Thursday, April 15, 2010

DPT, MPT, OCS, CSCS...What does it all mean?

It's pretty obvious that the letters behind your therapist's name indicate the type of degree and certifications they have. But what do they all mean? To cure your curiosity (and brag a bit about our therapists) I will enlighten you.

All of our therapists have a MPT or DPT from one of the 200 accredited Physical Therapy schools nationwide. MPT refers to a Masters of Physical Therapy. This degree was more common for PTs who got their degree 10+ years ago. Because the profession has progressed significantly over the past 10 years, the competition between grad schools and the knowledge of Physical Therapy has become more advanced. Therefore most PT schools offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) alone now.
Almost all of our Physical Therapists have received their Doctor of Physical Therapy degree placing them in the top 8.1% of physical therapists nationwide. Those with MPTs have been in their professional careers as physical therapists for 10+ years and are in the process of their transitional DPT program in order to be on top of the latest PT findings. In summary, both degrees signify the completion of the current requirements needed to enter the profession and also represent the completion of a comprehensive program and the fulfillment of the high standards of clinical performance in professional preparation.

Now that we have that our of the way, what is an OCS? OCS stands for Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. This is a certification given by the American Physical Therapy Board of Specialities and is achieved only by completing a list of rigorous requirements. To obtain this degree a therapist must have 2000 hours of clinical practice in Orthopedic physical therapy. Once this is complete they can apply to take the nearly 8 hour exam covering all aspects of orthopedic diagnoses, treatment and physical therapy patient care. Only the top 2% of physical therapists in the country have this certification and four of our seven therapists belong in that top percentile. This is more than any physical therapy clinic in the tri-county area.

Finally, the CSCS indicates that the therapist or personal trainer, in this case, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. To earn this certification, one must have a bachelors degree from an accredited institution or be a college senior enrolled in an accredited institution. They must also be CPR and AED certified. Once these prerequisites are met, the individual may take the 4 hour exam which consists of a scientific foundations portion and a practical/applied portion all dealing with exercise science, program design and nutrition. Physical Therapists often get this certification because of their passion for exercise science and optimal body functioning.

In addition to all of these degrees and certifications, our therapists are actively involved in continuing education immediately after receiving their degree. They take multiple courses each year with their colleagues in order to stay on top of the newest findings in their field.

As you can see, our therapists have spent quite a bit of time in school and embrace the opportunity to learn more every day. Their quest for more knowledge is fueled by the reward for their efforts. These rewards are evidenced by more successful outcomes for their patients in shorter periods of time.

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