Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency
The USAF Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency was established in 2020 at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Lackland AFB, Joint-Base San Antonio. The Residency is a 12-month training platform that equips new active duty officers with the advanced clinical skills and military knowledge required to function as independent clinicians in various military settings. The faculty is composed of six board certified clinicians, three of whom have additional fellowship training. The emphasis of the Residency is advancing the clinical decision making for musculoskeletal conditions, while utilizing a wide range of skills that include: manual therapy, dry needling, advanced exercise prescription, as well as ordering and understanding diagnostic imaging, lab values, and medications per federal practice guidelines. Over the course of the 12 months, there are opportunities to participate in national-level research, support military training operations, and attend additional USAF PT training courses.
After successful completion of the program, the residents have follow-on assignments to military treatment facilities around the world and are considered for positions in AF special warfare and operational support teams. Upon graduation, participants are eligible to sit for the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties Orthopedic Certification exam. The program currently has a 100% graduation and first-time boards pass rate.
To provide superior, comprehensive, specialized training and mentorship for the advancement of clinical practice by military physical therapists to maximize deployment readiness and improve health outcomes related to the area of orthopedic physical therapy.
To be the premiere training platform for new United States Air Force Physical Therapists, thus being a conduit to higher educational opportunities and specialized assignments within military practice.
The USAF Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is sponsored by the San Antonio Uniformed Services Education Consortium, one of two major Department of Defense (DoD) multi-service graduate health education platforms; the other is National Capital Consortium (NCC) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. SAUSHEC is the second largest DoD physician graduate medical education (GME) platform, largest for the Air Force, and it is the largest DoD site for Graduate Allied Health Education (GAHE).
The Program has been granted initial accreditation by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) through January 2027.
Accreditation by ABPTRFE is a reliable indicator of the value and quality of the Residency Program. In receiving initial accreditation, the program demonstrated its commitment to educational standards and ethical business practices indicative of quality, accountability, and continuous improvement that enhances the physical therapy profession.
Application and Selection
Candidates for the Residency are considered with all the USAF PT Accession Board application packages. Applicants with less than 18 months of clinical experience and excellent overall performance are selected by the Board members and offered a place in the Residency. The number to residents is determined by the USAF Health Profession Education Review Board (HPERB) and may change from year to year. The three-year average is 4 residents per year.
Interested parties cannot currently apply through PTCAS and must apply to the USAF PT Accession Board. Thus, it is possible to be selected for an active-duty billet without being selected for the Residency. (A win either way if you ask us!)
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Two-year Graduation Rate: 100%
Two-year Boards first-time pass rate: 100%