What is a clinical residency program?
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines a clinical residency as a planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education for physical therapists that is designed to significantly advance the physical therapist resident's preparation as a provider of patient care services in a defined area of clinical practice. It combines opportunities for ongoing clinical supervision and mentoring with a theoretical basis for advanced practice and scientific inquiry.

What is a clinical fellowship program?
The APTA defines a clinical fellowship as a planned program of post-professional clinical and didactic education for physical therapists who demonstrate clinical expertise, prior to commencing the program, in a learning experience in an area of clinical practice related to the practice focus of the fellowship (fellows are frequently post-residency prepared or board-certified specialists).

The fellowship program has curriculum requirements:

  • Focused, with advanced clinical and didactic instruction within a subspecialty area of practice
  • Intensive, including extensive mentored clinical experience
  • Provides a sufficient and appropriate patient population to create an environment for advanced, clinical skill building

What are the differences between a residency and fellowship?
A clinical residency program is designed to substantially advance a resident's expertise in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention and management of patients in a defined area of clinical practice (specialty). This focus may also include community service, patient education, research and supervision of other health care providers (professional and technical). Often, the residency experience prepares an individual to become a board-certified clinical specialist.

A fellowship program is designed to provide greater depth in a specialty or subspecialty area than that which is covered in a residency program. Additionally, applicants of a clinical fellowship program must be licensed as a PT and possess at least one of these qualifications: 

  • Specialist certification
  • Completion of a residency in a specialty area
  • Demonstrable clinical skills within a particular specialty area

Which residency program should I choose (orthopedic or sports)?
Each program will help you grow to be an expert clinician, but choosing one over the other depends on where your true passion lies. If you aspire to treat athletes and be on the sideline, then the sports residency would be most appropriate. On the other hand, if your interest lies in treating a general mix of orthopedic patients in a clinical setting, then the orthopedic residency would meet your needs. The didactic programs are very similar for both residencies, but the sports residents learn specific sideline management and return-to-play guidelines. They also have a more rigorous schedule that requires them to attend games after hours and sports clinics on the weekends. The most important aspect a resident should consider is the acquisition of strong foundational knowledge upon which they can later build. Having the opportunity to work closely with other residents in the orthopedic and sports program, as well as dual board-certified faculty and manual therapy fellows, provides our residents a significant advantage in this area.

Who is eligible to apply to the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency?
Any physical therapist with a passion to increase their knowledge in Orthopedic PT and who meets the minimum eligibility requirements stated above for application is welcome to apply. New graduates are encouraged to apply.

I do not have my license, yet. May I still apply to the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency?
Yes, residents do not need to be a licensed PT to apply for the residency. However, because residents will be full-time employees engaged in direct patient care, residents must have a Texas physical therapy license by the start of the program.

How many residents are accepted each year?
The program will accept a maximum of 6 residents per calendar year. The number of residents accepted depends on the availability at all the clinic locations.  

Where are the main clinic locations?
The Orthopedic Residency is headquartered at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital with satellite locations in the surrounding area. Residents are placed at a specific location based on the results of their interview and preference. All satellite locations have board-certified specialists, as well as manual therapy trained PTs who serve as faculty mentors at that specific location. The curriculum is the same for all locations, and didactic class is performed via live teleconference. 

What makes the Houston Methodist Sugar Land programs distinctly different from the other programs?
The clinical caliber of our faculty is the defining strength of our Houston Methodist Sugar Land residency programs. The most critical component of any post-professional program is the mentoring process and the quality of mentoring the resident receives. All faculty mentors at HMSL are residency-trained, board-certified specialists and/or fellowship-trained manual therapists. This affords our mentors the ability to better relate, understand and communicate clinical and didactic knowledge to the resident because our faculty mentors have previously “walked in the resident’s shoes.” In addition, all faculty mentors have extensive experience working with a variety of patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries, and a true passion for advancing the profession through post-professional training. Click here for to view current faculty.

What kind of resources will I have to assist my independent learning process?
As full-time employees of Houston Methodist, residents will have full access to HM computers, electronic library systems and other necessary educational equipment. This system allows access to one of the largest online health and medical libraries available.

I am really interested in manual therapy. Will I be able to learn some manual-therapy interventions?
One of the unique characteristics of the HMSL Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is the availability of not only board-certified orthopedic and sports specialists, but also to therapists who have completed fellowships in manual therapy and are current fellows of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT.org). The residency program is specifically developed based on the APTA’s description of specialty practice in OPT, but will also have a strong manual-therapy component to the curriculum.

What is the salary for the resident and will I be eligible for benefits?
As full-time employees of Houston Methodist, residents will receive a competitive residency salary and will be eligible for the following benefits: 
  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Flexible spending account
  • Short- and long-term disability
  • Paid time off and holidays 

Will I be able to work a part-time job as well?
The demands of the residency program are quite intense and can be time consuming. Effective time management will be an important characteristic of each resident. Although we cannot mandate against the resident working a second job, we strongly discourage it.

Does the hospital provide any housing or transportation benefits?
The hospital does not provide assistance with housing or transportation.

Contact Us

For more information on the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Physical Therapy Residency Programs, please contact: