Ultimate Guide to Physical Therapy Certifications

Dec 23, 2015
2 min read
48.1k views

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, PT, DPT

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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