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Physical therapy neurologic residency program

The mission of the physical therapy neurologic residency program is to provide exceptional, specialized education that prepares physical therapists with advanced post-professional skills and knowledge to become better educators, researchers and clinicians in the practice of neurologic physical therapy.

Program summary

Residents start the year-long program the last Monday in June. They are employed by the Minneapolis VA Health Care System; therefore applicants need to be U.S. citizens.* Residents treat their neurologic patient caseload about 30 hours per week - rotating through acute inpatient rehab, spinal cord rehab and outpatient neurology, as well as some outside experiences in pediatrics, vestibular rehab and Parkinson’s rehabilitation.

Residents are also involved in mentoring sessions with expert clinicians a minimum of 4 hours per week, didactic coursework 6-8 hours per week, research exposure and a variety of teaching opportunities throughout the year at St. Catherine’s University and Concordia-St. Paul. Residents who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to sit for the NCS exam.

*Health Professions Trainees (HPTs) are appointed temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, HPTs are subject to laws, policies and guidelines posted for VA staff members. There are infrequent times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities for HPTs. If employment requirements change during the course of a training year, HPTs will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible and options provided. The VA Training Director for your profession will provide you with information you need to understand the requirement and reasons for the requirement in a timely manner.

Application process

We participate in the RF-PTCAS universal application service for residency and fellowship programs, which starts each new year’s residency application cycle in October. For details and timely updates go to APTA’s website.

Timeline for the application process

  • Application opens October 1 each year
  • Application closes at the end of the third week in January
  • Interviews will take place during the first and second week of March
  • Selections and notifications will be made during the last 2 weeks of March
  • The residency will always begin on the 3rd or 4th Monday of June

Residency outcomes

  • 100% first time pass rate on NCS exam
  • 100% of residents report feeling satisfied or highly satisfied with the neurologic residency program on the  6 month and 12 month Resident Satisfaction Survey
  • 100% of residents achieve required number of clinical hours within 18/19 diagnostic categories within the Description of Residency Practice (DRP).
  • 100% of residents receive at minimum 400 hours (or greater) of instructional hours during the residency program
  • 100% of residents receive 200 mentoring hours during the residency program
  • 100% of residents attend at minimum 1 professional conference (CSM) during the residency program


Lori Danzl, PT
Residency Program Director

Minneapolis VAHCS, PM&R (117)
One Veterans Drive,
Minneapolis MN 55417

Phone: 612-467-3073

Michelle Peterson, DPT NCS
Residency Training  Director

Minneapolis VAHCS, PM&R (117)
One Veterans Drive,
Minneapolis MN 55417

Phone: 612-467-1369


Who is eligible to apply for the neurologic residency program?

Licensed physical therapists

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to be hired by a VA Health Care System.
  • You will need to be licensed to practice in Minnesota by the start of the residency program.

Physical therapy students 

  • You must be on track to graduate by May of the year you will start the residency program (in June).
  • We would prefer that the incoming residents have passed the licensure exam on the April test date, although registration for the July test date is acceptable. Failure to pass the licensure exam will result in termination of the residency.

Does the program require any specific continuing education course work or specific clinical and/or didactic learning experiences to apply to the program?

No, but evidence of an interest in neurologic rehabilitation is desirable.

Do you take new grads?


Will I be eligible to sit for the NCS exam at the end of the residency program, even if I am a new grad?


How many residents are accepted each year?

We have one permanent residency position each calendar year.

What are the fees/costs associated with this residency program?

Our program currently does not have additional application or tuition fees, although the RF-PTCAS process does have its own fee. Minneapolis VA Health Care System provides tuition support for didactic programming which is offered in part via live webinars through the Neurologic Physical Therapy Professional Education Consortium. The costs associated with the program are related to attendance at CSM to cover travel and tuition expenses.

Are fees such as continuing education courses and national conferences covered by the Residency Program?

No, but residents often qualify for student rates or can attend VA or sponsored programming for free.

How much does the residency position pay?

Residents are hired by the VA and are paid $46,798 with benefits.

Will I able to work part-time, perhaps picking up some weekends?

Given the busy schedule and heavy load of teaching, didactic and research expectations, it is unlikely that you will feel you have the time to work outside of the residency program.

How many hours does the resident treat patients at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center?

Residents are contracted to provide 40 hours a week. Work days tend to be Monday through Friday.

How often does the resident receive 1:1 mentoring?

Mentoring sessions are scheduled weekly, with topics to be determined by the resident and mentors depending on the resident’s interests, needs, previous experiences and opportunities available.

What are the teaching expectations and opportunities?

Teaching hours vary depending on which class the resident is teaching. Teaching responsibilities are relegated to the position of teaching assistant and generally require hands on assistance in labs, setting up the equipment for the class and may involve 1 or 2 lectures.

Will the resident spend time at specialty clinics?

Yes. Residents will attend vestibular rehabilitation clinic, the Struthers Parkinson's clinic and pediatric.

What are the overall time requirements/expectations for the resident?

Between the clinical practice, mentoring, teaching, research and didactic programming, it is anticipated that the resident spends 50-55 hours per week on residency-related activities. In addition to direct patient care, this includes teaching prep time, data analysis, assigned readings, webinar attendance, researching given topics, etc.

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