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Physical therapy resident works with a patient at a rehabilitation clinic

Program overview

Program length: 8-12 weeks
Class size: Varies
Location: Rochester, Minnesota

The Physical Therapy Internship thoroughly prepares students for practice in a specialty area, such as acute care, neurological rehabilitation, sports medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, and other specialty areas. This internship is for both physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students.

To be eligible for the internship, you must be currently enrolled in a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy accredited physical therapy education program. The Director of Clinical Education at your college or university arranges admission to the internship.

There are two levels of practice in physical therapy:

  • Physical therapist. To prepare for a career as a physical therapist, you must complete a professional education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
  • Physical therapist assistant. To become a physical therapist assistant, you must complete a two-year associate degree educational program accredited by CAPTE.

All courses of study require a period of supervised clinical experience and successful completion of a national physical therapy exam (NPTE). Those who pass are awarded the title of physical therapist or physical therapist assistant.

Graduation and certification

Physical therapy interns graduate from their respective colleges or universities upon successful completion of their fieldwork. They are then responsible for scheduling and completing the national exam through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Individual states also have their own licensing requirements.

Application process

The physical therapy clinical experience must be arranged and approved by the director of clinical education from your college or university.

Your application and all supporting documentation must be received at least 90 days prior to the start of the internship.

Non-U.S. citizen applicants

Admission to Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is open to U.S. workers in the four categories below. Therefore, visa sponsorship is not available.

  1. U.S. citizens
  2. U.S. nationals
  3. Lawful permanent residents
  4. Asylees and refugees

Applicants whose primary language is not English must submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT). Scores from the speaking portion of the exam are given particular consideration in admission decisions. Learn more about the exam and register online at the Educational Testing Service.

The Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences code for the TOEFL iBT is 5784.

Educational transcripts from schools outside the U.S. must be translated (if they are not already in English) and evaluated for U.S. equivalence by an accredited credential evaluation service company prior to submission. Please refer to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services for a list of qualified companies. The applicant pays for the examination and credential-evaluation services.

How to apply

  1. Arrange internship participation. Contact your program's director of clinical education to arrange to participate in the Physical Therapy Internship at Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.
  2. Begin the application process. Once your participation is approved by both your director of clinical education and the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Physical Therapy Internship director, you will receive an instructional email to begin the formal application process approximately six months prior to your start date.
  3. Complete the application process. Follow and complete all the steps in this application email. Approximately one to two months prior to your start date, you receive an email with additional application documents to complete from Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Your complete application and supporting documentation must be returned by email in a timely manner to ensure your ability to begin this internship on the scheduled date. No interviews are held for internship positions unless notified by the Center Coordinator of Clinical Education.

Tuition and financial aid

You pay tuition to the school that you are attending. Mayo Clinic does not charge additional fees and does not offer financial aid for the internship.

You are responsible for providing your living accommodations and transportation.

You may hold outside employment during the internship if it does not conflict with your program responsibilities.


You gain experience in treating patients with special therapy needs, which may include:

  • Acute care complex medical conditions
  • Amputee rehabilitation
  • Back-related symptoms evaluation and treatment
  • Brain injury rehabilitation
  • Cardiac care
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, including shoulder and knee problems
  • Neck pain evaluation and treatment
  • Orthopedic trauma and general orthopedics
  • Postmastectomy lymphedema management
  • Rehabilitation of disabling neurological conditions
  • Rehabilitation of neuromuscular disorders
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Sports injury rehabilitation
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Trunk or extremity bracing problems
  • Vestibular rehabilitation

Internships vary in length from eight to 12 weeks, depending on the academic program's requirements. Mayo Clinic offers physical therapy internships in these practice areas:

  • Geriatrics
  • Inpatient acute care
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit
  • Outpatient care
  • Pain Rehabilitation Center
  • Pediatric Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine Center
  • Work Rehabilitation Center

Over the course of the internship, you may participate in lectures, workshops, in-service training, case studies, Grand Rounds, and informal discussions.


For the majority of the internship, the learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week. While the regular workweek is usually 40-45 hours, additional projects, patient activities, and homework may be assigned.


The Physical Therapy Internship is coordinated and taught by the clinical, scientific, and technical staff of Mayo Clinic. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, as well as clinical practice or research. Many have published and lectured extensively and are highly regarded in their fields. You have direct access to these individuals throughout your training, giving you the opportunity to learn from experienced practitioners in the field of physical therapy.

Accreditation information

Mayo Clinic's Physical Therapy Doctoral Program has been accredited since 1939. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

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