Clinical Orthopaedic Residency - OCS Residency


Locations: Distance + on-campus
Formats: Online + hands-on
Program duration: 3-9 trimesters (1-3 years)*
See Requirements & Program Details


Residency at a glance:

  • Online coursework; in-person seminars and skills labs
  • 1500 hours of patient care
  • 160 hours of 1:1 mentorship
  • 3–9 trimesters (1–3 years)
  • Location: Any qualified clinic in the U.S.
  • Sept., Jan. & May start dates

*Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress, credits transferred and other factors.

USAHS’ Clinical Orthopaedic Residency program is an opportunity for physical therapists to gain the expertise and clinical hours they need to specialize in orthopaedics. Through online coursework and extensive one-on-one mentorship, the program helps recent Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates—as well as working PTs who wish to change specialties—advance their skills and expand their knowledge base. Graduates are eligible to enter a Fellowship program and are prepared to sit for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) Orthopaedics Specialist Certification exam. Upon passing the exam, you will become an orthopaedic clinical specialist (OCS).

Become an OCS Under the Guidance of Mentors

Become an OCS Under the Guidance of Mentors

As a resident, you may complete your patient care hours at any qualified clinical site across the country. Guided by faculty and on-site (or virtual) mentors, you will study evidence-based orthopaedic concepts and techniques and apply them in the clinic. The Residency program is a chance to substantially advance your skills in examination, evaluation, clinical reasoning, critical thinking, intervention, and patient management. It’s designed to graduate clinicians with superior post-professional clinical skills, advanced knowledge of clinical practice, and the ability to serve as consultants, advocates, and educators.

Through the Residency, you may also earn academic credit toward your Doctor of Education (EdD) degree from USAHS.

Residency Student Outcomes

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90%

Graduation Rate 10-year graduation rate (2010-2020)

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100%

OCS Board Pass Rate Based on USAHS graduates of the program who have taken the exam between 2010-2020

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Flexible

Delivery Options
Tailored to You

How Our Residency Stands Apart

We’re flexible.

We bring the program to you: Students may pursue their Residency at any qualified site in the United States. You may start the program in January, May, or September—and begin your clinical hours when it’s convenient for you.

We’re online + hands-on.

You will complete most of your academic coursework online and earn your clinical hours at a qualified site. Residents attend three required skills labs on our campus in St. Augustine, Florida, and may choose to participate in a week of treating our PT faculty and staff.

We mentor you.

The program includes 160 hours of one-on-one mentorship with our distinguished faculty and your own on-site (or virtual) mentors. We enhance the development of our on-site mentors and maintain consistent standards for academic instruction and mentorship across our clinical sites.

Residency Curriculum

USA’s Clinical Orthopaedic Residency is a demanding clinical and didactic learning experience, designed to graduate physical therapists with competency of skills in orthopaedic physical therapy.  The minimum length of our Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency is 12 months, and the maxmimum length is 36 months.

Didactic Requirements

The didactic portion of the Orthopaedic Residency is based upon six (6) APTA Orthopaedic section monoliths. The curriculum covers examination, evaluation, and treatment of common orthopaedic conditions, and is organized into three (3) terms: Spine, Upper Extremity, and Lower Extremity.

Additional Requirements:

  • Participate in 12 journal clubs, lead three (online or in the clinic)
  • Participate and lead 12 case rounds (online or in the clinic)
  • Complete healthcare observations, mentored clinical exams, and clinical skills checklists
  • Present three formal case presentations
  • Attend three residency skills labs (one per term: Spine, Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity)
  • Attendance at one professional conference
  • Produce a scholarly product which is disseminated to the professional community (e.g., poster and/or platform presentation, publication in peer reviewed journal)
  • Opportunity to teach and mentor entry-level DPT students, depending on location and if desired

Instructional mediums will include individual study of curriculum, case scenarios, written and online examination, interactive web-based learning experiences, group discussions and review, and one weekend lab session each term.

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Residency Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, interested applicants must be licensed or eligible for licensure in the state of the clinic assignment before starting the program. Current students may apply prior to graduation. You must display professional behaviors and enthusiasm in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, and demonstrate motivation and commitment to the profession. Desired applicants must possess clinical reasoning skills for the application of examination and treatment procedures.

To apply, please visit RF-PTCAS.  Applicants will be required to submit the following items to complete the application package:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from the degree conferring institution.
  • Essay
  • Two references from professional colleagues
  • PT state license or proof of eligibility for licensure in the state of practice
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae, which lists continuing education and professional publications
  • Current photo
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Residency Tuition & Fees

There will be an application fee when you apply through RF-PTCAS.

  • Program Cost is $10,000.00
  • Additional Fee of $500.00 for each term over 12 months (not to exceed 36 months)
  • Cost of APTA/Ortho Section membership dues
  • Tuition & fees and travel to the Clinical Instructor (CI) Credentialing Course and professional conference
  • Cost of travel to the three (3) required Residency skills labs on our St. Augustine, FL Campus
  • Cost of malpractice insurance

Residents will be mentored in an outpatient orthopaedic clinic by a qualified mentor while completing didactic components. If applicable, mentor fees for clinical mentoring are negotiated between resident and mentor

The University offers an interest-free tuition payment plan administrated by Sallie Mae®. Contact us at residencyfellowship@usa.edu for more information.

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Residency Accreditation/Post-Graduation Licensure

The Clinical Orthopaedic Residency program was accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency & Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) in 2016.

ABPTRFE Accredited Program

The Clinical Orthopaedic Residency program is not subject to accreditation by CAPTE.

For more information visit our Accreditation page.

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Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Clinical Orthopaedic Residency program, graduates will be able to:

  • Apply skills of self-reflection and information literacy to the orthopaedic clinical practice.
  • Consult with peers, colleagues, other healthcare professionals, community agencies, legislative, legal and/or regulatory organizations in a collaborative manner for orthopaedic patient/client management.
  • Demonstrate advanced clinical competencies through the use of evidence-based practice relevant to patient client management in orthopaedic physical therapy.
  • Demonstrate service as consultant, educator, clinical instructor and patient advocate for orthopaedic physical therapy.
  • 90% graduation rate – 10-year graduation rate (2010-2020) per USAHS internal data collection
  • 100% OCS Board Pass rate – Based on USAHS graduates of the program who have taken the exam between 2010-2020

  • Demonstrate independent ethical and moral decision making in orthopaedic physical therapy practice which is in the best interest of the patient.
  • Create a professional development plan for leadership to contribute to the advancement of the orthopaedic physical therapy profession as a healthcare leader through professional and community contributions.
  • Demonstrate independent decision making through advanced clinical reasoning and critical thinking patient values and current evidence in orthopaedic physical therapy practice.

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