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What’s With All Those Letters?

We recently had a request to explain the credentialing seen after a medical professional’s title.  So let’s get started.

PT – Physical Therapist – The credential of PT refers to a board licensed physical therapist.  This credential was used when a physical therapy degree was 4 years.

MSPT – Master’s in Physical Therapy – As the profession grew and our scope of practice expanded students were required to achieve a degree at the Masters level.  The required schooling grew to 5 years.

DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy – A titled granted to those who have graduated from an accredited program with a minimum of 6 years of under graduate and graduate work.  Those with the DPT title enter the work force with expanded knowledge of differential diagnosis and an expanded scope of practice, including vestibular rehab.

OCS – Orthopedic Clinical Specialist –  A Physical Therapist who has advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in the practice of orthopaedic, or the study of the musculoskeletal system.  The OCS certification requires a PT to complete orthopedic testing and pass an examination.

MDT – Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy – Certified in the philosophy of active patient involvement and education for back, neck and extremity problems

CSCS – Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist – This title is attained for those interested in becoming credentialed and setting themselves apart in the strength and conditioning field.

It should be noted that each physical therapist is required to achieve continuing education credits every year to maintain their license.  Not all programs add credentials to a PT’s name.  A physical therapist with a single credential of “PT” does NOT indicate he/she has less knowledge or skills with the initials “PT, DPT, OCS, MDT, CSCS”.

Other helpful initials

DC – Doctor of Chiropractic

MD – Medical Doctor

DO – Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine

RPA-C – Registered Physician Assistant – Certified

LMT – Licensed Massage Therapist

If you have initials you would like more information about, ask us on facebook