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HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency

HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency & Fellowship Education as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in Orthopedics. It is a one-year, full-time, clinically-based training program designed to accelerate the professional development of selected physical therapists. Physical therapists with advanced clinical skills from the outpatient areas of HSS Rehabilitation serve as faculty mentors to guide residents in development of advanced clinical expertise and current knowledge in the specialty of orthopedic physical therapy. The program is also designed to prepare residents to sit for the ABPTS Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS) examination.

Program Mission

The mission of the HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is to provide a consistent, comprehensive program that prepares physical therapists for advanced clinical practice in the specialty of orthopedic physical therapy, and to accelerate their professional development in becoming highly skilled patient care providers and educators in the community they serve.

Time Commitment and Salary

The HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinical Residency is a full-time position, one year in duration. The resident is expected to work 40-45 hours/week. A salary and benefits package is provided.

Download the ABPTRFE Financial Fact Sheet 2023-2024

Important Dates

  • The Residency runs from January 1 - December 31 of each year
  • The application deadline is September 15 for the following year's residence

Minimum requirements for applicants

  • US citizenship
  • Graduation from an accredited physical therapy program
  • Current PT licensure and registration in New York State (and New Jersey for Paramus site if applicable)
  • Malpractice insurance (minimum $1 mil per occurrence/$3 mil aggregate)
  • Membership in the APTA and APTA Orthopaedic Section preferred (required by date of program entry)
  • Commitment to successfully completing all program requirements including independent study of the APTA Orthopaedic Section’s residency curriculum and examinations (purchased by resident)
  • Commitment to taking OCS exam at earliest eligibility
  • Recommended: At least 1 year of clinical experience in an orthopedic outpatient setting (by date of program entry)

How to Apply

Applicants can apply in one of two ways:

Your application packet will need to include:

  • A completed and signed application form: HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Clinical Residency Application (PDF)
  • Your resume/curriculum vitae, including academic and clinical education, continuing education, clinical and other relevant experience
  • A brief summary (400-800 words) of your relevant clinical experiences thus far, with an emphasis on orthopedic rehabilitation
  • A short essay (one page) explaining your reasons for applying for the clinical residency, your goals and why you consider yourself to be a good candidate
  • Three letters of professional reference
  • Academic transcripts for postsecondary academic work
  • $50 non-refundable application fee made payable to Hospital for Special Surgery

Application and supporting materials should be submitted to:

William Behrns PT, DPT, OCS, GCS
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Director
Orthopedic Physical Therapy Center
Hospital for Special Surgery
535 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021

Admissions Process

Applications are evaluated by the Orthopedic Residency Director, Coordinator and faculty based on:

  • Admission criteria listed above
  • Academic and clinical education, continuing education, and other relevant experience
  • Clinical experience in orthopedics
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Demonstration of leadership, professionalism, and commitment

All applicants are screened prior to interview selection and admission into the residency program. The Orthopedic Residency Director, Coordinator and faculty select the top candidates each year based on the criteria described above. In accordance with hospital policy, all employment-related decisions, including program recruitment, admission, retention, and dismissal, are made without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, marital status, age (18 or older), disability, veteran status, citizenship status, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.


The curriculum of the HSS Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency provides residents with a comprehensive, structured program of clinical and didactic experiences for the development of advanced critical reasoning and clinical skills in orthopedic physical therapy based on the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties’ “Description of Specialty Practice for Orthopaedic Physical Therapy”. Residents will provide supervised patient care at HSS rehabilitation locations as well as participate in educational experiences. Instructional methods include one-to-one mentoring by physical therapists with advanced expertise, a lectures/labs series given by program and guest faculty, HSS grand rounds, departmental and section inservices, clinical observation of physical and occupational therapists with advanced clinical expertise, observation of orthopedic surgeries and physician visits, and involvement in journal club and research-related activities. The curriculum comprises modules on the lumbar spine/pelvis, cervical and thoracic spine, upper extremity and lower extremity, and special topics such as pain science, ergonomics, research, pharmacology, radiology, pediatric/adolescent orthopedics and craniomandibular disorders. In addition, residents complete an independent study of the didactic residency curriculum of the APTA Orthopaedic Section, including 6 written examinations. Residents integrate and share their expanding skills and knowledge through presentation of critically appraised journal articles, case presentations, and preparation of a written case report.

Clinical Sites

Multi-facility (order and number of rotations may vary)




Program Goals

  • Provide residents at all sites with a consistent, comprehensive program of clinical and didactic experiences in the specialty of Orthopedic Physical Therapy
  • Develop residents with high levels of clinical skill and current knowledge in the specialty of Orthopedic Physical Therapy, and prepare them to successfully complete the ABPTS specialist certification (OCS) examination
  • Prepare residents to be competent in critically appraising scientific literature, incorporating relevant findings into clinical practice, and actively participating in research activities
  • Prepare residents to make contributions as educators of patients, peers and other healthcare providers
  • Develop residents who exhibit the highest standards of professionalism

Contact for additional information

William Behrns, HSS Rehabilitation Orthopedic PT Residency Director
behrnsw@hss.edu, 212.606.1213

Meghan Lamothe, HSS Rehabilitation Orthopedic PT Residency Program Coordinator
lamothem@hss.edu, 212.606.1213


ABPTRFE Accredited program logo


Residency By the Numbers

Calendar logo showing residency inception in July 2011

ABPTRFE logo showing accreditation since May 31, 2013

Image of graduate indicating 41 graduates

Image of cap and diploma representing a 100% graduation rate

Graph with upward arrow indicating a 88% graduate pass rate

Graphid with upward arrow and celebrating icon indicating a 100% active resident pass rate