Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency | Saint Francis University
Skip navigation

Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency

  • Mission

    ABPTRFE Accredited Program LogoThe Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program supports the Mission of Saint Francis University by providing quality education, clinical, and research opportunities. The University environment, the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness, and the Faculty-Student Practice foster the gathering of knowledge to allow for application of evidence-based skills through various learning activities and experiences. Achievement of the goals listed below allows the resident to become a leader in the community and provide advanced knowledge, skills, and professional behavior that will shape the future of physical therapy.

    Residency Description

    The Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program at Saint Francis University is accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in orthopaedic physical therapy. This program allows a licensed physical therapist to gain additional knowledge in the orthopaedic physical therapy specialty area and prepares the resident to become a board certified orthopaedic physical therapist. The program is one of only four credentialed programs in the state of Pennsylvania and is offered through a partnership with Windber Medical Center of Windber, PA.

    The Saint Francis University Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is designed to advance the knowledge and skills of the resident in five (5) main areas:

    • Critical Inquiry/Evidence Based Practice
    • Educational/Consultation
    • Advanced Clinical Skills
    • Foundational and Clinical Sciences
    • Health Promotion, Fitness and Wellness

    This program is designed to prepare the resident to take the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) examination in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy.

    DiSepio Notice of Privacy Practices

  • Curriculum

    The program is 12 months in length beginning each year in September. A typical week in the Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program includes 2-4 hours of mentored practice, 30-35 hours of non-mentored practice, up to 10 hours of lab instruction and educational experiences, and 6 hours of other didactic work including self-study.

    Residents gain the advanced skills and knowledge in a variety of structured learning experiences. Approximate hours of the experiences are:

    Learning ExperienceNumber of Hours
    Mentored Physical Therapy Clinical Practice150
    Non-mentored clinical practice1820
    Classroom / lab activities104
    Observation of surgery40
    State Conference/CSM35
    Journal Club52
    Additional continuing education (area of interest)40
    DiSepio Institute Symposium (attendance and presentation)15
    Research experience60


    Program Goals
    • To prepare residents to enter physical therapy specialty practice. 
    • To educate residents to use an evidence-based approach to support decisions and serve the needs of the consumers and society. 
    • To prepare residents to function as a clinical specialist in a complex health care environment.  
    • To facilitate residents’ ability to use advanced critical thinking and problem solving in professional practice. 
    • To educate residents to become advocates and ethical and caring practitioners of physical therapy.
    Program Data
    • Current Graduation Rate - 100%
    • Current Orthopedic Specialty Exam Pass Rate - 82%
    Program Affiliations

    The residency is offered as a partnership between Saint Francis University, the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness and Windber Medical Center. The resident will be an employee of Windber Medical Center and will complete all non-mentored clinical practice hours at said facility as well as some mentored practice. Additional mentored clinical practice, as well as all instructional and educational experiences, will take place at the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness or via video teleconferencing/web-based interactive experiences.

    Additional affiliation agreements with clinical sites for the residency program will be considered on an individual basis.

    Admission Requirements

    Preferred applicants are physical therapists who are interested in a career in orthopaedic physical therapy. Previous clinical experience and skills in orthopaedic physical therapy as well as research experience are preferred. New graduates are also welcome to apply.

    Applicants must also possess:

    • Current (or eligible) license to practice physical therapy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    • Malpractice insurance
    Application Process

    All residency applications are now being processed through RF-PTCAS
    System which can be accessed at this link:  http://www.abptrfe.org/RFPTCAS/ApplicantWebsite/ 
    If you experience difficulty with this link or have additional questions, please contact Mark Boland (mboland@francis.edu).

    Residency Dates: September 1 to August 31 (12 months).

    Application Deadline:  April 15th!  Apply today!

    Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency Program Brochure (PDF)

    Questions or Inquiries

    Prospective applicants or clinics interested in developing an affiliation agreement with the residency program may direct questions to Mark Boland at (814) 471-1112 or mboland@francis.edu.


    "As a new graduate entering the work force, I found the orthopedic residency a huge benefit. The residency provided mentorship in the clinic that I would not have had otherwise. The didactic portion of the residency helped to narrow down all of the information learned in college and highlight the best techniques/treatments to use based on evidence. This helped me to provide more efficient and effective intitial examinations and treatments. Overall, the residency was very beneficial in helping me to become more successful as a physical therapist in my first year as a clinician."

    Kimberly Pasierb, PT, DPT, OCS

    "As a new graduate, I found the Orthopedic Residency Program a great transition from student to an independently practicing Physical Therapist. The residency helped further my knowledge of Orthopedic Physical Therapy care by providing mentorships with Orthopedic Clinical Specialists who utilize evidence-based practice approaches.  Through the mentorships and the didactic portions, I feel I have become a better clinician and am able to provide more efficient and successful care to my patients. Not only has the residency made me a better clinician, but I feel it helped me to achieve my career goal of becoming a Clinic Director immediately following the program."

    ~Katie Miller, PT, DPT