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Certificate in Physician Leadership Program

Program Description

This is an 18-month-long certification program offered jointly by the American College of Physicians and the American Association for Physician Leadership. It includes a combination of formal training through 49.5 hours of online coursework and group discussions, as well as a capstone project that demonstrates successful mastery of leadership concepts in either hospital medicine or primary care internal medicine. Participants complete the program as part of a cohort, with either a July 1 or January 1 start date.

Upon completion of all program requirements, including a capstone presentation, participants will be awarded a either a Certificate in Physician Leadership for Hospital Medicine or a Certificate in Physician Leadership for Primary Care Internal Medicine .


The program is divided into a three-tier structure, with each tier having a minimum credit amount required for completion. 

Tier 1: Core Courses - 23.5 credits

Participants are required to complete each of the following courses:

  1. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Communication Full Details
  2. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Influence Full Details
  3. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Quality Full Details
  4. Transitions of Care Full Details

For each core course, there will be required weeklong, 1-credit online group discussions relating the coursework to specific issues in either hospital medicine or primary care internal medicine. The discussions, which will take place during scheduled weeks in a designated online groups by program track, will be led by experienced physician leaders. For the Transitions of Care course, both tracks will participate in the same online discussion to share ideas and experiences from both the inpatient and outpatient care perspectives.

Tier 2: Elective Courses - 26 credits required

The following are examples of elective courses offered as part of the program:

  1. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Negotiation Full Details
  2. Managing Physician Performance Full Details
  3. Resolving Conflict Full Details
  4. Develop Effective Teams Full Details
  5. Create Systems for Quality Full Details
  6. Mastering Physician Engagement Full Details
  7. Establish a Just Culture Full Details
  8. The Numbers a CEO Needs to Know Full Details
  9. Assessing the Health of Your Organization Full Details
  10. Building Physician Wellness Full Details
  11. Interdisciplinary Relationship Management Full Details
  12. Leading Complex Organizations Full Details
  13. Leading Problem Solving Full Details
  14. Managing Task Forces, Committees, and Work Groups Full Details
  15. Practical Tools for Physician Self-Care Full Details
  16. Proceed Until Apprehended Full Details

Tier 3: Capstone Project

The capstone is a 12-month project that will demonstrate and apply leadership principles in one of the three core areas of the program — communication, influence, or quality — as it relates to hospital medicine or primary care internal medicine.

Each participant will select an advisor who will review the capstone project proposal and provide relevant input throughout the duration of the project. Each capstone project proposal is reviewed and approved by a designated ACP Leadership Academy reviewer. Once the capstone project is complete, it will be reviewed and evaluated by the Capstone Review Board — a select group of experts who will assess the overall quality of the project on the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Methodological Quality
  • Impact
  • Technical Quality of Written Work
  • Overall Quality of Final Recorded Presentation

The Capstone Review Board also will assess how leadership skills were applied as part of this project. Projects of exceptional quality as determined by the Capstone Review Board will be selected for presentation at ACP's annual Internal Medicine meeting.

More Details

Active participants may keep track of their progression through the program using their personal Progress Dashboard (Only works for active participants.) All course information will be verified.

Tuition and Fees

The following tuition and fees are associated with the program, which is only available to ACP members.

Activity Tuition & Fees
Registration $50
Communication Core Course $213
Influence Core Course $430
Quality Core Course $430
Transitions of Care Core Course $138
Online Discussions $0 (These discussions are offered at no cost.)
Electives $1,690 (Approximately. Varies based on course selection.)
Capstone Project $500
Total Program Cost $3,450

Enrollment Information

Applications are now being accepted for the January 2022 cohorts of both program tracks.

Apply Online  Download Application

For questions or more information, please contact us

Suggested Timeline

Participants will be grouped into a cohort with either a July or January start date. The following is a sample timeline for successful completion of the program within 18 months.

Months 1-6: Complete Core Courses and Online Discussions 
Month 7: Select Capstone Project Advisor, Submit Capstone Fee, Begin Elective Courses
Month 8: Submit Capstone Proposal
Month 9-16: Complete Elective Courses, Work on Capstone Project
Month 17: Submit Capstone Project to Capstone Review Board
Month 18: Capstone Presentation, Certificate Awarded

Note: A one-time, six-month extension may be granted to complete the elective and capstone requirements.

Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Communication

Everyone sees the world differently, and that’s why communicating with other people isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Communication isn’t just about how to speak or what to say – instead, it shows physician leaders how to adjust their communication style and delivery to make better connections with the people around them.

CME Credits: 3.5

Tuition: $213.00

Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Influence

Influencing others is a major component of leadership. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Influence shows physicians leaders how to first influence themselves – by developing core values and clarifying their vision – so they can effectively inspire and lead the people around them.

