• Adoption of New Quality Standards for Clinical Residency and Fellowship Programs

    The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) is pleased to announce new quality standards for clinical residency and fellowship programs. These new standards reflect the collaborative efforts of ABPTRFE's accredited programs, Board members, and industry professionals. The quality standards give clinical residency and fellowship programs the opportunity to demonstrate their individual level of quality through an outcomes-focused approach to accreditation that offers them the flexibility to develop curricula that will produce advanced practitioners without stifling innovation.


    On February 16, 2017, ABPTRFE consultant Susan Chiaramonte hosted an open forum at the American Physical Therapy Association's Combined Sections Meeting. A 6-week call-for-comment period followed, seeking stakeholder feedback. In weekly updates during that time, Chiaramonte summarized the comments, offered clarifications, and identified areas for further review. She then collated and analyzed all feedback and recommended revisions to the quality standards, and presented those materials to ABPTRFE on May 21 and 22.

    Over the course of this 2-day meeting, ABPTRFE deliberated and further refined the quality standards. Furthermore, the Board reviewed and revised the self-evaluation report template companion document. That document contains the prompts that clinical residency and fellowship programs must complete when applying for accreditation or reaccreditation, in order to demonstrate their compliance with the quality standards—beginning with the mission and ending with outcomes achieved as a result of the curriculum, policies, and procedures implemented.

    Chiaramonte then finalized the quality standards by incorporating changes approved by ABPTRFE based on stakeholder feedback. She presented the final quality standards for clinical residency and fellowship programs, and the corresponding self-evaluation report, to ABPTRFE on June 21. On that date the Board unanimously adopted both documents.

    Next Steps

    The effective date of the new quality standards is January 1, 2018. Programs that currently are accredited, or that apply for accreditation on or before December 31, 2017, have until January 1, 2019, to comply with the quality standards. Programs therefore are strongly encouraged to begin reviewing and making the necessary modifications now, rather than waiting for the new standards' effective date.

    Over the next few months, ABPTRFE will develop companion documents such as a glossary of terms, exhibits, a guidance template, and the contract disclosures checklist associated with the self-evaluation template. Upon their adoption, these documents will be posted to this page. Check back frequently for updates.  

    Chiaramonte has begun an audit of ABPTRFE policies and procedures. Those results, industry analysis, and recommended revisions will be presented to ABPTRFE in the coming months. The Board is committed to providing ongoing communication about revisions to policies and procedures as they occur.

    Prior to submitting a program accreditation application, please ensure the current year application is being submitted.

    2017 Applications

    If applying for recognition status, candidacy, accreditation, or reaccreditation on or before December 31, 2017, please contact APTA staff for required documentation.


    Please contact us with any questions or concerns at resfel@apta.org or by phone at 703/706-3152.

    Mentoring Resources

    • ABPTRFE Mentoring Resource Manual (.pdf)

      This manual provides tools and resources to assist residency and fellowship programs in establishing or advancing their clinical mentoring, and faculty/participant evaluation procedures.

    • Successful Mentorship for Residency and Fellowship Education

      Online Course | 0.8 CEUs (8 contact hours/CCUs) Through a variety of interactive features including case studies, a comprehensive learning journal, and supplemental materials, this course guides individuals in how to design, implement, and evaluate mentoring experiences in postprofessional residencies and fellowships.

    Accreditation Guidelines

    2018 Application Resources

    For Clinical Residency and Fellowship Programs

    For Non-Clinical Residency and Fellowship Programs

    Description of Residency/Fellowship Practice

  • Last Updated: 8/9/2017
    Contact: resfel@apta.org