Explanation of Credential Initials

DPT: Doctorate of Physical Therapy

DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy): A DPT holds a doctorate degree in physical therapy. All new physical therapists must hold a doctorate to practice. Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals who have medical and health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.


COMT: Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist

A certification that focuses on advanced, localized, and specific spinal/peripheral manipulation techniques. Designed to teach therapists how to effectively manage the difficult patients that most therapists struggle with. This certification is a distinction given to Manual / Manipulative Physical Therapists around the world who have completed post-graduate specialization in the field of neuro-muscular skeletal disorders. The specialization includes “hands-on” techniques used to evaluate muscles, fascia, nerves, and joints.

Dip. MT: Diplomat of Manual Therapy

A certification demonstrating mastery in orthopedic manipulative therapy. It is an intensive training program with a comprehensive oral exam and written case reports. It requires advanced clinical reasoning, advanced theoretical knowledge and advanced technical skills. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status.

FAAOMPT: Fellow in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy

The “Fellow” is a physical therapist who has demonstrated advanced clinical, analytical, and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal orthopedic disorders and is internationally recognized for their competence and expertise in the practice of manual physical therapy. Only a very small percentage of physical therapists achieve this elite status.

MPT: Master of Physical Therapy

An MPT is a post-baccalaureate degree awarded upon the completion of an ccredited physical therapy education program.

OCS: Orthopedic Clinical Specialist

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), in response to this shift in stressing clinical outcomes created one of the earliest specialist certifications with a concentration in Orthopedics. The OCS certification program was established to provide formal recognition for physical therapists with advanced clinical knowledge, experience, and skills in a specialized area of practice and to assist consumers and the health care community in identifying these physical therapists.  It also helped demonstrate that physical therapists are devoted to addressing the unique needs of the people with whom they work. In support of physical therapist’s autonomy and the advent of the doctorate in physical therapy, Hart & Dobzyrkowski (2000) data showed that physical therapists with the OCS are more efficient than clinicians without OCS. This all boils down to that patients require fewer visits, with less cost per visit, and improved outcomes over the period of care. Specifically, the OCS group had better value (unit of functional improvement per estimated dollar) and utilization (unit of functional improvement per visit) for the constructs of physical functioning outlined in the study (Hart & Dobzyrkowski, 2000).

SCS: Sports Clinical Specialist

SCS (Sports Certified Specialist): The Sports Certified Specialist is an expert in athletic injury management, including acute care, treatment and rehabilitation, prevention, and education. In addition to CPR and Emergency Care Certification, those with this designation must show evidence of 2,000 hours of direct patient care (25% within the last three years) or successful completion of an APTA-credentialed post professional sports clinical residency.

What is an orthopedic manual physical therapist?

Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy is any “hands-on” treatments such as moving a joint in a specific direction and at different speeds to regain movement (joint mobilization and manipulation), muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, and selected soft tissue techniques used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles. Orthopedic manual physical therapists treat conditions in body regions like the head, neck, back, arms and legs. Advanced examination, communication and decision making skilled that are built on the foundations of professional and scientific education facilitate the provision of effective and efficient care.

"Very friendly and respectful of needs." --Bozeman Patient

View more testimonials from Excel PT clients »