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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) Clinician Training Curriculum


Continuing Education

This section brings together free in-depth Continuing Education resources for the Professional community concerned with trauma.

Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 Training Curriculum

  • Date Created: 08/ 6/2021
  • Time to Complete: Varies by course
  • Credits: APA, Other Orgs
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Course Series: Clinical Skills Training
Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for <em>DSM-5</em> Training Curriculum


The Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) is the gold standard for PTSD assessment and diagnosis for both military and civilian trauma survivors. The National Center for PTSD created the courses in the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5) Training Curriculum to allow clinicians, trainees and researchers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the assessment and its administration.

We recommend beginners start with Part 1; however, the courses may be completed in any order.

  • Part 1: Explains the history, rationale, administration and scoring of the CAPS-5.
  • Part 2: Learners administer the CAPS-5 to a virtual patient who responds to prompts and questions in real time; an onscreen coach provides feedback and guidance to the learner and detailed summary feedback is offered at the conclusion of the course.
  • Part 3: For more advanced learners, offers a virtual patient training that does not include coaching assistance; detailed summary feedback of the learner's performance is given at the conclusion of the course.
  • Part 4: For the most advanced learners, features a virtual patient with co-occurring conditions and a more challenging presentation; detailed summary feedback of the learner's performance is given at the conclusion of the course.

How to Use the Virtual Training Simulator

For Part 2 through 4, be sure to read the Guidance PDF available on the TMS or TRAIN course detail pages and within the course itself. The Guidance PDF includes crucial information for navigating the course interface, working with the virtual patient and scoring the assessment.

Please note that you must use Google Chrome to access these courses. They will not work correctly in other browsers.

Non-VA Users: Special Access Information

Access to this course is restricted to individuals with at least a master's degree in a clinical discipline, or with research credentials. Non-VA users must email to request a code to access the course in TRAIN. We will respond within 3 business days.

Goals and Objectives

  • Describe current and full diagnostic criteria for PTSD according to DSM-5.
  • Describe purpose, benefits and key features of CAPS-5.
  • Demonstrate the interview principles required for administering the CAPS-5
  • Appropriately pose follow-up clarifying questions when warranted
  • Conduct a concise and thorough CAPS-5 interview
  • Apply the CAPS-5 scoring criteria appropriately

PTSD Information Voice Mail: (802) 296-6300
Also see: VA Mental Health