Saint Louis University

SLU-SSM Residency FAQ

Should I apply for a residency program or a fellowship program? What is the difference?
The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education states:

The residency experience combines opportunities for ongoing mentoring and formal and informal feedback to the physical therapist resident, including required written and live patient practical examinations, with a foundation in scientific inquiry, evidence-based practice and course work designed to provide a theoretical basis for advanced practice.

A residency program must be completed within a minimum of 1,500 hours including a minimum of 150 hours of one to one mentoring and a minimum of 75 hours of didactic training completed between 9 - 36 months within the specialty area of practice. A fellowship program allows a therapist to subspecialize in an area of practice and must be completed with a minimum of 1,000 hours and between 6 - 36 months.

How does the SLU-SSM Orthopedic Residency Program differ from other residency programs?
The SLU-SSM Physical Therapy Orthopedic Residency Program is an accredited residency located in the heart of the Midwest. It offers the unique opportunity to be mentored by experts in two different facilities, the opportunity to instruct in the entry level Program in Physical Therapy at SLU, and to participate in pro bono services to the Saint Louis community. The partnership between the two facilities provides access to numerous resources, clinical experiences and expertise in a variety of settings for orthopedic patient care.

How many years of experience in the physical therapy field should I have before applying to the SLU – SSM Orthopedic Residency Program?
Recent graduates of APTA credentialed physical therapy programs are eligible to apply as well as physical therapists that are new to the field of orthopedics and seek one on one mentoring.

What is the size of the Orthopedic Residency Program class?
Two residents are accepted to the Program each year.

How long is the program?
The SLU-SSM Orthopedic Residency Program begins in mid-August and runs for a period of one year. The resident will first begin work at the clinical site and then instruct within the entry level DPT program as the academic year begins.

When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is March 1. Only one annual application cycle is offered. The application cycle does not open until after the 1st of the year.

What physical therapy degree should I hold to apply to the Orthopedic Residency Program?
Applicants can hold a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctor of Physical Therapy degree to apply

How do I apply to the SLU-SSM Orthopedic Residency?
SLU-SSM Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is a participant in the Residency/Fellowship Centralized Application Service (RF-PTCAS). Please visit for the information page to apply to participating programs.

Will I be prepared to take the orthopedic clinical specialist exam after I graduate from the Orthopedic Residency Program?
Yes. The Residency Program curriculum is developed from the Description of Specialty Practice readiness guidelines. There is emphasis on the concepts and knowledge necessary for the OCS exam.

Is an interview a required part of the application process?
Yes, a personal interview with the faculty of the SLU-SSM Residency Program is a requirement of the application process for invited applicants.

Can student loans be deferred while enrolled in the Orthopedic Residency Program?
Typically residents are able to defer their student loans while in residency programs. However; as there may be different policies with different lenders, please check with your specific lender regarding your individual account and its management.

What are the requirements for successful completion of the orthopedic residency?
The resident is expected to demonstrate successful completion of written and oral exams, and practical examinations with patients.

Must I be licensed to practice physical therapy in the state of Missouri, USA?
Yes. All Program residents must have a Missouri state physical therapy license prior to beginning the residency in August.

Where will I practice if I am accepted to the Orthopedic Residency Program?
Residents practice for approximately six months at each of the two locations: SSM Physical Therapy and Saint Louis University's Physical Therapy Clinic.

Is there a tuition charged for the education portion of the Residency Program?

What are the expected expenses to a SLU-SSM resident?
It is an expectation that the resident be a member of the APTA. Expenses include living, transportation, parking, APTA membership and conference fees. Learning materials such as additional texts, independent study course modules, computer access and suitable professional clothing should also be expected expenses.

Is a SLU-SSM resident, a paid position?
Yes. Residents are considered full time, benefited SSM employees. Residents are paid a competitive rate for their non-mentored hours of patient care and for their role in the entry level courses at the SLU Program in Physical Therapy.

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