The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree is a post-baccalaureate 3-4 year degree which may be conferred upon successful completion of a professional doctoral program. A Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree is also offered for those who already hold a professional Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree. The transition from the Master of Physical Therapy degree to a professional doctorate was made to better prepare physical therapists for practice in an evolving health care environment. The physical therapist’s expertise in movement and movement dysfunction is unique in health care. The educational needs of physical therapists have increased as their societal and health care roles and responsibilities have grown to that of an independent practitioner.
Orthopaedic Certified Specialists (OCS). The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) specialist certification program formally recognizes physical therapists that have attained advanced clinical knowledge, competence, and skills in a specific area of practice. Specialization is the process by which a physical therapist builds on a broad base of professional education and practice to develop a greater depth of knowledge and skills related to a particular area of practice. Clinical specialization in physical therapy responds to a specific area of patient need and requires knowledge, skill, and experience exceeding that of the physical therapist at entry to the profession and unique to the specialized area of practice. Certification is achieved through successful completion of a standardized examination process. As of June 2014, ABPTS has certified 9,505 orthopaedic specialists. Of these 417 are located in New York State.
Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT) is an integrated and artistic intervention which couples mechanical treatment of the joints, soft tissues, visceral and neurovascular systems with manual neuromuscular facilitation to enhance optimum motor control and human function. With more than 204,000 licensed Physical Therapists in the United States, less than 300 have received the distinction of being a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT).