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Residencies and Fellowships
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Residency or Fellowship: What's the Difference?

  • Residency Education is a planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education that is designed to significantly advance the physical therapist's preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice. 

  • Fellowship Education is a post-professional, funded, and planned learning experience in a focused area of physical therapist clinical practice, education, or research (not infrequently post-doctoral, post-residency prepared, or board-certified physical therapists).

How APTA Acute Care Can Help

APTA Acute Care's Board of Directors has deemed educating and supporting the growth of residency and fellowship programs in acute care physical therapy as one of its strategic goals. In an effort to meet this goal, we are happy to provide you with the following information:

  • The didactic portion of residency and fellowship education programs is designed around an analysis of practice. The Subject Matter Expert Task Force of APTA Acute Care conducted the first nationwide practice analysis specific to acute care physical therapy. The resulting Acute Care Physical Therapy Practice Analysis was featured in the October 2010 issue of Physical Therapy
  • Questions about development of a residency/fellowship outside of a currently recognized ABPTS specialty area include how to develop curricula and how to ensure faculty have evidence of advanced practice in lieu of an ABPTS certified specialist on faculty. Please see responses to these questions/concerns developed by APTA Acute Care in conjunction with APTA's Residency and Fellowship department.
  • Stay tuned for updates from the APTA Acute Care Task Force on Residencies and Fellowships. This group will be coordinating information, developing a grant program, and serving as a liaison between members,APTA Acute Care, and APTA on all things related to residency and fellowship education.

The APTA periodically runs courses specific to designing and implementing a residency/fellowship program for facilities and/or developing programs. Taught by instructors and directors of current residency/fellowship programs, these courses may be valuable during both the planning and credentialing processes.

We also believe in providing support to developing acute care residency and fellowship programs as they apply for credentialing through APTA. We have budgeted for a grant for developing residency/fellowship programs in acute care to fund the cost of the credentialing application process. Please contact the office concerning financial support that may be available from APTA Acute Care.

APTA Residency & Fellowship Information 

Please visit APTA's Residency and Fellowship web page for a complete listing of resources, applications, and details for those interested in finding and applying to a residency or fellowship program, as well as facilities interested in developing a residency or fellowship program.

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