Residency Student Information


An 18-month post-professional 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 joints.

  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 17 graduate credits from Andrews University that could be used towards a future post-professional degree. The resident will also be halfway through the coursework needed for certification as a manual therapist through NAIOMT.

Outcome Measures:

  1. Each course will have its own outcome measures including 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 mentorship will take place in a NAIOMT-approved clinical site. Residents who are currently working full-time may submit their current place of employment for approval. Residents may also be assigned to approved residency sites who have agreed to offer a residency spot for this program.

Any clinical mentorship site 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 mentorship site 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 Completing the NAIOMT/Andrews Residency Program:

This program provides the student with all necessary coursework and materials to successfully complete the OCS exam as set forth by the APTA designating clinical specialty in orthopedics. In addition, the NAIOMT/Andrews clinical residency program provides a focus on manual therapy, giving the resident the hands-on skills needed to effectively treat most patients.

NAIOMT offers further certification as a manual therapist and a fellowship program in manual therapy, which the resident can continue following completion of this program. Furthermore, all of the coursework in this program can be utilized towards an advanced doctorate in the future, if the resident wishes to pursue that option.

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.

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APTA Credentialing:

The NAIOMT/Andrews Residency Program is fully accrediated by the APTA as of August 2014.

Admissions Information