The mission of Harris Health’s Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program is to prepare practicing physical therapists with advanced patient management skills for a direct access environment. Graduates will be leaders in neuro-musculoskeletal examination, evaluation, diagnosis and intervention. Our program is designed to not only facilitate therapists who are experts in orthopedic physical therapy, but to also develop future leaders and mentors.

What sets us apart as a residency program:

  • First full-time residency program in the state and first orthopedic residency in Houston
  • Access and exposure to a wealth of different healthcare providers as well a diverse patient population spanning the variety of orthopedic diagnoses
  • Unique orthopedic curriculum including a strong emphasis on differential diagnosis, pain science, exercise prescription, and mentorship
  • Residents get more than 150 hours of one-on-one mentorship along with over 300 hours of classroom and lab instruction hours that augment daily practice in a dynamic, evidence-based setting
  • Extensive advanced credentials of teaching and mentoring faculty, including: FAAOMPT, OCS, SCS, PhD, and ScD
  • Scheduled mentorship blocks with 8 different mentors to allow for a diverse mentorship experience
  • 10 week rotation at our outpatient clinic at LBJ Hospital affords the residents opportunities to observe surgery, participate in orthopedic clinic alongside orthopedic surgery residents, and carry a mainly elective post op patient caseload
  • Residents lecture and provide lab sessions at our local DPT programs
  • Residents participate in a yearlong research or performance improvement project under the guidance of well qualified faculty. Their hard work culminates with the presentation of their work at the Capstone ceremony.
  • Graduates of the Harris Health Orthopedic Residency have gone on to earn OCS, FAAOMPT, and PhD designations, have become assistant and adjunct university professors as well as residency faculty, own their own practices, and they have also served in local, state, and national appointed positions.
  • Outcome Publication: 92% first time pass rate on OCS exam and 97% total pass rate. Completion rate is 100% for the past 5 years.
  • Financials: There is no tuition cost associated with our program. Costs associated with the program include the clinical instructor certification course via Texas Clinical Education Consortium which is typically $85. We also do not cover the cost of the ABPTS board specialty exam. The first payment (if taking the exam right after graduation from the program) will be due during your residency year.
  • Residency Financial Fact Sheet Ortho Program

The goals of Harris Health’s Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency Program are to:

  • Be nationally recognized as a leader in residency training in physical therapy
  • Graduate residents who contribute to the profession of physical therapy and the larger healthcare community through leadership, evidence-based practice, teaching and service
  • Graduate residents who will pursue board certification through American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) upon graduation.


We highly encourage potential applicants to come visit with us to tour our facilities, meet our faculty and residents, and other residency events depending on availability. Contact the program director now to set up a date.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying for a residency is a big life decision and there are many questions that need to be answered to make the right choice. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you better understand Harris Health System’s orthopedic residency program.

What are the admission requirements? When are applications due? When does the program start?

Applications are typically due at the end of December each year, please contact program director for up to date application deadline. Each cohort begins at the end of August or beginning of September.

How long is the residency?

The residency program is 13 months in duration.

What does the compensation package look like for residents?

The resident is a full-time employee of Harris Health System and is paid 78% of an entry level staff therapist. Residents also are entitled to a full spectrum of exemplary benefits, including:

  • Comprehensive Medical Plan/HMO and Major Medical
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Plan
  • Pre-Tax Flex Accounts
  • Basic Life Insurance
  • Deferred Compensation Plans
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Other benefits that our residents are entitled to:
    • Paid Time off: Residents are granted over 30 days of PTO
    • Hospital Business: Residents are encouraged to participate in professional conferences and events. Hospital business allows the residents to attend these events without taking from their PTO banks.
  • There is no tuition cost for the residency program.

How is the curriculum structured?

