What Is DPT?

What is DPT? What is PTA? What do the letters mean after a PTs name? This blog from Carolina PT will teach you what each means and more!

What is DPT? Have you ever wondered what the letters after your physical therapist’s name mean?


You might have come across an earlier blog post of ours about Physical Therapy credentials, detailing what DPT, PT, or PTA stand for and explaining the significance of a physical therapist’s credentials. This post serves as a continuation because the field of physical therapy is continually evolving! In the world of healthcare, professionals often have various letters after their names representing their qualifications and expertise. These credentials are a testament to their dedication to their field and commitment to providing the best care possible. At Carolina Physical Therapy, we recognize the importance of these credentials and aim to shed light on what they mean.

Standard Physical Therapy Credentials

PT – Physical Therapist – Licensed professionals who graduate from accredited physical therapist programs, pass licensure exams, and actively help patients regain mobility and manage pain.
MPT, MSPT – Masters of Physical Therapy – Physical therapists holding a master’s degree receive advanced training and education, further enhancing their ability to provide effective treatment.
DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy – Physical therapists with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree achieve the highest level of education in their field. They apply their advanced knowledge and clinical expertise to deliver comprehensive patient care.
PTA – Physical Therapy Assistant – With associate degrees, a PTA works under the supervision of physical therapists, actively implementing treatment plans and assisting patients on their rehabilitation journey.
ATC, LAT – Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Athletic Trainer – Athletic trainers work with doctors to enhance athlete performance and recovery. They specialize in preventing injuries, providing first aid, and handling emergencies.

Specialized Credentials

CEAS – Certified Ergonomic Assessment Certification – Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialists skillfully identify workplace discomfort and strain, providing practical solutions to alleviate these issues.
Cert. MDT – Certified in the McKenzie Method – Physical therapists with the McKenzie Method certification expertly tackle pain from back, neck, and extremity issues. They use mechanical assessments and actively involve patients in the process.
CFE – Certified Functional Capacity Evaluator – Certified functional capacity evaluators skillfully assess a patient’s abilities and carefully document disabilities, especially regarding essential job demands.
CHT – Certified Hand Therapist – Certified Hand Therapists specialize in treating hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder issues, drawing from their extensive clinical experience and advanced clinical skills.
COMT – Certified Orthopedic Manual/Manipulative Therapist – Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapists excel in advanced spinal manipulation techniques and possess a deep understanding of clinical reasoning.
CSCS – Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist – These specialists expertly apply scientific knowledge to enhance training and performance, offering valuable guidance on nutrition and injury prevention.
CSMT – Certified Spinal Manual Therapist – Certified Spinal Manual Therapists are experts in evidence-based evaluation, reasoning, and treatment skills for spinal disorders.
TPI – TPI-Certified Physical Therapist –  These specialists are trained to help you play golf pain-free and improve your game. They assess and identify physical restrictions that may limit your performance and cause unnecessary discomfort.
MTC – Manual Therapy Certified – Manual therapists skillfully restore normal movement to joints and soft tissues through precise hand placements and the application of pressure.
OCS – Orthopedic Certified Specialist – Clinicians with OCS credentials are board-certified in orthopedic physical therapy, showcasing a high level of knowledge and practice standards in orthopedic disorders.
OMPT – Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapist – Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy is a specialized program for physical therapists aimed at cultivating advanced manual therapy skills.

How to pick the right Physical Therapist at Carolina PT

We understand that choosing the right physical therapist is a pivotal decision for your rehabilitation journey. When choosing a physical therapist, we suggest you seek recommendations from trusted sources, like your primary care physician, family, or friends. We are proud of our patient reviews, which is why we display them in real-time on our website for all to see.

Did you know you can schedule an initial consultation, often without a referral? Contact us today and let our team help you find the therapist that is right for you! Selecting Carolina Physical Therapy can make a significant difference in your recovery and overall well-being.