physical therapy certifications
Not sure what all those initials stand for? Let NGPT help!

The “Alphabet Soup” of Physical Therapy Certifications

Ever wonder what all those letters behind PT mean?

So did we!

As the field of physical therapy evolves, practitioners seek ways to further their knowledge and convey their commitment to learning. As a new graduate, it’s a little hard to keep track of all the letters after your colleagues’ names, much less to figure out how you want to carve out your own path of career growth and specialization.

Not only do different initials represent dramatically different titles and accomplishments, they also span a wide array of professional relevance to your field. Certifications that are easily recognizable to professionals may have patients scratching their heads. Additional credentialing helps you stand out as a leader in your field, but not all initials are equal in the eyes of your future employers. SCS, for example, is very different from CSCS.

While this list is not comprehensive, we strove to include as many fairly commonly seen certifications as possible. If you have any questions or wish to see additional entries, please contact us.

This article is simply a list of certification abbreviations and their matching titles. We are hard at work on an eBook that covers more information for each certification, including a cost breakdown, recertification structure and value for new grad.

Keep in mind that the ones with *** next to them are actually true specialities. Only physical therapists who hold current certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) as clinical specialists may designate this certification by use of the initials “CS” (Certified Specialist) immediately following the initial of their specialty area.

Enjoy!

AET – Advanced Exercise Therapist
ART – Active Release Techniques
ATC – Athletic Trainer, Certified
BSPT – Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy
CCI – Certified Clinical Instructor
CCS – Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Certified Specialist ***
CAFS – Certification in Applied Functional Science®
CAPP-OB – Certificate of Achievement in Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Therapy
CAPP-Pelvic – Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy
CCP – Clinical Certification Program
CCVT/CVT – Certified Clinical Vestibular Therapist/ Clinical Vestibular Therapist
CFC – Cranio-mandibular Head, Neck, and Facial Pain
CEAS I, CEAS II -Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist
CEES – Certified Ergonomic Evaluator Specialist
CFCE – Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator (also FCE: Functional Capacity Evaluator)
CFMT – Certified Functional Manual Therapist
CHT – Certified Hand Therapist
CKTP -Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner
CLT – Certified Lymphedema Therapist (Also known as CLT-LANA)
COMT – Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
CPT – Certified Personal Trainer
CPT – Certified Pilates Teacher
CREX – Certification in Rehabilitative Exercise
CSCS – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
CST – Craniosacral Therapist/Therapy, CST-D – Craniosacral Therapy Diplomate
CYI – Certified Yoga Instructor
CYT – Certified Yoga Therapist
CWCA™ -Certified Wound Care Associate
CWCE -Certified Work Capacity Evaluator
CWS® – Certified Wound Specialist
DMT – Doctor of Manual Therapy
DWC® – Diabetic Wound Certified
DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy
ECS – Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist ***
FAAOMPT – Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
FAFS – Fellow of Applied Functional Science®
FCE -Functional Capacity Evaluator: see CFCE (Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator)
FOC – Functional Orthopedic Certification
GCFP – Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practioner
GCS – Geriatric Certified Specialist ***
HHP – Holistic Health Practitioner
JSCC – Jones Strain Counterstrain Certified
LLE® – Lymphedema Lower Extremity Certified
LMP – Licensed Massage Practitioner (see LMT – Licensed Massage Therapist)
LMT – Licensed Massage Therapist
MDT – Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®
MLD – Manual Lymph Drainage
MPT/MSPT – Master of Physical Therapy
MTC – Manual Therapy Certified
NCS – Neurologic Certified Specialist ***
NDT – Neuro-developmental Treatment Certified
OCS – Orthopedic Certified Specialist ***
OT/OTR/OTReg/OTR/L – Occupational Therapist/Registered/Licensed
PAS – Postural Alignment Specialist
PCS – Pediatric Certified Specialist ***
PRC/PRT – Postural Restoration Certified/Trained
SCS – Sports Certified Specialist ***
WCC® – Wound Care Certified
WCS – Women’s Certified Specialist ***

We surveyed 1,691 physical therapists to learn about the state of the profession — from finances to clinical preparation and beyond. Download the survey to read the full report!

About Meredith Victor Castin

Meredith Victor Castin
Meredith is the co-founder of NewGradPhysicalTherapy.com and the founder of The Non-Clinical PT. She is originally from Tyler, TX and attended UPenn for undergrad, before graduating with her DPT from USA (San Diego) in 2010. She has worked in outpatient ortho, inpatient rehab, acute care, and home health. She loves spending time with her husband and 3 cats, and enjoys creating art and weird music.

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