The Difference Between Residency and Fellowship

What’s the difference between a residency and a fellowship? In short, residencies lead to fellowships.

A residency is a focused post-professional education in a broad specialty of expertise, such as orthopedics or neurology. A residency aims not to produce experts, but rather clinicians who are prepared for a board specialty examination and who anticipate spending most of their time seeing patients within that area of expertise. Generally, a residency education is aimed at the new graduate clinician or a more experienced clinician who is looking to change fields within the profession. Residencies should be seen as a base camp, not the summit. They prepare, they don’t finish.

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Fellowships are where experts are produced. Fellowships are a post-professional, post preparation finishing school for those who wish to be the best of the best within a narrow sub-field of a discipline. For example, an orthopedic specialist may pursue a fellowship in manual therapy, which is the premier program that NAIOMT offers – a true finishing school for the best of the best. It is not necessary to have a residency completed before you start a fellowship but you must have completed lower level coursework and ideally, been exposed to some 1:1 mentorship.

NAIOMT is currently accepting applications for its next Fellowship program beginning in September. Deadline to submit your application is July 1, 2015. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions!

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