Considerations for Orthopedic Residency Program

After PT school, I spent two more years in an orthopedic residency program. Why? Because I want to give my patients the best PT service I am capable of an the residency was an avenue to achieve that. It is like an accelerated route into becoming a stronger clinician because you get to learn from other PTs and have a structured course work in a specialty of my interest.


150+ hours of mentoring by a skilled and experienced clinician. Mentoring entailed shadowing treatment sessions and evaluations with immediate feedback. The quality and relationship established with the mentor is a large part of the value you’ll gain from a residency program. Communicate early with your mentor your preference for learning.

Structured curriculum. I was pursuing my Certification of Manual Therapy and the coursework aligned with the residency program. This gave me funding, a timeline, and a commitment to completion of the certification.

Networking. Meeting other PTs in different locations and clinics added fun to the experience.

Cost is always a factor but consider it an investment in your career. I am more confident in myself as a PT after completion of the program.


Additional Considerations

Cost. See if your company will financially support you with some sort of tuition advancement program. Most likely it will be in exchange for your commitment to the company for a certain period of time. In my case, my paycheck was deducted for two years and I’d be paid back each paycheck for 2 years if I stayed with the company.

When should you start. When you’re ready! I started one year after graduation after I developed my own style for treatment/evaluations. I attended the Level 1 courses through NAIOMT and the residency I chose carried onto Level 2 courses. So it flowed well for me. It’s valuable to work for a company for some time before asking for such a large benefit. Show them your worth and dedication. Also this is a time for you to ensure this is a place you can see yourself working long-term.

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