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Essential Competencies in Entry-Level Pediatric Physical Therapy Education

Rapport, Mary Jane PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA; Furze, Jennifer PT, DPT, PCS; Martin, Kathy PT, DHS; Schreiber, Joe PT, PhD, PCS; Dannemiller, Lisa A. PT, DSc, PCS; DiBiasio, Paula A. PT, DPT, MS; Moerchen, Victoria A. PT, PhD

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0000000000000003
Special Communication

Background: The Section on Pediatrics (SoP) convened an Education Summit in July 2012 to examine, discuss, and respond to documented inconsistencies and challenges in teaching pediatric physical therapy (PT) content in entry-level professional education programs. Despite previous attempts by the SoP to provide guidance around teaching pediatric PT, variability continued to be extensive across programs.

Key Points: This article presents the core competencies developed out of the Summit to inform pediatric content in the entry-level PT curriculum. In addition, the core competencies were linked to teaching strategies, learning activities, assessment outcomes, and curricular structures.

Statement of Conclusions: Consensus was reached on 5 core competencies that represent a knowledge base essential to all graduates of PT programs. In contrast to prior SoP documents, these competencies were specifically designed to focus on knowledge and skills unique to pediatric practice but essential for all graduates of accredited entry-level PT education programs.

Video Abstract: For more insights from the authors, see Supplemental Digital Content 1, at

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.The authors present 5 core competencies that represent a knowledge base essential to all graduates of PT programs.

University of Colorado (Drs Rapport and Dannemiller), Aurora, Colorado; Creighton University (Dr Furze), Omaha, Nebraska; Krannert School of Physical Therapy (Dr Martin), University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana; Chatham University (Dr Schreiber), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Elon University (Dr DiBiasio), Elon, North Carolina; University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (Dr Moerchen), Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Correspondence: Mary Jane Rapport, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, University of Colorado, School of Medicine, Physical Therapy Program, 13121 E 17th Ave, C244, Aurora, CO 80045 (

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.