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The Outstanding Physical Therapist Fellow Award honors recent fellowship graduates in order to recognize the intrinsic value of post-professional training, and thereby promote and provide for the development and accreditation of fellowship education programs in physical therapy.

Eligibility Requirements

Nominees must:

  • Be current APTA members in good standing at the time of nomination and selection.
  • Be within two years immediately following graduation from a fellowship program, accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Fellowship Education. This period includes the one year preceding the nomination.
  • Be nominated by a representative of an ABPTRFE-accredited physical therapist residency and/or fellowship education program. Self-nominations are not permitted for this award.
  • Be licensed or regulated as required by the jurisdiction where the nominee is practicing.

Criteria for Selection

  • Demonstrate evidence of current and potential contributions to the physical therapy profession.
  • Exemplify ethical standards of professional conduct and the core values that distinguish physical therapy as a caring profession.
  • Demonstrate promotion of best practice patterns within clinical practice through teaching, mentoring, and scholarly work.
  • Have made contributions to the American Physical Therapy Association at the national, component, and/or district levels.
  • Demonstrate dedicated service to the community through activities that enhance quality of life, function, and societal well-being.

A strong application should demonstrate the following:

  • Specific examples of the selection criteria listed above.
  • Letters of support that are positive, cite specific examples of professional accomplishments, and provide additional information on depth, scope, and quality in a convincing manner.

What Recipients Receive

An award will be presented to the recipient by APTA's Board of Directors at an APTA national event, and an official announcement will appear in an association publication.

Submission Requirements

During the online process, the following documents will be required for upload:

  • A completed application form.
  • Graduation certificate from the nominee’s program confirming enrollment and successful graduation.
  • A completed narrative description (not to exceed one page) from the nominee; narrative’s content should focus upon the nominee’s experience within their respective program and its significant or effect upon their future goals in the profession.
  • Letter of nomination (from the nominee’s program director or faculty member) that specifically focuses on the strength of the nominee in relation to the award criteria, not to exceed three pages. Letters of nomination cannot serve as one of the required letters of support.
  • Two letters of support, not to exceed two pages each, obtained from individuals who can specifically address one or more of the criteria for selection. One of these letters must be provided by a faculty member or mentor within the nominee’s program. (Note: If more than two letters of support are received, only the first two will be considered. The nominator will be asked to remove additional letters.)

Submit a Nomination

The nominations call for the Honors & Awards Program is open from Sept. 1- Dec. 1. Nominations must be submitted through our online portal by Dec. 1. Late submissions will not be considered. Selected recipients and their nominators will be notified in May.

Additional Resources

For questions regarding the nomination process or the award, please contact