You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

You are using an outdated browser.

To ensure optimal security, this website will soon be unavailable on this browser. Please upgrade your browser to allow continued use of ACP websites.

You are here

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 .

Enrollment Information

Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis until June 1, 2020 for the July 2020 cohorts of both program tracks.

Apply Online  Download Application

For questions or more information, please contact us


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. Strategic Planning Full Details
  3. Strategic Thinking Full Details
  4. Managing Physician Performance Full Details
  5. Techniques of Financial Decision Making Full Details
  6. Three Faces of Quality Full Details
  7. Resolving Conflict Full Details
  8. Develop Effective Teams Full Details
  9. Create Systems for Quality Full Details
  10. Mastering Physician Engagement Full Details
  11. Establish a Just Culture Full Details
  12. The Numbers a CEO Needs to Know Full Details

The leadership pre-course at ACP's annual Internal Medicine Meeting may be used to meet 7 credits for the elective requirement. In addition, live courses are available at AAPL's annual live institutes.

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:

  • Project Definition and Scope
  • Originality
  • Methodology
  • Impact
  • Outcomes
  • Technical Quality of Written Work
  • Quality of Final Webinar Presentation

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.

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.

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 $296
Influence Core Course $446
Quality Core Course $446
Transitions of Care Core Course $140
Online Discussions $0 (These discussions are offered at no cost.)
Electives $1,440 (Approximately. Varies based on course selection.)
Capstone Project $500
Total Program Cost $3,300


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: $296.25

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: $446.25

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: $446.25

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.

CME Credits: 2

Tuition: $140.00

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: $446.25

Strategic Planning

Physician leaders interested in strategic development can enroll in Strategic Planning. Strategy development occurs in three interdependent stages: strategic thinking, strategic decision-making, and strategic planning. Strategic thinking is about analyzing and interpreting information. Strategic decision-making is about which strategy to pursue. This course focuses on the third aspect — strategic planning. It's about implementation and taking action.

CME Credits: 2

Tuition: $131.25

Strategic Thinking

Learn how to make choices to achieve desired outcomes by enrolling in Strategic Thinking. The word "strategy" gets used a lot but defining it can be frustratingly elusive. This course explores the true meaning of strategy, what strategies are good for, and the difficulties in creating and implementing shared strategies.

CME Credits: 2

Tuition: $131.25

Managing Physician Performance

Physicians who enroll in the Managing Physician Performance: Series gain access to the tools necessary to source, hire, develop and compensate talented providers. This program provides expert instruction and actionable takeaways to recruit new physicians, host performance-based conversations, incentivize positive behaviors (by redesigning compensation models) and retain top performers. It offers insights, tactics, and techniques to manage nearly every stage of a physician’s career.

CME Credits: 24

Tuition: $1,308.75

Techniques of Financial Decision Making

The ability to apply financial principles and concepts to decision making is critical for the physician executive but is often a mystifying blend of mechanical calculation and confusing theories. This course provides the knowledge and skills to turn the mysteries into tools you can use to shape your organization's strategic future. The focus is on operations and investment, and the integration of financial principles into those areas. The basic principles of finance will be taught along with the mechanical skills of manipulating financial tools, giving each participant a thorough understanding of the key areas required to both build and grow a fiscally healthy organization.

CME Credits: 24

Tuition: $1,308.75

Three Faces of Quality

Discover how you can design and implement systems that improve the overall quality of your health care organization and ensure patient safety. Once you’ve completed this course, you will have explored cultures of high reliability and how to craft a plan that reduces errors and leads to higher quality health care.

CME Credits: 24

Tuition: $1,308.75

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: $450.00

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: $412.50

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: $270.00

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: $412.50

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: $360.00

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: $487.50