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Manual Therapy Certifications

Need-to-Know Manual Therapy Certifications for Physical Therapists

The use of manual therapy, or manipulative therapy, is nothing really novel. It has roots back to ancient Greece and 400 BCE Europe (Pettman, 2007). In the modern era, physical therapists have been able to provide strong contributions to the field, thereby solidifying the profession’s claim to have manipulative therapy within its legally regulated scope of practice (Pettman, 2007). This has led to the introduction of various philosophies and approaches to manual therapy, whether coming from the osteopathic, chiropractic, or allopathic professions. The various philosophies are especially apparent in our own profession of physical therapy. As new physical therapists, deciding which approach is the most effective can be challenging. Which approach can you believe in, and should you pursue specializations?

The goal of this article is to provide a breadth of knowledge of all the modern coursework and certification options for a manual therapist. 

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About Dustin Passigli

Dustin Passigli
Dustin Passigli is a recent graduate (May 2015) of Long Island University-Brooklyn. Dustin is currently working at Profitness Physical Therapy, an orthopedic manual therapy clinic, in downtown Brooklyn as well performing duties as an adjunct lab instructor for Anatomy courses in the physical therapy department at LIU-Brooklyn.


  1. Matt Lindeman

    International Spine & Pain Institute (ISPI)’s manual therapy certification, Certified Spinal Manual Therapist (CSMT), was not on your list. Why’s that? Had you not heard of it or did you not recognize it as a major player when compared to the others?

    Furthermore, you stated that you wanted to explore all of these certifications and did not have a position on one over the other. With that said, have you received any feedback as to which of these are perhaps more renown or more valuable when it comes to setting one’s self apart from others?

  2. Dustin Passigli

    Hello Matt,

    First off, thank you very much for the comment. I included many of the certifications that I have most encountered in both my clinical rotations, network gatherings, and my own perusing. I will be including this certification and approach to an updated version of the article soon.

    Secondly, unfortunately I have not received any feedback in regard to which certification produces more value for the physical therapist in regards to job position, notoriety, and/or salary. I believe that certain certifications, specifically COMT (maitland), CFMT (IPA), and CMPT (NAIOMT), can give an orthopedic/outpatient physical therapist some financial advantage over another therapist with same amount of years of experience. It also can give one an edge when opening up their own cinic as an advertising point.

    Lastly, I do not want people to think of this as just a way for a person to increase their financial prowess (deep down all of us want to be reimbursed for our time and effort), it is also a way for a PT to become an advanced clinician with increased knowledge on pathoanatomy, pain science, kinesiology, and clinical reasoning. The process of many of these approaches require continued mentorship and various contact hours with various patients, presentations, and conditions.

    I hopefully answered your question

    my best

    Dustin Passigli, PT, DPT, MA

  3. Brett Neilson

    If you are looking for an eclectic, evidence-based Manual Therapy Certification, look no further than Evidence In Motion Learn from some of the leading clinicians, researchers, academicians and experts in the field such as Tim Flynn, John Childs, Rob Wainner, Julie Whitman, etc. Evidence In Motion is one of the leading postprofessional providers for physical therapists when it comes to Fellowship, Residency, DPT and Certifications. The unique “blended classroom” combining online and onsite training will maximize your potential, offering flexibility to live, learn and work where you choose and will reduce the overall burden of travel and giving up your weekends. Interested in Fellowship training as your long term goal? Be sure to check out Evidence In Motion’s Pre-fellowship MTC and earn your MTC on the way to completing Fellowship training.

    If you have additional questions please send an email to Brett Neilson at

  4. Ryan Eckert

    Thanks for putting this together! I was trying to search all of these myself to just get an idea of what is out there and found it was all put together in one place here for me.

  5. Lee Wood

    Hi Brett,
    I find that I am always looking for a mentor who have achieved the same things I would want, but often find it very difficult. Nonetheless, what are some things to discuss/questions to ask/ or general conversations that you can suggest when speaking or interacting with a clinician who you would want to consider as a mentor?

    • Brett Kestenbaum

      Hi Lee,
      Great question! The first thing to do if you are looking to find a mentor is find common grounds with the person (which will likely be easy because you are interested in the same things they are :)). This means doing a little research on them including learning about their career, their interests, and the things they have done to date. This article can provide you with more information on the foundations for getting started with a mentor:

      The other thing is I would not necessarily reach out and ask someone to be a mentor right away. In a podcast with Tim Ferris, Ryan Holiday, the author of “The Obstacle is The Way”, offered great advice regarding reaching out to people whom you’d like to form a connection. He states that you should always start with a question that is simple and takes little time to answer, but is also thoughtful. Once someone answers a single question for you they are more likely to continue the interaction with you and you can develop the relationship from there.

      For instance, if you had further questions for me, I would be happy to answer them as best I can for you :)!

      I hope this helps. Feel free to drop me a line anytime.

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