Competency-Based Educational Framework

Competency Based Education (CBE) is a personalized, learner-centered approach to education. Students display their knowledge and skills by demonstrating mastery to achieve specific competencies.

The CBE process provides support for students who learn at varied paces. CBE focuses on demonstrating mastery by applying knowledge, skills and attributes that an entry-level physical therapist must possess. 

Major Components 

  • Mastery of competency
  • Meaningful types of assessment
  • Individualized support for learner
  • Creation and application of knowledge


  • Promotes individualized learning and accommodates a variety of learning styles 
  • Improved learner engagement and learner success
  • More meaningful faculty-learner engagement
  • Geared to real-world expectations

Entrustable Professional Activities 

Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) are what we believe are the essential components of autonomous entry-level practice as a physical therapist (PT). Select each activity below for details.

  • Complete a comprehensive physical therapy examination
    • The entry-level PT is able to gather a complete and accurate history and relevant patient information in an organized, patient-centered manner.
    • The entry-level PT is able to identify and perform all appropriate tests and measures in an efficient and organized fashion. 
  • Synthesize essential patient information to determine and to prioritize a differential diagnosis and prognosis
    • The entry-level PT evaluates the findings of the history and physical examination and applies concepts of evidence-informed practice to determine a physical therapy differential diagnosis and prognosis.
    • The entry-level PT is able to educate patients/clients on the findings of the examination and rationale for reaching the diagnosis.
    • The entry-level PT is able to recognize when further diagnostic information is required and identify members of the healthcare team appropriate for consultation, collaboration or referral. 
  • Using evidence-informed practice; determine and execute the plan of care
    • Based on the history and physical examination findings, diagnosis and prognosis, and in collaboration with the patient (informed consent, choice, insurance/reimbursement, accessibility of services, etc.) the entry-level PT develops and delivers an evidence-informed, patient-centered plan of care.
    • The PT delegates/oversees the delivery of the plan of care, monitors and modifies the plan based on patient response.
    • The entry-level PT monitors changes in patient status that suggest new/additional diagnoses and responds appropriately.
    • The entry-level PT creates a medical record of all clinical interactions and other pertinent information regarding the clinical interactions.
  • Use outcome measures to determine impact/progress
    • The entry-level PT seeks to systematically use a variety of forms of objective outcome measures to determine the impact of the patient’s dysfunction or the response to interventions.
    • The entry-level PT evaluates results of these measures and recommends and implements changes based on this evaluation.
  • Use feedback and inputs for continuous quality improvement for self and practice
    • The entry-level PT seeks to systematically monitor and analyze all aspects of clinical practice related to oneself and the healthcare system using quality improvement methods.
    • The entry-level PT proposes and implements appropriate changes with the goal of improvement. Patients and populations will always be at the center of the intended improvements. 
  • Collaborate as a member of the interprofessional team
    • The entry-level PT is a member of the interprofessional healthcare team that seeks to ensure patient-centered care that is effective, efficient and maximizes health outcomes.
    • Entry-level PTs are guided by core values and ethics, understand their role and the roles of other members of the team, use effective communication skills, and participate effectively within the team. 


A competency is the capability to use and/or apply knowledge, skills and attributes to successfully perform a task. Competencies include measurable learning objectives that emphasize the complex outcomes of learning.

  • Maintains a professional presentation in all settings
  • Exhibits an appropriate level of self-confidence and professional autonomy to accomplish outcomes; is able to provide a sound rationale that supports decisions
  • Establishes and maintains a climate of mutual respect, dignity, compassion, integrity and trust
  • Maintains an environment that ensures safety for patients and providers, including self
  • Communicates verbally, nonverbally and in writing in a professional and timely manner
  • Adapts communication style based on target audience
  • Gathers a complete and accurate history including relevant patient data in an organized, patient-centered manner
  • Identifies and performs all appropriate tests and outcome measures in an efficient, organized and safe fashion
  • Establishes an accurate, patient-centered working diagnosis by synthesizing patient data, knowledge, clinical reasoning, evidence and experience
  • Establishes an accurate patient-centered prognosis synthesizing patient data, knowledge, clinical reasoning, evidence and experience
  • Develops patient-centered plans of care that synthesize patient data, knowledge, clinical reasoning, evidence and experience with best practices to maximize patient outcomes
  • Implements the plan of care in collaboration with the patient to maximum patient outcomes
  • Modifies the plan of care in collaboration with the patient to maximum patient outcomes
  • Directs and supervises personnel in compliance with legal standards and ethical guidelines
  • Documents using precise, appropriate terminology in a concise, compliant, accurate and timely manner
  • Demonstrates an investigatory and analytical approach using validated frameworks and models to guide critical thinking, promoting high-quality patient-centered care
  • Recognizes when a patient/client has maximally benefitted from physical therapy services and makes appropriate recommendations
  • Uses reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action, feedback, tools and resources to evaluate own performance
  • Recognizes the scope of physical therapy and refers patients/clients to other health professionals as indicated
  • Identifies, prioritizes and advocates for systemic change that promotes optimum patient-centered care and health outcomes
  • Works collaboratively with other professionals as a member or leader of an interprofessional team to optimize healthcare and health outcomes