Program-level factors influencing positive graduate outcomes of physical therapy residency programs

Gregory W. Hartley, Kathryn E. Roach, Kendra L. Harrington, Stephanie McNally

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background Physical therapist clinical residency programs vary widely in administrative structure, instructional characteristics, and program design. The impact of program-level factors on resident outcomes such as graduation and board certification is unknown. Objective The objective of this study was to examine the influence of program-level factors on participant outcomes of physical therapist residency programs. Design This was a retrospective cohort study using data from accredited programs from 2010 to 2013. Methods Data were collected on program characteristics such as administrative structure, size, salary, tuition, full-or part-time options, didactic format, and clinical-site structure. The odds ratios were calculated to examine the impact of program characteristics on graduation, board certification, and passing the exam. A logistic regression analysis to determine the combined contribution of these characteristics on the 3 outcomes was performed. Results Data from 183 residency programs and 1589 residents were analyzed. Participants attending programs that were single site or multifacility, provided live didactic instruction, did not charge tuition, and paid residents ≥ 70% full-time equivalent salary were 9.8 times more likely to graduate, 5.1 times more likely to become board certified, and 3.2 times more likely to pass the specialty board examination. Limitations This study did not examine the impact of program location, resident attributes, or resident exposure to patient diagnostic volume and variety. Conclusions This study has identified some program-level factors that appear to influence the odds of graduating, becoming board-certified, and passing the specialty board examination. This information could inform existing and developing residency programs, as well as applicants, on program-level factors that might influence participant outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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