CME Credits: 7

Tuition: $430.00

Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Quality

Quality and consistency are inexorably linked. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Quality course offers physicians the tools and tactics they need to create consistent systems, processes and quality outcomes – along with some insight into the history of quality in medicine.

CME Credits: 7

Tuition: $430.00

Transitions of Care

Developed by ACP especially for the Certificate in Physician Leadership program, this course aims to improve the process of caring for patients as they transition across different venues of care by: expanding knowledge of the different types of care settings through which patients may move; identifying potential points at which patients are particularly vulnerable during transitions; recognizing systemic issues and obstacles affecting patients moving from one type of care setting to another, and optimizing the effectiveness and safety of transitions between healthcare venues. Participants will be provided a downloadable Transitions of Care Strategic Planning Workbook that can be used to create individualized plans.

CME Credits: 2

Tuition: $138.00

Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Negotiation

With the right skillset, anything can be negotiated – rank, salary, schedule and more. Fundamentals of Physician Leadership: Negotiation demonstrates the steps that make up all negotiations, and it shows physician leaders how to leverage that structure to create the career and lifestyle they want.

CME Credits: 7

Tuition: $430.00

Managing Physician Performance

Enroll in Managing Physician Performance to learn how to find — and keep — the most talented physicians. This course provides a blueprint for the hiring and talent management process. Those registered will explore strategies for interviewing, hiring, coaching, performance evaluations, and more. By the end of the course, physician leaders will have covered many strategies and tactics required to leverage talent. These same strategies, when applied, can be used to significantly strengthen organizations.

CME Credits: 14

Tuition: $1012.00

Resolving Conflict

The goal isn't to eliminate conflict but to make conflict productive. Physician leaders and their organizations can experience meaningful growth through conflict. When it's not managed well, however, conflict becomes disruptive and can lead to many negative things: errors, poor patient satisfaction, increased cost, higher turnover. Keep conflict in check with the insights offered in Resolving Conflict.

CME Credits: 7

Tuition: $502.00

Develop Effective Teams

Learning how to work effectively in teams has become a crucial skill in today’s workplace. Those tasked with leading teams are presented with challenges that must be dealt with efficiently. This course will introduce leaders to new approaches for improving team performance through effective communication, innovative problem-solving, and conflict management. Strategies and templates discussed in the course will allow learners to evaluate personal team-based experiences while drawing connections to industry examples.

CME Credits: 5

Tuition: $361.00

Create Systems for Quality

Physicians who enroll in Create Systems for Quality unlock the step-by-step method for basic system design and gain access to the fundamentals of systems thinking. The course walks through basic system design, testing, and validation, system scaling, system maintenance – all to help physicians create lasting, high-quality change in their work environments.

CME Credits: 3

Tuition: $195.00

Mastering Physician Engagement

Discover how to create stable relationships between physicians and the workplace. Use the strategies here to build physician trust, provide performance feedback and implement change. Explore key elements designed to promote higher levels of physician engagement and deliver effective solutions.

CME Credits: 5

Tuition: $325.00

Establish a Just Culture

Physicians who enroll in Establish a Just Culture gain access to the simple, fundamental principles required to transform the culture of a team or department. With these principles, leaders can open lines of communication with teammates, foster accountability in every employee and empower peers and colleagues to achieve incredible things. Just Culture is a concept centuries in the making, and it's designed to lay a cultural foundation that's capable of improving morale, productivity and quality outcomes for years to come.

CME Credits: 4

Tuition: $260.00

The Numbers a CEO Needs to Know

It’s no secret that CEOs need to maintain a significant level of knowledge about their organization’s financial status, but how much do they really need to know? This course introduces areas of vital importance that every CEO should be aware of in relation to the financial health of their organization. After completing this course, leaders will be able to speak authoritatively about important financial concepts, plan for strategic decision making, and unite employees to improve quality and reduce costs.

CME Credits: 5

Tuition: $325.00

Assessing the Health of Your Organization

Many leaders hesitate to respond to organizational health concerns because the solutions seem out of reach. Assessing the health of an organization can be a complex undertaking, but the task is far from impossible. Healthy organizations exchange politics and confusion for improved productivity and employee morale. The time invested in this process is well worth the outcome. Cohesive leadership, good communication, and role clarity set “healthy” organizations apart from the rest. This course provides insight into topics such as organizational health factors, behaviors that impact organizational climate, methods for implementing new initiatives and tracking progress, and remediation strategies for those struggling with organizational change. Leaders who enroll in this course will find clarity through expert video testimonials and detailed examples of organizational health initiatives.

