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Do physical therapists specialize, get certifications, or do both? Learn more!

Ultimate Guide to Physical Therapy Certifications

There are so many great physical therapy certifications, its tough to keep track! 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 figure out which of the physical therapy certifications to pursue and how you want to carve out your own path of career growth and specialization.

Not only do different initials represent dramatically different physical therapy certifications 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.   

The aim of this article is:

  • To inform you what title/certification/specialty each acronym stands for. This will help you stay informed and not looking like an ass.
  • To explain each title/certification/specialty’s relevance within the PT field. This will save you from pursuing a certification that will mean very little in our own profession.
  • To categorize each item into areas that suit your areas of professional interest. This will enable you to focus on whatever particular area interests you.
  • To help you weigh the financial value of each option, considering your professional goals. Some initials are quite expensive to maintain. We’ll show you which ones pay off for new grads.
  • To provide basic resources to get started toward the right credentials for your career path. Want to work toward your OCS? We’ll show you how to take the first steps.

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About Meredith Victor Castin

Meredith Victor Castin
Meredith is the co-founder of 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 physical therapy. She loves spending time with her husband, making art and weird music, and is unabashedly obsessed with her 3 cats.


  1. Richard Severin PT, DPT, CCS

    Hey Great Job guys!! This might be a good one to include (CEEA)!

  2. Nick C.

    Excellent article! Very comprehensive. Thanks for the great content. 🙂

  3. Meredith Victor Castin

    Thanks, Rich! I’ll make sure to add it. Thank you, Nick! Let us know if you have any questions…

  4. Tyler Joyce

    Certified Neurac Provider
    PT certification in neuromuscular activation (Neurac) using Redcord suspension equipment. See for more info on our medical and fitness certifications (RAS)

  5. F Scott Feil

    What about CCRT (Certified Canine Rehab Therapist) or CCRP (Certified Canine Rehab Practitioner)
    Cert. DN (Certified Dry Needling)
    Sert SMT (Certified Spinal Manipulation Therapist)
    Dip. Osteopractor
    FMS (Functional Movement Systems Certifcation) which runs hand in hand with TPI Titleist Performance Institute Golf Certification

    How comprehensive is this list looking to be? I think we should try to knock it out of the park to show not only all of the options, but also how ridiculous some of this has become too.

  6. Meredith Victor Castin

    Fantastic additions! Excited to get your perspective and re-release the updated, extra awesome version of this article 🙂 Coming soon…

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