Overview of the Specialty

Physical medicine and rehabilitation, also referred to as physiatry, is a medical specialty concerned with diagnosing, evaluating and treating patients with a limited function as a consequence of diseases, injuries, impairments and/or disabilities. Emphasis is placed on maximal restoration of the physical, psychological, social and vocational functions of the person; on the maintenance of health and the prevention of secondary complications of disabilities; and on alleviation of pain. Physiatrists have special training in therapeutic exercise and physical modalities; prosthetics, orthotics and the use of other durable medical equipment; gait analysis; diagnostic and therapeutic injections, electrodiagnostic studies; and rehabilitation management.

At a Glance


  • 1 transitional/preliminary year
  • 3 years of residency
  • Categorical and advanced positions available

These are minimum requirements. Some programs may have longer residencies.


Pain Management1 year
Spinal Cord Injury1 year
Sports Medicine1 year


Median, Academic Salary$226,000
Median, Clinical Salary$252,000

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges

Training Requirements

Training consists of a minimum of four years of postgraduate education. Three of these four years must be in a physical medicine and rehabilitation training program. One of these four years of training must be in an ACGME-accredited transitional year program or include six months or more of ACGME-accredited training in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, or surgery or any combination of these patient care experiences. The remaining months of this one year may include any combination of accredited specialties or subspecialties.

There were 78 physical medicine and rehabilitation residency training programs accredited by the ACGME for 2014/15 that offered 389 categorical/advanced positions.

Matching Program Information and Match Statistics

Physical medicine & rehabilitation residency training programs participate in the NRMP. Match results through the NRMP and competitiveness information for physical medicine and rehabilitation residency training positions are summarized in the U.S. Match Statistics table below.

US Match Statistics





# Categorical/ Advanced positions available for U.S. Seniors389383397367
% U.S. Seniors Matched*93%89%89%92%
# Unfilled Categorical/ Advanced Positions3014
# Unmatched U.S. Seniors9141613

Source: NRMP Match results for U.S. seniors applying in a single specialty. *Competitiveness is based upon the percentage of U.S. Seniors who ranked each specialty as their only choice.

WUSM Match Statistics

For a list of WUSM match statistics for the past several years, please visit Search for WUSM Statistics. (password protected)

Subspecialty/Fellowship Training

Subspecialty/fellowship training following completion of a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency program is available in spinal cord injury medicine, pain management and sports medicine. Detailed information about the scope of these subspecialty training programs, number of positions offered, and length of training is available at the FREIDA website.

Visit AMA website » 
Visit FREIDA website »

Career Information

FREIDA physician workforce information for each specialty includes statistical information on the number of positions/programs for residency training, resident work hours, resident work environment and compensation, employment status upon completion of program and work environment for those entering practice in each specialty.

Washington University Resources

Faculty Contacts

Oksana Volshteyn, MD454-7757

National Organizations