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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.

This program offers a year-long advanced training program for physical therapists specializing in neurology.

About the program


  • Application opens October 1 each year
  • Application closes at the end of the third week in January
  • Residents start the year-long program the last Monday in June


  • 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 University, St. Paul.
  • Residents who successfully complete the program are eligible to apply to sit for the Neurologic Certified Specialist (NCS) exam.


  • Fixed annual salary: $47,047
  • Health, dental and vision benefits
  • Accrue 4 hours of sick and 4 hours of annual (vacation) leave every 2 week pay period
  • Eleven paid federal holidays
  • Liability coverage and protection under Federal Tort Claims Act
  • Uniform (scrubs) provided by Minneapolis VA Health Care System
  • Medical library access


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 Combined Section Meeting (CSM) to cover travel and tuition expenses.

Fees for continuing education courses and national conferences are not covered by this program, but residents often qualify for student rates or can attend VA or sponsored programming for free.

How to apply

Who can apply

  • Am I Eligible? Checklist for VA Health Professions Trainee (HPT)
  • Residents are employed by the Minneapolis VA Health Care System; therefore applicants need to be U.S. citizens.*
  • Licensed physical therapists; 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 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.

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.

Prior to submitting an application to RF-PTCAS, please check the "Am I Eligible?" checklist to determine if you are eligible to apply to our program.

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

*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.


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

Program structure

We have one permanent residency position each calendar year. Evidence of an interest in neurologic rehabilitation is desirable, although we don't require any specific continuing education course work or specific clinical and/or didactic learning experiences to apply.

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.

Residency outcomes

It is anticipated that residents will be eligible to sit for the NCS exam at the end of the residency program, even if they are new graduates,

  • 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