Residency Clinical Partners


An 18-month postprofessional clinical mentorship and postgraduate educational curriculum designed to prepare the physical therapist as an orthopedic clinical specialist with a focus in manual therapy and clinical reasoning.

Didactic Structure:

The didactic curriculum required for the program is as follows:

  1. NAIOMT Level I: Principles of Differential Diagnosis in Orthopedic Manual Therapy: initiates the development of critical clinical thinking in orthopedics and, predominantly, utilizes assessment principles described by James Cyriax MD and other orthopedic experts. This level assists the student in basic medical screening, rational differential diagnosis and selection of manual and mechanical interventions of the musculoskeletal system.

  2. NAIOMT Level II: Intermediate Upper Quadrant: Includes detailed biomechanical assessment and manual therapy techniques of the upper and lower cervical spine, shoulder girdle, elbow, wrist and hand joints.

  3. NAIOMT Level II: Lower Quadrant: Detailed biomechanical assessment and manual therapy techniques of the thoracolumbar junction, hip, knee, foot and ankle joint.

  4. NAIOMT Thoracic Spine: Detailed biomechanical assessment and manual therapy techniques of the thoracic spine, to include the segmental tissues as well as the costotransverse and costovertebral joints.

  5. Medical Diagnostics: An online course which provides information regarding imaging procedures with emphasis on the utilization of standard x-ray’s for the musculoskeletal system and differential diagnosis. Also has a small component dealing with laboratory science and pertinent lab tests and values for conditions associated with musculoskeletal pain. Includes observation hours with a radiologist and/or an orthopedic or neurosurgeon.

  6. Evidence-Based Orthopedic Clinical Practice: A Research Review: An online review of research methodology and design and data analysis designed to allow an objective analysis of the literature concerning aspects of clinical practice. Covers the current research evidence regarding orthopedic clinical practice with analysis toward clinical utilization.

  7. Post-Surgical Management of Common Orthopedic Conditions: An online course covering the most common surgical procedures in orthopedic clinical practice and principles for successful postoperative management in physical therapy practice.

  8. APTA Home Study Pharmacology: Reviews the common pharmacological agents used in successful management of most musculoskeletal pain problems.

Curricular Flow:


Sept. 1 – Dec. 31
  • NAIOMT Level I

  • Post-Surgical Management of Common Orthopedic Pathologies

Jan. 1 – April 30
  • Evidence-Based Orthopedic Clinical Practice: A Research Review

  • Home Study Pharmacology Course

May 1 – Aug. 30
  • Level II Lower Extremity

July 1 – Sept. 30
  • Medical Diagnostics

Oct. 1 – Jan. 30
  • Level II Upper Extremity

Feb. 1 – April 1
  • Level II Thoracic Spine

  • Complete Live Patient Exams

Each NAIOMT course represents six days of instruction with the exception of the Thoracic Spine course which is three days. These classes are offered at strategic sites around the country and are offered either as two 3-day courses spanning two weekends or as a 6-day module (offered at Andrews University). Each NAIOMT course will also have an online component for the resident to complete that will span approximately 3–4 months. This will include readings, class discussions, case studies and exams. The resident will be able to use each faculty member as a mentor during the time that the particular course is being offered.

Upon successful completion of the program, the resident will receive 16 graduate credits from Andrews University that could be used towards a future postprofessional degree.

Outcome Measures:

  1. Each course will have its own outcome measures to include tests, case studies, projects, literature reviews and online class discussions. The emphasis in each course will target the resident’s clinical reasoning process. The resident will be expected to use the anatomical, biomechanical, physiological and research evidence presented in their curriculum to effectively evaluate, differentially diagnose, prepare and execute a treatment program.

  2. Each resident will perform three live patient exams as a final oral/practical component of their residency. These will cover one spinal, one lower extremity and one upper extremity patient. The resident must independently take the complete history, perform a comprehensive examination and administer the first treatment, demonstrating appropriate utilization of clinical skills and reasoning according to NAIOMT standards.

  3. The curriculum is designed such that each resident, upon completion of this program, will have been taught skills necessary to successfully pass the APTA Orthopedic Clinical Specialist exam.

  4. Each resident will receive a certificate of residency completion after successfully passing all courses, the live patient exams and clinical mentorship hours.

Clinical Mentorship:

Clinical partners joining the NAIOMT/Andrews orthopedic residency program must have at least one clinician who is an orthopedic clinical specialist or OCS on staff. The clinic will provide the 150 hours of 1:1 supervision of the orthopedic clinic resident during the 18-month residency. NAIOMT will be involved in each step of this process, providing the clinical guidelines and evaluation tools needed to assess the resident’s progress. Each clinical partner will have a NAIOMT representative designated to assist them with the mentorship process. Each resident will be assigned a NAIOMT faculty mentor to be used in addition to the faculty mentors providing the didactic curriculum.

Benefits of Becoming a Clinical Partner:

This program is truly a "turn key" operation. It Allows any orthopedic physical therapy clinical setting processing the necessary components set forth by the APTA and who has qualified staff mentors to offer a residency position! This saves the clinic both time and money over the long run as creating, implementing and then accrediting a residency program involves resources many clinics can’t afford to spare.

The Many Benefits Rnclude:

  • Recruitment of staff

  • Retention of existing staff by offering mentoring and teaching opportunities

  • Staff development

  • Increased productivity

Clinical Partnership Financial Models:

It is expected that the resident will be a full-time employee of the clinical partner for the duration of the residency program. This benefits the clinical partner from both a staffing and productivity standpoint. With regards to financial compensation to cover the cost of the residency program, there are several options including:

  1. Term-of-employment contract: The clinical partner may require that in exchange for the clinic covering the cost of the residency program, the resident sign on for a certain number of years of employment, whatever is deemed necessary to cover the appropriate costs. Penalties and payback arrangements can be outlined by the clinical partner in the event that the resident decides not to fulfill that contract.

  2. Reduced Salary: The clinical partner may offer full-time employment with benefits appropriate for a new hire but reduce the expected salary for a new graduate to cover the costs of the program.

Program Cost:

Cost includes tuition and fees for the didactic curriculum (17 post-graduate credits), portal for online education delivery, access to library services during the term of the residency, NAIOMT oversight of clinical mentorship hours for the clinical partner and NAIOMT mentorship of the resident by approved NAIOMT and Andrews faculty. Please note: the total cost does not include any expenses associated with attending the required NAIOMT courses nor the cost of any textbooks required for each course.

For cost information Click Here.

APTA Credentialing:

The NAIOMT Clinical Fellowship Program is credentialed by the American Physical Therapy Association as a postprofessional clinical fellowship program for physical therapists in orthopaedic manual physical therapy.  Applicaiton for APTA credentialing of this orthopedic residency is pending. 

Inetersted in Becoming a Clinical Partner?

Download the application or call us at 1-800-827-2878, 22 for more information.