What do those letters mean after your name?


I always say that Physical Therapist A is not equal to Physical Therapist B is not equal to Physical Therapist C. Physical therapists are not a homogenous group. The level of post-graduate education is an important differentiator of the physical therapist population. 

All licensed physical therapists are required to complete physical therapy school and pass their Boards examination. That has not changed throughout the years. However, the type of degree has changed throughout the years. Physical therapists graduating before approximately 2000 graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy. Beginning the mid 1990’s physical therapy programs began transitioning to a Master’s level degree. Beginning in the 21st century PT schools then began to evolve into a Doctorate level degree program. Regardless if a physical therapist has PT, MPT, or DPT after their name, the level of education is very similar.

The differentiator is what the physical therapist does with their education after graduating from PT school. Just like a physician who goes through residency and fellowship training, physical therapists beginning in the late 1980’s began having this opportunity. 

Residency and Fellowship training is what the attorney should require from their physical therapist serving as an expert witness. Specifically with standard of care and the musculoskeletal system, you should demand your expert have completed a post-graduate residency program at a minimum, preferably a fellowship program, in orthopedics or orthopedic manual physical therapy. 

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recognizes a Fellowship program in Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy as the highest level of training of a physical therapist practicing as an orthopedic manual physical therapist. All attorneys should demand this from their PT expert witness in musculoskeletal cases. 

If you want a physical therapist with the highest recognized level of education by the APTA, PT Expert Witness Edge is here for you. Reach out to us at 636-578-3649 for a conversation regarding your specific case.