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Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency Program


The Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency 12-month program at Vanderbilt prepares residents for ABPTS board certification in Pediatric Physical Therapy. Monroe Carell Junior Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt mentors the professional development and advanced clinical training of pediatric physical therapists in an inter-professional environment.

Residents prepare to serve as leaders in the field of pediatric physical therapy, demonstrating exceptional clinical skills and reasoning guided by current evidence, social responsibility, and compassion. Residents develop the knowledge and skills to serve as educators, consultants and clinical researchers.

The Pediatric Residency provides diverse didactic education opportunities within the Vanderbilt and Belmont University systems, as well as participation in the Pediatric Residency Consortium and other external continuing education courses, seminars and webinars.

Residents deliver direct clinical care approximately 30-32 hours per week rotating through our outpatient physical therapy clinic, inpatient/critical care, specialty clinics and a developmental preschool. In addition, residents participate in experiences in the school system and inpatient rehabilitation.


The Pediatric Residency curriculum includes

  • LEND training through the Vanderbilt LEND program at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
  • Participation in specialty clinics, grand rounds and other educational programming at Belmont and Vanderbilt Universities
  • Assisting as a lab instructor in the Belmont University Physical Therapy Program
  • Participation in webinars and continuing education courses. Belmont University funds the resident’s tuition for enrollment in the Pediatric Residency Consortium and other continuing education courses (up to $1,000 total).
  • Participation in clinical research

Other program features include

  • Service as a fellow in the Vanderbilt University LEND program
  • Participation in a clinical research project
  • Teaching opportunities in Belmont University School of Physical Therapy in the Pediatric content areas of the entry level DPT curriculum
  • One-on-one clinical mentoring a minimum of three hours weekly

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) accredits the program as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in Pediatrics.

Requirements and application

Recent graduates and experienced clinicians may apply. Applications are through the Residency/Fellowship Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service. (RF-PTCAS)

The Vanderbilt University and Belmont University Pediatric Residency Program admission requirements include

  • Graduate of an accredited Physical Therapy program
  • Eligible for Physical Therapy licensure in the state of Tennessee
  • U.S. citizenship (required for LEND program)
  • Application to the Residency via RF-PTCAS completed by stated deadline including: 1) applicant cover letter; 2) three letters of recommendation (two of the three letters must be professional references); 3) a completed essay that includes the following (per RF-PTCAS): why the candidate is applying to our pediatric residency program; short-term and long-term professional goals; strengths the candidate will bring to the program

All applications for the Pediatric Residency Program are due December 1 of each year. Interviews are conducted in January. Residencies begin in August.

Program outcomes

  • Pediatric residency graduation rate since inception in 2016: 100 percent
  • Graduate pass rate for pediatric clinical specialization board exam: 100 percent
  • All graduates are currently employed in Pediatric Physical Therapy practice.
  • Graduates are actively engaged in leadership, community service, education, research and professional development.

Email the Director of Clinical Residency: Kelley Newman, PT, DPT, PCS, HPCS

The Vanderbilt Consortium LEND

The Vanderbilt LEND is committed to increasing the number of students and faculty from underrepresented minorities who are in the program. In this video African-American and Latino health care professionals who serve individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities speak about the factors that led them to choose their careers and the multitude of benefits they experience.

Common questions

  • How do I apply?

    You may apply via RF-PTCAS.

  • Is there an application fee?

    There is no application fee to apply to our program. However, there may be fees associated with the application process through the RF-PTCAS.

  • Does the resident receive a salary?

    Yes, the resident is paid a salary based on experience.

  • When is the application deadline?

    December 1.

  • Is there an interview? If so, when does it take place?

    Yes. The interview process begins in January.

  • Will I be prepared to take the Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS) exam after graduation?

    Yes. The Pediatric Residency Program is based on the Description of Specialty Practice (DSP) that is required for the PCS exam and the goal of the program is to prepare the resident to sit for this exam.

  • When does the residency begin?

    Residency begins in August. The resident must have Tennessee licensure by the program start date to be eligible to begin the program.

  • How many residents do you accept per year?

    We accept one resident per year.

  • What is the LEND program? How does it fit into the didactic curriculum?

    The purpose of the Vanderbilt Leadership Education In Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program (LEND) is to prepare health professionals to assume leadership roles and develop interdisciplinary team skills, advanced clinical skills and research skills to meet the complex needs of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and related disabilities (NDRD).

    The Vanderbilt Consortium LEND program provides a robust educational experience in neurodevelopmental disabilities to graduate and postgraduate students enrolled in academic programs within a variety of health-related fields. The experience stresses the importance of interprofessional, patient- and family-centered, culturally competent, community-coordinated services for infants, children, adolescents and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

    The Vanderbilt Consortium LEND collaborates closely with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Division of Developmental Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics; the Vanderbilt Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences; and other colleges, universities and community agencies including: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Meharry Medical College, Milligan College, Tennessee Disability Coalition (Family Voices), Tennessee State University and University of Tennessee.

    The Residency Program Coordinator serves as a LEND faculty member to ensure continuity between the didactic and clinical education portions of the residency program.

  • Are there any community service opportunities?

    Some of the many community service opportunities available include AMBUCS, ABLE Youth, Go Baby Go, United Cerebral Palsy, Wheelchair sports teams, ramp building, Empower Me Day Camp, Saddle-UP, Tri my Best Triathlon and Champ's A Team. Both Vanderbilt University and Belmont University have many other exciting service opportunities available. Service is a core value of both institutions.

  • Are new graduates allowed to apply for the program?

    New graduates with a strong demonstrated interest in pediatrics are encouraged to apply.

  • Which specific courses does the resident assist with in the Belmont University School of Physical Therapy?

    Neuromuscular Physical Therapy I (General assessment and treatment of persons with neurological pathologies); and Neuromuscular Physical Therapy II (Assessment and treatment of children with neurological pathologies)

  • Is a benefits package included? If so, does it assist with continuing education?

    s a Vanderbilt employee, a Pediatric Physical Therapy resident is eligible for our standard benefits (health insurance, vision/dental insurance, liability insurance, etc.). The Pediatric Residency will cover the tuition for enrollment in the Pediatric Residency Consortium modules and other appropriate continuing education courses (up to $1,000) to be determined by resident, residency director and residency coordinator.

  • Is the residency accredited?

    The program is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) as a post-professional residency program for physical therapists in Pediatrics.