About the Program

The Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program begins each February and lasts for 12 months. You’ll negotiate your exact start date with the residency director and the clinical director of the Physical Therapy Services Clinic.

During the year, you’ll participate in 145 hours of educational content, including approximately 35 hours of independent learning and 16 hours of testing, at least 125 hours of direct collaborative learning with your supervising mentor, and at least 1,200 hours of patient care.

As an employee of UT Southwestern, you’ll see patients under the supervision of your mentor and program faculty members. You’ll maintain a patient load of 28 hours per week, with an additional four hours reserved for collaborative care with your mentor.

You’ll spend the remaining eight hours a week on additional learning opportunities, including journal club participation, academic teaching in the undergraduate DPT program, in-service presentation, research development, physician rounds and conferences, poster/platform presentation at a state or national meeting, and attendance at six two-day local weekend courses held between March and October.


The Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is an active learning process that requires you to participate in independent learning activities and complete assignments on time. There are multiple reviews, as well as mid-term and final written and practical examinations (including live patients) to ensure that you understand the material and attain specific skills.

We’ll expect you to develop a case report suitable for publication and/or conduct a research project that culminates in a poster or platform presentation at a national or state meeting. We’ll also expect you to sit for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties' orthopaedic clinical specialist certification exam within 13 months of completing your residency.

We maintain a strict attendance policy and may end your residency if you cancel or fail to attend required shifts or courses. When circumstances warrant it, and an absence is unavoidable, the Residency Director and Residency Advisory Committee may provide make-up activities and opportunities.


The goal of the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is to provide a comprehensive continuing education experience that enhances your ability to examine, assess, and treat orthopaedic patients. At the end of your residency, you’ll be fully prepared to sit for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties' orthopaedic clinical specialist certification exam and continue your training with a fellowship in a specific area of orthopaedic practice.

At the conclusion of the program, successful residents will be able to:

  • Explain the clinical reasoning skills needed to prioritize examination, assessment, and treatment techniques.
  • Continue to monitor personal clinical skill levels.
  • Conduct an effective and comprehensive subjective examination that enables development of a working clinical hypothesis of the primary problem before performing an objective examination.
  • List hypothesis categories for each patient and identify the relative information associated with each category, using patient demonstrations and case studies.
  • Perform an integrated physical examination—including differential diagnosis—for the craniofacial, cervicothoracic spine, lumbopelvic girdle, upper extremity, and lower extremity regions.
  • Perform passive joint mobilization and manipulation techniques using the grades of movement for all areas, and integrate these techniques into a treatment plan.
  • Perform specific soft tissue assessment and treatment techniques for all areas and integrate these techniques into the treatment plan.
  • Create appropriate specific clinic and home therapeutic exercise program techniques related to all areas of examination, and integrate these techniques into the treatment plan.
  • Critically analyze current scientific literature and conduct clinical research projects.


The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education has credentialed the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Program through August 2015. If you have a question about accreditation, please contact the ABTRFE directly, in care of the American Board of Physical Therapy.

American Board of Physical Therapy
1111 North Fairfax Street
Arlington, Virginia 22314
Phone: 800-999-2782, ext 8552

In addition, the Texas Board of Physical Therapy has accredited the program’s weekend courses for continuing education credit.