CME Credits: 3

Tuition: $195.00

Building Physician Wellness

There is no doubt that burnout is a pervasive part of the healthcare industry, but what is it and what does it mean? Much of burnout research today informs physicians of the physical and psychological tolls it can take. Very little, however, focuses on the tangible building blocks of burnout that physicians experience each day, such as leadership beliefs, assumptions, and conflict management. Unlike other opportunities, Building Physician Wellness takes a top-down approach to view wellness and burnout by first breaking it down to its most fundamental parts, language and conversation, and building from there. With an increased understanding of the language of wellbeing, this course will then bring video, text, and interactive moments to encourage physicians to challenge their own leadership beliefs and assumptions. After taking this course, you will be able to interpret the differences between prevailing and new leadership theories, distinguished between healthy vs. unhealthy narratives, and explain the importance of conflict and disagreement.

CME Credits: 3

Tuition: $195.00

Interdisciplinary Relationship Management

Managing professional relationships is something that all physicians must do every day. However, this skill isn’t as easy as it sounds. With different personalities, priorities, and approaches to communication, relationships can become complicated in the blink of an eye. Do you have the skills to effectively manage your professional relationships? Interdisciplinary Relationship Management provides insight into strategies required to maintain successful working relationships across disciplines and within the confines of your own department. The importance of emotional intelligence, communication, trust, and conflict management will be discussed in this course. Upon completion, you will have the information necessary to formulate effective communication strategies that work for your communication style, and the awareness and wherewithal to use those strategies to improve your own professional relationships.

CME Credits: 4

Tuition: $260.00

Leading Complex Organizations

The job of a health care leader is never easy. Those leading complex organizations must be able to successfully manage many moving parts during times of change, crisis, conflict, and uncertainty. This course will explore differences between traditional and complex health care organizations, evaluate leadership traits and characteristics, explain the role of conflict and ambiguity in modern organizations, determine strategies for addressing employee concerns and feedback, and provide suggestions for engaging employees to achieve buy-in. Recognizing the need for change, creating a clear vision for change, and strategies for creating lasting change are also discussed extensively in this course.

CME Credits: 4

Tuition: $260.00

Leading Problem Solving

Leading problem solving requires skills such as courage, ingenuity, fact finding, and above all else, good communication. It is the essence of what leaders exist to do. With an insurmountable list of problems developing daily, and time limitations that add new complexities, finding solutions can sometimes feel impossible. This course guides physician leaders in developing the skills necessary to address problems strategically, while minimizing adversity along the way. Topics include such as identifying and categorizing problems, identifying mindsets and behaviors important in problem solving, finding and evaluating solutions, building relational capital and formulating a solution implementation plan.

CME Credits: 3

Tuition: $195.00

Managing Task Forces, Committees, and Work Groups

Running a small group is an important undertaking, and leaders have a challenging role to play in coordinating meeting strategies. Leaders must learn to manage their groups effectively and efficiently to encourage the future success of organizational initiatives. Effective meetings allow groups to get the work done, while efficient meetings avoid wasting the valuable time of members. This course will not only teach you how to do both of these things, it will provide practical insights into clarifying roles, communicating with members, listening and synthesizing information, disclosing conflicts of interest, and coming to group consensus. Consequently, it will also teach you the skills you need to get a reputation as a good group leader.

CME Credits: 3

Tuition: $195.00

Practical Tools for Physician Self-Care

With upwards of 50% of physicians suffering from burnout, having knowledge of the research and theory behind this destructive force may be key to combatting these problems once and for all. This course will discuss the theory and research behind burnout and the psychological and physical impacts it can have, both among physicians and in the healthcare system as a whole. Through text, videos, and interactive moments, the course will also discuss assessments commonly used in the industry to measure burnout. Lastly, in taking this course, you will learn practical insights into seeking help, asking for time off, and finding time for things you love in order to provide a more in depth understanding of what burnout is and how you can defeat it.

CME Credits: 4

Tuition: $260.00

Proceed Until Apprehended

Leaders are able to build organizational trust when the workplace is consistent, predictable, and non-threatening. Creating this type of environment might feel impossible at times, but trust within an organization can be achieved with some effort. The “proceed until apprehended” mindset is one approach proven to support the development of organizational trust. This approach empowers individuals to make decisions on the front lines as part of regular business practice. Since a culture of fear can develop insidiously, and is often deeply ingrained before it is recognized, this course also offers insight into symptoms of a fear-based culture, and warning signs to look out for. The role emotional intelligence plays in building a culture of trust, and techniques for creating a positive culture shift within a health care organization are also discussed.

CME Credits: 4

Tuition: $260.00