Residency and Fellowship

Spine instructionSports Residency: Preparing for Excellence

The purpose of a residency in Sports Physical Therapy is to provide the physical therapist with an opportunity to develop advanced competencies in sports physical therapy. This includes the development of a theoretical rationale for evaluation and treatment skills as well as the attainment of clinical reasoning processes necessary to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries in an active population. The sports physical therapy residency program will provide the resident with clinical experience under the mentorship of a recognized clinical expert.

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) is the accreditation body for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for postprofessional residency and fellowship programs in physical therapy.

Accreditation is a process used by APTA to ensure the quality of the education that participants receive in residency and fellowship programs in physical therapy. It is a voluntary, nongovernmental, peer-reviewed process that occurs on a regular basis.

Residency or Fellowship 

A common question that comes up when discussing post-professional residency or fellowship programs is “What is the difference?” The American Physical Therapy Association defines each as follows:

Residency: A planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education that is designed to advance significantly the physical therapist's preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice. A sports physical therapy residency program is based on the latest Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) of Sports physical therapy.

Fellowship: 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).

The number of credentialed sports physical therapy residency and fellowship programs continues to grow. Do you qualify to be part of this exciting step in your education and professional growth? Find out today!

 current residency sites

AASPT Clinical Residency/Fellowship Grants

The Sports Academy has made a priority of advancing clinical specialization through post-professional training consistent with the Description of Specialty Practice and strategic planning. In an effort to offset the cost of application, the Academy has allocated $5,000 for grants to develop Sports PT Residency and Fellowship programs. Up to two grants covering the residency application fee will be awarded to eligible programs that meet the criteria set forth by the Specialization SIG leadership. The grant review committee of the Specialization Special Interest Group (SIG) will review the applications annually and make recommendations to the Academy Executive Committee (EC). Consideration will be given to programs demonstrating financial need, hardship, or assistance in providing components of the Residency/Fellowship requirements.

The Academy EC is committed to supporting this process. Their decision will be based on the recommendations of the Specialization SIG grant review committee and will notify the committee of their decision. The committee will notify the recipients of the grants once the decision is finalized.

 Application Process

  1. The program director will submit the electronic application to the Academy Executive Director any time after the accreditation application has been submitted to the ABPTRFE.  Grant applications will be reviewed between January 1 and October 1 of each year.
  2. The Specialization SIG will contact the ABPTRFE to confirm the Residency application has been received.
  3. The program will pay the application fee to ABPTRFE when submitting the application. If a grant is awarded, the Academy will reimburse the program the cost of the application fee once the program has been accredited.
  4. The Specialization SIG officers will evaluate each grant application and make recommendations to the Academy Executive Committee (EC) by November 1.
  5. The Academy EC will vote on the recommendations by December 1. The residency program director will receive a letter from the Academy EC stating the grant has been awarded.
  6. A check will be issued to the Director of the Sports Physical Therapy Residency once the program becomes accredited.

Please note: If the Academy Executive Board does not receive APTA’s letter acknowledging receipt of the residency application within 30 days beyond the announced target date (on the application), the residency program will forfeit the grant to allow the opportunity for other programs to access these funds.

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