We structure our curriculum to build upon the residents clinical reasoning skills throughout their year of growth. The residents start with a comprehensive orientation to help them get settled and ready for the year. We then start with front loading our didactic by having the residents participate in research and primary care. After that they go through their musculoskeletal content progressing from lumbar module, to lower quarter module, to cervicothoracic module and, lastly, to upper quarter module. After the completion of the bulk of the musculoskeletal content, the residents get to participate a neurologic module, in which they learn neurologic principles that help enhance care for our orthopedic patients. We also have some “floating” modules that have classes scattered throughout the year and correlate with the content being provided in other modules. These floating modules include, sports PT/exercise science, surgical lectures, grant funded care, and PT topics. All didactic content is developed in house and presented in person. Some lectures can be joined in virtually or recorded if a resident needs to call in sick.

For more specific curriculum questions, please email the orthopedic program director at

Describe a typical work week

The majority of a resident’s work week is the same as a full-time clinician. The resident works ten hour shifts Monday through Thursday, and a five-hour shift on Friday. This allows the resident to get maximal clinic time in order to utilize their new knowledge with their patients. A resident carries their own caseload and has productivity demands similar to a full-time clinician. The residents schedule differs from that of a typical new graduate in that they are assigned four hours of one-on-one mentorship each week, as well as 4-8 hours of weekly didactic coursework. As with any schedule, it is subject to change.

How does mentoring work?

The mentoring experience is what makes our residency program unique. Residents spend approximately four hours a week working one-on- one with a mentor. Residents switch mentors every 5 to 7 weeks to learn different skills and see different practice styles. A mentorship session is typically structured as follows: a discussion beforehand to prepare for patient treatment, direct patient care, a debrief session afterwards to promote clinical reasoning and further challenge the resident’s thought process. Critical feedback is provided throughout this process to maximally develop the resident’s problem solving skills. Residents agree that the one-on-one mentorship sessions help their clinical skill growth more than any other portion of the residency. Structured mentorship is the primary aspect that differentiates a residency from a full-time job.

Will you become a clinical instructor?

Yes! The Harris Health Orthopedic Residency Program is continually trying to advance the profession of physical therapy and foster its future. The program wants each resident to have the knowledge and skills to teach future students. Becoming a clinical instructor places the resident in a situation where he or she can grow as a clinician. Residents will become a certified clinical instructor through the Texas Consortium or APTA and will be a clinical instructor to a PT student towards the end of the residency (all didactic material will have been covered at this point). During this time, the resident also receives mentorship on how to improve their clinical teaching skills.

What type of patients do you see most?

You will be exposed to all musculoskeletal regions during your time at Harris Health System. Lumbar spine, knee, and shoulder are our most commonly evaluated body regions. The residents see a large number of elective orthopedic postoperative patients when at LBJ Outpatient Clinic. The majority of the post-operative patients that come to Fournace Place are polytrauma patients due to our proximity to the level 1 trauma center at our Ben Taub Hospital. Due to the complexity of the patient population (chronic pain, multiple comorbidities), past residents say that after treating for one year at Harris Health, you can treat anyone, anywhere!

Tell me more about Harris Health System

At Harris Health System, we champion better health for our patients, their families, and our community, by connecting all to an integrated healthcare system that provides high-quality healthcare. We have two hospitals and over 18 outpatient community health centers in our system. Of the patients we treat over 53% are uninsured. For the Fiscal Year 2022, Harris Health System provided $796 million in charity care.


Words from our residents about why they chose Harris Health.

  • "The clinic atmosphere is great. There are so many advanced clinicians constantly testing your skills. It is a relatively young clinic, with many people in their late 20s to early 30s, so we hang out together too."
  • "The mentorship. When else do you get to spend one-on-one time with a fellowship-trained, specialized therapist solely focusing on improving your skills?"
  • "The daily experiences. If one of my patients does not show up, there are always two to three clinicians available to answer questions or practice skills."
  • "The opportunities! The Harris Health residency allows you to get involved in local physical therapy schools, the APTA and TPTA, become a certified instructor, and much more."
  • "Evidenced-guided practice with every patient interaction"

For additional information, please contact:

Sarah K. Worth, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Orthopedic Residency Program Manager
Phone: 713-873-4628