Physical therapy residency and fellowship education: Reflections on the past, present, and future

Jennifer A. Furze, Carol Jo Tichenor, Beth E. Fisher, Gail M. Jensen, Mary Jane Rapport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The physical therapy profession continues to respond to the complex and changing landscape of health care to meet the needs of patients and the demands of patient care. Consistent with this evolution is the rapid development and expansion of residency and fellowship postprofessional programs. With the interested number of applicants exceeding the number of residency and fellowship slots available, a “critical period” in the educational process is emerging. The purposes of this perspective article are: (1) to analyze the state of residency and fellowship education within the profession, (2) to identify best practice elements from other health professions that are applicable to physical therapy residency and fellowship education, and (3) to propose a working framework grounded in common domains of competence to be used as a platform for dialogue, consistency, and quality across all residency and fellowship programs. Seven domains of competence are proposed to theoretically ground residency and fellowship programs and facilitate a more consistent approach to curricular development and assessment. Although the recent proliferation of residency and fellowship programs attempts to meet the demand of physical therapists seeking advanced educational opportunities, it is imperative that these programs are consistently delivering high-quality education with a common focus on delivering health care in the context of societal needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-960
Number of pages12
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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