• The residency experience combines opportunities for ongoing mentoring and formal and informal feedback to the physical therapist resident, including required written and live patient practical examinations, with a foundation in scientific inquiry, evidence-based practice, and course work designed to provide a theoretical basis for advanced practice. Each program is based on a well-defined, systematic process for establishing content validity of the curriculum that describes practice in a defined area. Residencies are created in a specialty area. In specialty areas where validated competencies have been identified, the curriculum should be based on those competencies. In addition, the curriculum should be consistent with the most current version of APTA's Guide to Physical Therapist Practice.

    Specialized programs must include postprofessional education and training in the scientific principles underlying practice applications. The curriculum sets forth the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to achieve the educational goals and objectives of the program.

    The program has the responsibility to include activities that promote the physical therapist resident's continued integration of practice, research, and scholarly inquiry, consistent with the program's mission and philosophy. An evaluation component helps to ensure that the stated goals are being met by the physical therapist resident through the curriculum plan.

    The program has a comprehensive curriculum that has been developed from, and is reflective of a validated analysis of practice, or comprehensive needs assessment (nonclinical programs only) and that incorporates concepts of professional behavior and ethics.

    The program's curriculum must cover the entire corresponding Descriptions of Specialty Practice (DSP), valid analysis of practice, or comprehensive needs assessment for that specialty. When a new DSP is published in the program's content area, the program must report their plan for updating their curriculum to be consistent with the most current DSP in the annual report. Those changes must be complete by the time of reaccreditation.

    The program provides a systematic set of learning experiences that addresses the content (knowledge, skills, and behaviors) needed to attain the performance outcomes for the clinical residents.

    • All residents must have a minimum of 150 hours of 1:1 mentoring and 75 hours of didactic instruction over the course of the program.

    The didactic instruction may include a variety of educational opportunities, including but not limited to, case review, didactic classroom instruction, chat room, problem solving sessions, clinical rounds, and other planned educational experiences.

    Residency vs. Clinical Internship

    A clinical internship is a clinical education experience that is part of the requirement for graduation from a physical therapist professional education program (degree could be awarded before, during, or after the internship). Residency and fellowship programs are postprofessional programs that occur after the graduate physical therapist has obtained their license to practice.

  • Last Updated: 6/19/2014
    Contact: resfel@apta.org