Neuromusculoskeletal Physical Therapy Refresher

In this practice area, the OIEPB Program offers two courses:
NMSK PT: Focus on Peripheral Joints and NMSK PT: Focus on the Spine

These quick links will help you to navigate this page:


These two hybrid courses (consisting of both online and on-site components) will together provide a comprehensive, accessible refresher for those physical therapists interested in entering or returning to the neuromusculoskeletal (NMSK) practice setting.

The courses will assist participants to apply anatomy, pathophysiology, biomechanics, tissue repair principles, screening for non-MSK influences, recognition of movement dysfunction in the analysis of gait and posture, pain management, outcome measures, clinical reasoning, evidence-based decision making and exercise prescription in the evaluation and management of specific peripheral and spinal conditions. Note that these courses are primarily focused on the adult population.

In Focus on Peripheral Joints, physical therapy (PT) skills related to screening, assessment and treatment of injuries and conditions relevant to peripheral joints will be considered. Practice and integration of skills and clinical reasoning will occur through case studies, review of best practices and current literature, an online discussion board, and hands-on practice.

In Focus on the Spine, PT skills related to screening, assessment and treatment of injuries and conditions relevant to the spine will be considered. Practice and integration of skills and clinical reasoning will occur through case studies, review of best practices and current literature, an online discussion board, and hands-on practice.

The two courses are linked, but can be taken independent of each other.

The courses will not review basic physical therapy principles. Instead, they are aimed at assisting participants to renew skills with a reflective, evidence-informed, interprofessional approach, refreshing their knowledge and skills of Canadian NMSK practice throughout various service delivery models along the continuum of care. Upon completion of both courses, participants will be more confident in their practical skills and clinical decision-making, more competitive applicants for employment in NMSK physical therapy practice, and stronger contributors to the workplace.


Each course uses a hybrid format of online and on-site learning, consisting of:

  • 4 weeks of online learning resources (e.g. self-study material, online interactive case studies, video resources, research literature and practice guidelines), access to university library resources, interaction with facilitators and peers via online Discussion Board
  • 1 weekend workshop consisting of hands-on practice of assessment and treatment skills, small group opportunities to practice clinical reasoning and treatment planning, group practice of relevant multiple choice questions, and behavioural learning opportunities to reflect on performance and consolidate skills

Participants who fulfill online and on-site participation requirements will receive an official Certificate of Completion from the program.

Course Dates

NMSK PT: Focus on Peripheral Joints – new dates to be determined for next year

Workshop Component Dates: Focus on Peripheral Joints
Online Learning Component TBD   
On-site Workshop TBD  

Deadline for Applications: 5 pm EST on TBD

Deadline to be eligible for early bird rate: 5pm EST on TBD
NMSK PT: Focus on the Spine – Dates to be Determined

Workshop Component Dates: Focus on the Spine
Online Learning Component TBD
On-site Workshop TBD

***NMSK PT – Focus on the Spine  registration will reopen closer to the course start date**


This course is open to:

  • Physical therapists (Canadian- or internationally-trained), registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, who have clinical experience beyond degree requirements
  • Internationally educated physical therapists (IEPTs) who have not yet passed the professional competency examination (PCE) who:

    1. have had their physical therapy education assessed by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (The Alliance) and have been credentialed* by The Alliance as substantially equivalent and
    2. have experience working with patients in a healthcare context in English.

Note: Credentialed IEPTs who do not have experience working with patients in English may be eligible if they have passed the PCE Written Component (MCQ).

*Please note: Upon receiving an application from a candidate in this situation, the OIEPB program will verify this criterion with The Alliance.

Additional Requirements

All applicants must be able to meet the following additional requirements:

  • Meet the Language Requirements of the OIEPB Comprehensive Program
  • Available to attend the scheduled weekend workshop and participate in online environment
  • –Basic computer literacy with daily access to computer, Internet and email (Please note: the online learning interface is best accessed through a laptop or computer rather than solely through iPad , tablet or equivalent)

Expectations for Participation

Potential course participants should be aware that online learning components may require at least 6-8 hours per week for review of learning resources and participation in online case studies. The timing of this participation is flexible, but learners are encouraged to pace their learning week by week.

Attendance and participation in the weekend workshop, completion of 1-2 short, independent assignments, and participation in the online case study are required for course completion. Course participants will also have the opportunity to practice MCQ and behavioural learning scenarios; however, performance in these activities will not affect course standing.

Applicants should be aware that basic physical therapy knowledge and skills (e.g., human anatomy and physiology, biomechanics, patient interaction skills) are assumed as prior knowledge and will not be addressed in detail in these courses. Participants should be prepared that these courses are quite time-intensive, and taught at an entry-to-practice level.

Applicants who are interested in specific practice for the PCE Written or Practical Components should consider taking Exam Skills Preparation Workshops and/or applying to the OIEPB Comprehensive Program.

Online Application, Fees and Financial Assistance

Link to Online Application Form

The Deadline for Applications (NMSK PT: Focus on Peripheral Joints):  5 pm EST on Monday, September 26, 2016.

The Deadline to be eligible for early bird rate: 5pm EST on 5pm EST on Thursday, September 1, 2016.

Applicants will be notified of their status on or before September 28, 2016.

Before applying please make sure you have ready:

  • your contact information
  • details of your PT entry-to-practice education or proof of your PT Registration in Ontario
  • details of previous PT and/or health care work and/or volunteer experience
  • TOEFL or IELTS verification (if English is not your first language or you did not train in English)
  • details of your PCE attempts (if applicable)
  • current resume


$600.00 Early Bird Registration Fee (until September 1, 2016)
$650.00 Registration Fee (after September 1, 2016)

Payment will be required (online, via Credit Card) once participants have been notified of their acceptance into the course. Please note that each course will be limited to 20 participants. You are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available for Internationally Educated Physical Therapists who meet the eligibility requirements of the OBPAP Bursary Program. Please contact the program administrator for more information.

Practicing PTs may wish to apply to the Allied Health Professional Development Fund offered by HealthForceOntario for reimbursement of course fees.

Additional Information

This course will give participants the opportunity to refresh, update, and apply skills and knowledge, and to practice mock test scenarios (multiple choice tests, and behavioural learning scenarios). Individuals who require more comprehensive assistance in transitioning to Canadian physical therapy practice and/or were not educated in English may wish to participate in the Comprehensive (10-month) OIEPB program.

Course Development

The NMSK Physical Therapy Refresher courses were designed using

  • principles of adult learning
  • the Essential Competency Profile for Physiotherapists in Canada
  • an Advisory Council of physical therapists currently in orthopaedic practice, faculty members from the University of Toronto Department of Physical Therapy, and faculty from the OIEPB program
  • techniques and approaches grounded in evidence-informed practice, referencing current best-practice guidelines

Cancellation Policy

Individuals who withdraw on or before the cancellation deadline will receive a refund to the credit card the original payment was made minus a $50 administration feeNo refunds will be issued to individuals who withdraw after the cancellation deadline or who fail to attend.

Full refunds will only be given if the workshop is cancelled.


For more information about the NMSK Physical Therapy Refresher courses, please contact the Program Administrator by email at or call 416-946-3414.