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Physical Therapy Clinical Education

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Physical Therapy Clinical Education

The clinical education philosophy of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program is founded on the belief that clinical education is an integral part of the physical therapy curriculum. The clinical environment allows the student the best opportunity to integrate didactic knowledge and develop skills necessary for the safe and effective practice of physical therapy. Clinical faculty serves as the primary role models for professional attitudes and behaviors for the student while the student is participating in clinical education. A wide variety of clinical settings allows the student to experience the spectrum of physical therapy practice throughout the curriculum. Clinical education also allows for professional growth and development of clinical faculty, as well as promoting enrichment within the profession. ​

  • Clinical Education Mission Statement +

    • The Doctor of Physical Therapy Clinical Education program provides diversity in quality clinical education experiences. Students are expected to participate in experiences that involve interprofessional collaboration, the underserved, and rural populations. The diverse experiences develop competent physical therapists who will graduate with the knowledge of providing compassionate and quality whole person healthcare to the public.​

  • Become a Clinical Partner +

    • Establishing a strong connection with ATSU provides a solid connection between the didactic curriculum and clinical component, truly making it a seamless transition. Clinical partners have consistency in student placements, know the quality of students and the skill set they hold, and have the ability to translate the real clinical needs back into the didactic curriculum. In addition, greater communication between faculty and clinical partners enhances the experience providing a rich learning environment.

      Become a clinical partner and let’s work towards a win-win experience! Email for more information.

  • Clinical Education Team +

    • Tracy Ellison, PT, DPT
      Director of Clinical Education
      Assistant Professor
      Board-Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist
      Email for new site development, resources and student advisement.

      Missy Johnson
      Clinical Education Administrative Assistant
      (480) 265-8035
      Contact Missy at for questions regarding contracts and clinical requirements.

  • Integrated Clinical Education Experiences +

    • Integrated Clinical Experiences

      Year One - Fall Semester: Student pairs participate in a weekly half-day experience in an orthopedic setting.

      • Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons
      • 2021: July 26 through November 19

      Year Two - Spring Semester: Students participate in a weekly two hour experience in an outpatient or inpatient setting with various patient populations including adult neurological, complex medical, pediatrics.

      • Monday and/or Thursday afternoons, Fridays
      • Session 1 2022: January 3 through March 11
      • Session 2: March 21 through May 27


  • Clinical Instructor Development and Tools +

    • Other Resources

      Regional Consortia

      A.T. Still University is part of the Northwest Intermountain Consortium. We are a strong working group comprised of DPT programs in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. If you are directly supervising an ATSU student, connect with us, but if you need resources in your locale, see our webpage for contact information. The NIC has an upcoming conference and offers CEUs on an annual basis in the fall.

      Additional Resources for our Partnered Sites

      • Library Access: Ask us about how to be eligible for library access for ease of searching databases and obtainment of research articles.
      • Certification of Appreciation: We offer a certificate upon request with hours of being a clinical instructor.
      • Discounted CEUs: Our courses are discounted for our clinical instructors and partners. Please see our continuing education page for all upcoming courses. View Physical Therapy Continuing Education.
      • Clinical Instructor Awards: Each year we honor 1-2 clinical instructors and/or SCCEs for their excellence and dedication to our program. The instructors are presented the award during our graduation dinner attending by faculty and graduates.

  • Clinical Education Hot Topics +

    • We recognize there are lots of challenges due to COVID-19 in all clinical environments. We appreciate you all navigating through this new journey. Our professional organizations have shared many resources and these resources along with discussion boards are available to assist in sharing ideas and resources as we navigate together. We are participating in national discussions so we can support all clinical education and be a resource to you.

      The resources and discussion boards are open access. Please visit ACAPT’s page for these resources and discussions through this link:

      The Task Force on the Clinical Education Placement Process has completed their work and the final report is public. Be on the lookout for future work and provide your clinical perspectives!

      New Common Terminology in Physical Therapy Clinical Education. Terminology has changed and this document helps outline that. We are still working on spreading the word so we are all speaking the same language. In brief - CCCE is now SCCE (site coordinator) - internship is no longer used. Share with your organization!

      Thank you for all you do!