Physical Therapist Education and Training

Peer Reviewed

360 TrainingA physical therapist is a licensed professional with a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapy program who has successfully completed a state licensure examination.

Besides licensed physical therapists, there are other types of PTs. The initials listed below help to explain the most common credentials in the physical therapy profession.

  • DPT is a PT with a doctoral degree in physical therapy.
  • MPT or MSPT is a PT with a master's degree in physical therapy.
  • PTA is a Physical Therapy Assistant. A PTA has an associate degree and meets state requirements.
  • FAPTA is a Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association. These PTs often have advanced degrees and/or have made advances in the profession.
  • Cert. MDT or Dip. MDT is a credential McKenzie Method® practitioner.

Some physical therapists pursue advanced training and certification in areas such as cardiovascular and pulmonary, geriatric, neurologic, orthopaedic, pediatric, and sports.

Updated on: 12/22/15
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How to Select a Physical Therapist
Graeme Keys, PT, Dip MDT
This article was reviewed by Graeme Keys, PT, Dip MDT, COMT.
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How to Select a Physical Therapist

Your primary care doctor will most likely refer you to a physical therapist if you need one. However, if you are selecting a physical therapist on your own, there are things you should take into consideration to ensure that you make the best decision.
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