American Association for Physician Leadership

Certified Physician Executive: Capstone

The culmination of your dedication and pursuit of leadership excellence

Top physician leaders find the Certified Physician Executive (CPE) certification to be the key to open doors in today’s competitive healthcare leadership field.

Since certification began in 1997, thousands of physicians have joined the elite group of healthcare leaders who have CPEs.

The Capstone is a 3½-day program designed to provide additional education based on the CPE competencies while completing exercises in cohort group sessions to allow you to practice and hone your skills in preparation for a final presentation.

Your Certification Assignments are a critical component of the Certification Program. There are three Certification Assignments, all of which must be submitted prior to Capstone. You will have three weeks and three weekends to complete the Certification Assignments. The content of the assignments will be used throughout the Capstone, so please give this thoughtful attention.

Capstone is a collaborative experience, giving you an opportunity to:

  • Interact with other highly accomplished physician executives in similar situations and positions.

  • Form personal and professional bonds through team building with your cohort.

  • Create a network of highly competent leaders.

Upcoming CPE Capstone Dates

September 19 - 22, 2024
Live Online
Pre-work: August 16, 2024
November 7 - 10, 2024
Live Online
Pre-work: October 4, 2024
February 6 - 9, 2025
Live Online
Pre-work: December 20, 2024
April 24 - 27, 2025
Boston, MA
Pre-work: March 14, 2025
September 18 - 21, 2025
Live Online
Pre-work: August 8, 2025
November 6 - 9, 2025
Live Online
Pre-work: September 26, 2025

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Leadership Experience

Candidates must have at least two cumulative years of healthcare leadership experience and significant managerial oversight within a healthcare organization.

Leadership in the context of the CPE program is defined as an individual who in some capacity, is responsible for the establishment, articulation, and execution of the team and/or organizational vision. This includes coordinating and balancing the various interests of all team members and stakeholders. Essential to physician executive leadership roles are the abilities to actively lead and participate in strategy, finance, staffing, recruitment, hiring, firing, etc. To participate in the CPE program and be recognized as a CPE, the participant must have this experience and attest to these areas: Talent management, Data management, Fiscal responsibilities, and Organizational impact.

Leadership Education

CPE Candidates must have one of the following:
  • Complete the Certified Physician Executive curriculum  OR have a qualifying graduate management degree program. ( MBA, MMM, MHA, MPH, MS-HQSM, MS in management, etc.) and have completed two of the following five core courses:
    • Fundamentals of Physician Leadership – Negotiation
    • Practical Principles of Change Management
    • Resolving Conflict
    • Managing Physician Performance
    • Transforming Healthcare through Quality Improvement

Professional Status

Medical Training - Candidates must be one of the following:

  • Graduate of a United States or Canadian medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

  • Graduate of an osteopathic school of medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

  • Certified by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

Membership Status

Candidates are required to be an active AAPL member for at least one full year at the time of attendance of a CPE Capstone.


Candidates must have a current license to practice medicine in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Virgin Islands. Candidates from other countries must be licensed in the country in which they reside and practice.

Clinical Practice Experience

Candidates are required to have three years’ experience in clinical practice beyond residency and fellowship training. A resume or CV is required.

Board Certification

Candidates must be (or have been) board certified in a clinical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties  or the American Osteopathic Association . Must have been in good standing if board certification was not renewed.

Application & Tuition

  1. View Application Requirements:
    To apply for the CPE Capstone, you’ll need electronic versions of your diplomas, transcripts, resume/CV and other documentation. View Application Requirements

  2. Submit Application:
    Capstone sessions fill up quickly, so we encourage you to apply at least 120 days ahead of the event date. Apply Now

  3. Application Fee:
    Once your application has been submitted, a $150 application fee will be applied. Payment must be received before your application is reviewed by the Credentials Committee.

  4. Credentials Committee Review:
    You will be notified within [7*] days of your application status and next steps.

  5. Tuition:
    Upon approval, a $3,500 tuition is due 60 days prior to the event. AAPL will send an invoice for the desired Capstone dates. Note: CPE Capstone application fee and Capstone tuition are excluded from any AAPL promotions.


After successful completion of the Capstone program, you will be awarded 32 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™ accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing education for physicians.

Application Submission Requirements

Please be prepared to upload the following documentation during the application process:

  • A copy of your medical school diploma or ECFMG standard certificate.
  • A resume or CV confirming three years of clinical practice experience.
  • A copy of board certification in a specialty recognized by ABMS or AOA.
  • A copy of your current license renewal.
  • A copy of graduate degree transcript (for physicians applying with qualifying master's degree only).
  • A letter of recommendation from your immediate supervisor affirming management experience is required. In the absence of a supervisor, another significant healthcare leader within your organization or CEO of another significant healthcare organization is acceptable.
    • Letter must be on an official letterhead.
    • Letter must be signed by endorser.
    • Letter must mention relation to applicant.
    • Letter should briefly attest to your leadership experience and managerial oversight touching on the four criteria below if possible.

Candidates must have at least two cumulative years of healthcare leadership experience and significant managerial oversight within a healthcare organization. The information must include significant lessons learned, physician leadership position(s) and dates/time spent in each role or roles.

Please be prepared to provide information on:

  • Talent management
    • Managing physicians and other staff, performance evaluations, determining compensation, hiring, and firing.
    • Leading physicians with feedback for performance and behavior.

  • Data management
    • Utilizing performance metrics, data gathered and how it is used to increase performance and show success.
    • Improvements in the health of populations with measurable data, HEDIS, etc.

  • Fiscal responsibilities
    • Managing a budget to include revenue, costs, and profits.

  • Organizational impact
    • Negotiating with employer and government health plans, discounts, and with at-risk platforms such as accountable care organizations.
    • Designing, justifying, and implementing projects.
    • Measurably improved quality, patient safety, utilization, and value.
    • Improving demand and capacity management that positively impacts access, affordability, and satisfaction for patients.
    • Leading organizations in accreditation or certification such as Joint Commission, ACGME, etc.
    • Improvements in quality and production of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc.
    • Improvements in the academic setting that improves learning and research.
    • Examples of improving the organizational culture.

  • Future aspirations within physician leadership and how that plus obtaining the CPE designation will help propel you in the future.
Tips for Submitting Your Application:

  • The CCMM is looking for experiences that document your leadership responsibilities. For example: direct oversight over other staff and making physician hiring decisions, rather than simply interviewing prospective physicians, or chairing a committee, rather than simply serving on a committee.
  • Please provide detailed information regarding the areas of leadership/ managerial experience as noted above.
  • In the case you cannot attest to oversight in any specific area, please explain why or elaborate as much as possible.
Note: you may want to review the application and draft your responses prior to beginning. (At any time during this process, you can save your application and resume later).

For over 45 years.

The American Association for Physician Leadership has helped physicians develop their leadership skills through education, career development, thought leadership and community building.

The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) changed its name from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in 2014. We may have changed our name, but we are the same organization that has been serving physician leaders since 1975.


Mail Processing Address
PO Box 96503 I BMB 97493
Washington, DC 20090-6503

Payment Remittance Address
PO Box 745725
Atlanta, GA 30374-5725
(800) 562-8088
(813) 287-8993 Fax



AAPL providers leadership development programs designed to retain valuable team members and improve patient outcomes.

American Association for Physician Leadership®

formerly known as the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)