Feb 24, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog/Handbook (Fall) 
2023-2024 University Catalog/Handbook (Fall) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship

The Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences offers practicing physical therapists the opportunity to enhance their manual physical therapy skills through a focused curriculum with advanced clinical and didactic instruction that is intensive and extensive.

Participants can also earn academic credit toward the tDPT, EdD, or DHSc programs at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

Program Basics

  • Length of Fellowship: Minimum of 12 months; maximum of 36 months
  • Patient-care hours: 850
  • Mentored hours: 160 (1:1 hours)
  • Location: Any qualified clinic in the United States
  • Curriculum: Online and seminars
  • Journal club: Attend 12 and must lead 3 (online or in clinic)
  • Case rounds: Attend and present at 12 case rounds (online or in clinic)
  • Conference requirement: Attend one American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) conference
  • Scholarly requirement: Submit one poster presentation
  • Start times: Terms begin three times per year (January, May, and September)

Mission Statement

The mission of the Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship program at USAHS is to graduate physical therapists who have achieved advanced competency of skills in both clinical and didactic learning in orthopaedic manual physical therapy.

Program Learning Outcomes

The goal of USAHS’ Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship program is to supply a mentored process of learning that achieves advanced clinical specialty skills for both psychomotor and didactic learning, that facilitates enhancement of decision-making through critical thinking and problem solving, and through which the mentor enhances the therapist’s ability to be an independent, active learner.

At the completion of the Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship program of USAHS, the fellow graduate will demonstrate the ability to

  • apply skills of self-reflection and information literacy to the orthopaedic manual physical therapy practice;
  • consult with peers, colleagues, other healthcare professionals, community agencies, legislative, legal and/or regulatory organizations in a collaborative manner for orthopaedic manual physical therapy patient/client management;
  • demonstrate advanced clinical competencies through the use of evidence-based practice relevant to patient client management in orthopaedic manual physical therapy physical therapy;
  • demonstrate service as consultant, educator, clinical instructor and patient advocate for orthopaedic manual physical therapy;
  • demonstrate independent ethical and moral decision making in orthopaedic manual 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 manual 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 manual physical therapy practice.

Admission Requirements

See Admissions, Records, and Registration  for prerequisites and application information.

Responsibility and Learning Activities

USAHS’ Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship is a demanding clinical and didactic learning experience designed to graduate physical therapists with advanced competency in manual physical therapy.

Participants are responsible for their progress in the fellowship program. Expected learning experiences will be developed at the beginning of the fellowship during discussions between the participant and the clinical faculty. However, both the faculty and participant must remain flexible to possible changes that may occur in the schedule.


  • A minimum of 850 patient care hours—examination and treatment will cover the following body regions: cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, pelvis-SI, craniomandibular, hip, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand.
  • 160 hours of one-on-one mentoring (over the duration of the fellowship) in the clinic with a qualified and approved mentor

Applicants may choose to pursue their Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship in the clinic where they currently work or find a position within a qualified and approved clinic anywhere in the United States.


The didactic portion of the fellowship focuses on advanced training in examination, evaluation, clinical reasoning, orthopaedic manual physical therapy, and patient management based on the practice dimensions described in the Advanced Description of Specialty Practice for Orthopaedic Physical Therapy and the AAOMPT Education Standards of Practice.

Expected learning experiences will be developed at the beginning of the fellowship during discussions between the participant and the clinical faculty.

Examples of potential courses include the following:

  • Research for the Clinician
  • Foundations of Clinical Orthopaedics
  • Perspectives in Business Practice
  • Dry Needling
  • Professional Communications and Presentations
  • Educational Theory
  • Basic Craniofacial
  • Pain Science
  • Professional Development Portfolio
  • Imaging
  • Cultural Competence
  • E1: Extremity Evaluation and Manipulation; E2: Extremity Integration
  • S1: Intro to Spinal Evaluation and Manipulation; S2: Advanced Evaluation and Manipulation of Lumbar Thoracic Spine; S3: Advanced Evaluation and Manipulation of Craniofacial, Cervical and Upper Thoracic Spine; S4: Functional Analysis and Management of Lumbo-Pelvic-Hip Complex
  • MF1: Myofascial Manipulation
  • Manual Therapy Certification or Review
  • Thrust
  • Imaging Seminar
  • Craniofacial I or Advanced Craniofacial
  • Spinal Instability
  • APTA CI Credentialing course

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)
  • Present three normal case presentations
  • Attend Manual Therapy Certification review
  • Attend one AAOMPT conference
  • Complete healthcare observations, mentored clinical exams, and clinical skills checklists
  • Complete a professional communications project
  • 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

Program Tuition and Fees

  • RF-PTCAS application fee
  • Administrative cost of $12,000.00 for the duration of the program if the applicant has already taken Manual Therapy Certification, and $15,000 if the applicant has not yet taken Manual Therapy Certification
  • Cost of APTA and AAOMPT membership dues
  • Cost of attendance and travel to a Clinical Instructor (CI) Credentialing Course and an AAOMPT conference
  • Cost of malpractice insurance

Fellows in training will be mentored in a qualified clinic by an approved mentor while completing didactic components. If applicable, mentor fees for clinical mentoring are negotiable between fellow and mentor.