Why Specialty Certifications Instead of Residency or Fellowship for Clinicians?

It is perhaps the most common question we get from physical therapists, occupational therapists, and other providers here at the Institute of Clinical Excellence (ICE): “Why don’t you have a residency or fellowship program?”

The answer is ultimately simple: the return on investment for our customers is dramatically higher with specialty certifications.  Plenty of ICE faculty have completed residency or fellowship training, and as an organization, we have certainly explored the option of creating such a program in great depth.

We’ll explain here, in some level of detail, the reasoning behind our decision in the hopes that it provides clarity and helps some of you trying to navigate your professional development. 

Why We Offer Specialty Certifications Instead of Residency or Fellowship Programs for Clinicians:

1: Where you spend your time is where you see your progress

Time spent doing administrative work doesn’t translate to elevated clinical skills.  Asking busy clinicians to spend countless hours filling out patient logs and doing additional documentation above and beyond the already excessive documentation they encounter daily in practice was an immediate deal-breaker for ICE. 

Our goal is simple: Every dollar and unit of time you invest with our organization results in a large and demonstrable increase in clinical skills and business success.  Having multiple faculty who have completed residency and fellowship programs, we are acutely aware of the paperwork burden that accrediting bodies have increasingly mandated over the years, and we aren’t interested in perpetuating that trend.  You’re not leveraging our company to make you better at documenting; you’re expecting to use us to make you better at being a clinician and running clinics.  The only way we can deliver on that ask is by wasting zero time on anything else.

2: Multiple years on a single topic isn’t the path to a thriving business.

Communities are made up of individuals with diverse needs; therefore, diverse training is the answer to becoming a one-stop solution to best serve all of them.  The ICE motto, “Fitness forward rehab for every age and stage” says it all: if you’re going to solve problems for a vast majority of potential customers, allocating years of training on the same topic won’t get you there. 

Instead, we want you to identify which niche areas of your community you feel called to serve most passionately and then receive accelerated training to make it happen.  Interested in coming alongside pregnant or postpartum women looking to stay fit? Jump into our Pelvic certification and be ready to do so within six months. In the days of complex biomechanical rationales for everything we did, it made sense to devote years to studying their intricacies before capitalizing on them in practice. As evidence has proven a far simpler approach in our patient populations is preferred, there is no longer the need or justification to delay your success.

3: Investing once and earning twice is the way

Committing to years of constant investment before a demonstrable financial return isn’t the way to build any business, especially when your model requires running lean early on.  Our customers want to make a small investment in a very specific subject matter and then make a profit several multiples of their investment BEFORE spending again

The specialty certification model allows us to combine just a few highly specific in-person and online courses, enabling you to immediately and effectively serve that population in your community, thus adding a profit arm to your business in a matter of months instead of years. As an example, taking the three courses in our endurance athlete certification will allow you to perform video gait analysis and professional bike fits to immediately support triathletes in your community well above and beyond your competitors.  This same concept applies to our other certifications, and only this model allows for this type of business-friendly implementation. 

Why Consider The Institute of Clinical Excellence?

Our profession is changing, and our continuing education models need to change with it.  Time- and cost-efficient specialty certifications that enable clinicians to overdeliver in clearly identifiable niche populations are the answer to adapting and thriving in the next generation of rehabilitation. 

If this pathway sounds like it makes sense for you check our list of fitness forward certifications crafted to fuel your clinical and business future.