Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program in Physical Rehabilitation

The Kessler Institute Occupational Therapy (OT) Fellowship Program in Physical Rehabilitation is approved by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). Developed for licensed occupational therapists, this fellowship program fosters clinical expertise in physical rehabilitation, advances professional development and expands the field of occupational therapy.

Fostering clinical expertise and quality patient care

The OT Fellowship Program, launched at Kessler in 2022, is offered to occupational therapists interested in expanding their clinical reasoning and knowledge for specialization in physical rehabilitation. Our expert faculty and team of dedicated rehabilitation professionals provide opportunities for fellows to develop advanced, evidence-based clinical reasoning and handling skills.

The staff volume, state-of-the-art equipment and unique patient diagnoses treated across the three Kessler campuses offer an optimal setting for a comprehensive fellowship. Candidates have the opportunity to rotate through various departments at three Kessler inpatient rehabilitation hospitals as well as gain experience in acute care, research and multiple outpatient settings. This design introduces the fellows to a broad faculty, many of whom have advanced certifications, including AOTA’s Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation.

    • Facilitate the fellow’s pursuit to become an advanced practitioner in occupational therapy physical rehabilitation.
    • Support the fellow’s ability to successfully meet all expectations and qualifications to sit for AOTA Board certification exam in physical rehabilitation.
    • Contribute to the field of rehabilitation occupational therapy through participation in advanced level professional activities.
    • Support the development of current and future practitioners through mentorship and collaboration with fellowship faculty and members of the organization.
    • Facilitate the development of current and future practitioners through didactic/instructional and hands-on teaching.

    The mission of the Kessler Institute Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program in Physical Rehabilitation is to foster the professional development of occupational therapists by providing comprehensive occupational therapy training to prepare clinicians for independent advanced practice in physical rehabilitation in order to become evidenced based leaders within their communities. Graduates of the Occupational Therapy Fellowship Program in Physical Rehabilitation will demonstrates advanced practice skills, above average clinical reasoning skills and ground breaking patient-centered care in order to promote excellent clinical practice within the field of occupational therapy.

  • To be eligible for consideration of admission to program, candidates must:

    • Be a graduate of an occupational therapy educational program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE®).
    • Be a licensed occupational therapist in the state of New Jersey.
    • Be employed by Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation or Kessler Rehabilitation Center.
    • Have at least six months of experience as an occupational therapist from the projected start date of the Fellowship.
    • Have a personal computer or consistent access to a computer outside of Kessler.
    • Commit to signing up for the AOTA BCPR examination at the completion of the Fellowship year, with a plan to sit for the exam by the end of the following year.
  • The program includes a robust education curriculum that aligns with each subspecialty and rotation, opportunities for 1:1 direct mentorship with advanced practitioners, interdisciplinary education, teaching, leadership and ongoing professional development.

    Fellows will rotate through three Kessler inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, focusing on the following subspecialties (timeline subject to change):

    • Chester (3 months): Stroke (CVA)/ Neuro [January- March]
    • Saddle Brook (3 months): Brain Injury/Neuro/Complex Medical [April- June]
    • West Orange (3 months): Spinal Cord Injury [July- September]
    • West Orange (3 months): Complex Medical [October- December]


    Throughout the program, fellows will engage in ongoing mentorship for completion of a Research and Development Module (fellow's topic of choice) and plan, create and begin to conduct research in collaboration with the Kessler Foundation.

    Clinical Experience

    Fellows participate in up to 20 hours per week of direct patient treatment time with a focus on assessment and interventions across the physical rehabilitation continuum. The fellows will receive more than 350 hours of 1:1 direct mentored time with the program’s experienced faculty, with over 200 of those hours during direct patient care.

    Didactic Education

    The fellows participate in a robust education series with instruction from our expert faculty, in addition to involvement in specialty clinics, grand rounds, interdisciplinary observations and access to state-of-the-art equipment, technology and research. The program, in partnership with Seton Hall University School of Health and Medical Sciences, also provides fellows with a unique teaching opportunity through the creation of a Level I fieldwork experience for students within the occupational therapy program.

    • All candidates must submit a current curriculum vitae (CV) and application, including statement of interest and recommendation form(s), to the Fellowship Leadership Team by September 1 each year. Candidates who meet program criteria will participate in a two-part interview process between September and October. Fellow position(s) will be announced by November 1 for the following year.
    • This 12-month program runs from the beginning of January through the end of December during one calendar year.
    • Fees: As a salaried employee of Kessler Institute, the fellow will maintain full-time employment throughout the fellowship program and will be responsible to cover the cost of any continuing education coursework beyond the continuing education funds provided by Kessler Institute. The fellow will personally secure and financially manage all flight and travel plans, including lodging and meals for on-site educational courses.

For more information about the OT Fellowship Program in Physical or application process, please contact Program Director Antoinette Gentile at [email protected].

To apply for employment as a therapist at Kessler Institute and become eligible for the OT Fellowship Program, contact Ken Caldera at [email protected].

Education Calendar

To learn more about our current offerings and to register please visit our event listings.