supervising, and formally assessing the student during the clinical education experience. When engaged in full-time clinical education designated to meet the minimum time frame set forth by CAPTE, the clinical instructor must be a licensed physical therapist or, where applicable by a physical therapist assistant with a minimum of one year of full-time (or equivalent) post-licensure clinical experience
Clinical performance assessment  Formal and informal processes designed to appraise physical therapist /physical therapist assistant student performance during clinical education experiences. Assessment may be formative or summative in nature and performed for the purposes of providing feedback, improving learning, revising learning experiences, and determining successful attainment of student performance expectations during clinical education experiences
Preceptor An individual who provides short-term specialized instruction, guidance, and supervision for the physical therapist/physical therapist assistant student during a clinical education experience. This individual may or may not be a physical therapist/physical therapist assistant as permitted by law.
Site Coordinator of
Clinical Education
A professional who administers, manages, and coordinates clinical assignments and learning activities for students during their clinical education experience. In addition, this person determines the readiness of persons to serve as preceptors and clinical instructors for students, supervises preceptors and clinical instructors in the delivery of clinical education experiences, communicates with the academic program regarding student performance, and provides essential information to academic programs.
First full-time
clinical education
The first clinical education experience designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE in which a student engages for a minimum of 35 hours per week.
Intermediate fulltime clinical
A clinical education experience designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE in which a student engages for a minimum of 35 hours per week and returns to the academic program for further completion of the didactic curriculum.
Terminal fulltime clinical
A single, or set of, full-time clinical education experience(s) designated to achieve the minimum number of weeks set forth by CAPTE that occurs after the student has completed the didactic curriculum of a physical therapist professional education program. Students may return to the academic program for didactic instruction that does not require additional clinical education experiences. The expected outcome of the final, or last terminal experience is entry-level performance.
Integrated clinical
Integrated clinical education is a curriculum design model whereby clinical education experiences are purposively organized within a curriculum. In physical therapist education, these experiences are obtained through the exploration of authentic physical therapist roles, responsibilities and values that occur prior to the terminal full time clinical education experiences.
Integrated experiences are coordinated by the academic program and are driven by learning objectives that are aligned with didactic content delivery across the curricular continuum. These experiences allow students to attain professional behaviors, knowledge and/or skills within a variety of environments. The supervised experiences also allow for
exposure and acquisition across all domains of learning and include student performance assessment. For integrated clinical education experiences to qualify towards the
minimum number of full-time clinical education weeks required by accreditation (CAPTE) standards, it must be full time and supervised by a physical therapist within a physical therapy workplace environment or practice setting. ICE=Integrated Clinical Education

Looking for more information about the Clinical Site Information Form (CSIF)?