Program overview

Duration: 8-12 weeks
Class size: 50 students a year
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 or another area. This internship is for both physical therapist and physical therapist assistant students.

To be eligible for the internship, you must be currently enrolled in an accredited physical therapy education program. The academic coordinator 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.

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.

How to apply

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

The physical therapy fieldwork must be arranged and approved by the academic coordinator of clinical education from your college or university.

  1. Arrange internship participation. Contact your program's academic coordinator 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 academic coordinator of clinical education and the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Physical Therapy Internship director, you 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 mail or email in a timely manner to ensure your ability to begin this internship on the scheduled date. No interviews are held for internship positions. 

Curriculum

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:

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

Hours

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

Tuition and financial aid

You pay tuition to the school that you are attending. Mayo Clinic charges no additional fees.

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.

Faculty

Core faculty

Donna K. Heinle, O.T.D., OTR/L, BCPR, joined Mayo Clinic in 1988 as a staff therapist. For more than 15 years, she was a clinical education coordinator on an acute rehabilitation unit. She has received the Mayo Clinic Educator of the Year Award as well as the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association Fieldwork Educator Award.

Donna has done research involving clinical guidelines for people with spinal cord injuries and reflective learning for level II fieldwork occupational therapy students. She has experience working as an occupational therapist in a variety of settings, including physical disabilities, mental health, addiction, pediatrics, and developmentally disabled adults and children. She has presented at local, state and national conferences.

In 1981, Donna graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy and she graduated from the University of St. Augustine, in 2008 with a doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Donna became board certified in physical medicine by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in 2007. She has served on AOTA's Board for Advanced and Specialty Certification and is a regional trainer for the AOTA Fieldwork Educator Certificate course.

An adjunct educator and instructor for Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, Donna also has an academic appointment as an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. She is a Silver Level Certified Mayo Clinic Quality Fellow.

Melissa P. Hake, P.T., DScPT, has been the clinical education coordinator at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus, since 2010. Melissa earned a bachelor's degree in natural sciences and sociology from Covenant College in 1997, a Master of Science in physical therapy from Mayo School of Health Sciences (now Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences) in 2001, and a Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy from University of Maryland in 2012. She is credentialed through the American Physical Therapy Association as an Advanced Clinical Instructor, and has mentored over 100 students completing clinical internships in acute care.

Melissa currently serves on the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy's Minimum Skills Task Force and the Acute Care Education Conference Task Force. She co-developed the Academy of Acute Care Physical Therapy's "Core Competencies for Entry-Level Practice in Acute Care Physical Therapy" and has published and presented nationally on this topic.

Her clinical, education and research interests include the clinical competency of physical therapy students, the collaborative clinical education model, oncology rehabilitation, and liver disease and transplantation. She serves as an instructor in the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Physical Therapy Doctoral Program for coursework in complex medical conditions and differential diagnosis. She is a Silver Level Certified Mayo Clinic Quality Fellow.

Kathryn (Katie) R. King, P.T., D.P.T., has been a co-clinical education coordinator (CEC) at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, since 2017. However, she has been supporting the CEC role in various manners since 2011.

Katie graduated with her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Mayo School of Health Sciences (now Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences) in 2010 after completing her bachelor's degree in biology at Hamline University in 2007. She is a credentialed Advanced Clinical Instructor through the American Physical Therapy Association, instructor in physical therapy through the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, and a Silver Level Certified Mayo Clinic Quality Fellow.

Additionally, Katie participates in many workgroups and committees, both within and outside of Mayo Clinic. She is a distinguished clinician, having presented posters at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting on several occasions; earning special recognition in 2016 for her work related to the value-added services cohort study by the Health Policy & Administration (HPA) Section.

Katie has also been able to travel internationally on several occasions to help support physical therapy education and services in Kenya and Honduras. Prior to her CEC role, Katie has worked with specialty populations, including pulmonary rehabilitation, wound and integumentary management, vestibular rehabilitation, and emergency department.

Rachel A. Linbo, P.T., D.P.T., currently serves as a clinical education coordinator at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Methodist Campus, and Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, working as a substitute instructor in the areas of acute care and inpatient rehabilitation.

In 2004, Rachel graduated from St. Olaf College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and management studies. She graduated from the Mayo School of Health Sciences (now Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences) with her doctorate in physical therapy in 2007. Rachel's areas of interest include acute and subacute rehabilitation with a focus on spinal cord injury, seating and mobility, acute orthopedic rehabilitation and geriatric care. She has an interest in quality improvement projects and has participated in many department-specific task forces to help streamline therapy services.

Nikita Maria L. Mohabbat, P.T., D.P.T., graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. She has worked in a variety of settings, including acute care and outpatient. Her clinical interests include general medicine and acute physical therapy, postoperative cardiac care, early mobilization in the intensive care unit, clinical education and multidisciplinary collaboration.

Nikita received credentialing from the American Physical Therapy Association Clinical Instructor Basic course in 2012. In 2014, she joined Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, as a staff therapist. Nikita accepted the role of clinical education coordinator in acute care in 2016.

Kristin M. Sicotte, P.T., D.P.T., is a clinical education coordinator at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus, and accepted this role in 2017. Kristin earned her Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from the University of Minnesota in 1992 and her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the College of St. Scholastica in 2012. She is credentialed as a clinical instructor through the American Physical Therapy Association and is just starting her journey with clinical education.

Kristin has participated as a mentor in the Physical Therapy Neurologic Residency here at Mayo Clinic. Her clinical and educational interests are neurological and vestibular rehabilitation.

Katie J. Traver, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.C., is a 2012 graduate of Mayo School of Health Sciences (now Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences) Physical Therapy Doctoral Program. In 2012, she joined Mayo Clinic as a staff therapist with a primary focus of outpatient treatment of patients with degenerative neurological diseases and a secondary focus of musculoskeletal issues. She works closely with our behavior shaping therapy program treating patients with functional movement disorders.

Katie completed the American Physical Therapy Association's Clinical Instructor Basic Course in 2012. She has assisted with student education since 2013 and received the academic appointment of instructor in physical therapy in 2017. She lectures in the Physical Therapy Doctoral Program on the topic of multiple sclerosis and works with the Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Residency at Mayo Clinic.

In 2015, Katie became the clinical education coordinator in the outpatient musculoskeletal and neurologic practice at Mayo Clinic. Her practice interests include functional movement disorders, pain neuroscience education, fall prevention, community-based musculoskeletal practice and adult neurological conditions.

Robert J. Werner, P.T., D.P.T., GCS, graduated from the Mayo School of Health Sciences (now Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences) Physical Therapy Doctoral Program in 1984. He worked as a staff physical therapist in acute care at Mayo Clinic from 1984 until 2000, when he accepted the position of clinical education coordinator in acute care.

Robert received his Clinical Instructor Basic Course credentials in 1993 and his Advanced Course credentials in 2008. In 2006, he became certified as a geriatric clinical specialist. In 2011, Robert received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. His interests include clinical education, geriatrics, balance and falls, and ortho-trauma rehabilitation.

Academics ▸ Health Sciences Education ▸ Physical Therapy Internship (Minnesota)

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