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APTA seeks to limit the use of abbreviated designations after a physical therapist's or physical therapist assistant's name to decrease consumer confusion.

Order of Acceptable Designations by Category

APTA supports five categories of abbreviated designations, listed in the order below and including these acceptable designations within each category. Note that only the first designation is mandatory — all others are optional, but if you choose to include them they must be according to the requirements of the APTA position. (If someone lacks a designation in any category or chooses not to include it as an abbreviation after their name, the next designation, if any, moves up a space. The order remains the same.)

FIRST designation: PT or PTA

PT, PTA

SECOND designation: Highest earned physical therapy-related degree

DPT, MPT, MSPT, BSPT

THIRD designation: Other regulatory designation(s) issued by government entities

APN, APNR, APRN, ATC, CNS, CPA, CRNP, CS, LAc, LAC, LCMT, LCSW, LDM, LM, LMSW, LMT, LPC, LCPC, LVT, MT, NP, OT, OTR/L, RN, SLP (and others as identified)

FOURTH designation: Other earned academic degree(s)

AuD, BA, BS, CScD, DC, DDS, DEd, DHS, DMD, DMT, DNP, DO, DPM, DSc, DScPT, DVM, EdD, JD, LLM, MA, MBA, MD, MEd, MHS, MLS, MOTR, MPA, MPH, MPP, MS, MSHA, ND, NMD, PharmD, PhD, PsyD, SLPD, SLPM (and others as identified)

Optional FIFTH designation: FAPTA

FAPTA

Guidance for Practical Use

APTA is complying with the requirements of the House of Delegates position in its association-generated materials wherever possible and offers guidance below for components and individual members to comply.

ABPTS Clinical Certifications

In recognition of the accomplishment of specialty certification by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and the need to increase public awareness of its value, APTA spells out these certifications whenever there is room to accommodate them (see samples).

Per the restrictions of the House policy, APTA no longer recognizes or uses these former ABPTS abbreviations. Initials are included here to help you identify the corresponding certifications if they appear outside of APTA materials.

  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: CCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Clinical Electrophysiologic Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: ECS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: GCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: NCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Oncologic Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: none0
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: OCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: PCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: SCS)
  • Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Women's Health Physical Therapy
    (former abbreviation: WCS)

*These also can be worded as "Board-Certified [Cardiovascular and Pulmonary] Clinical Specialist"

Non-APTA Certifications and Honors

APTA spells out non-APTA certifications and honors in its materials and publications only when they are contextually relevant and space is available. The House position does not provide for abbreviating non-APTA certifications and honors after someone's name. (Members can spell out such certifications within their My APTA profile by opening Profile in the top right corner, clicking Name Information, and filling in the Non-APTA Certifications field at the bottom.)

Examples

Brief Listing

When space is too limited to spell out any designations, such as some badges and certificates:

Compliant with House policy

 Noncompliant with House policy  

Seth Coney, PT, DPT

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, OCS

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, DSc

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT

Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT

Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, CHT, FAPTA

Denna Dilullo, PT, ATC/L, MS

Denna Dilullo, PT, ATC/L, MS, SCS, CSCS

Tamica Dallas, PT, DPT

Tamica Dallas, DPT

Longer Listing

When space is available, such as business cards, letter and email signatures, rosters, and slide decks:

Compliant with House policy

Noncompliant with House policy

Seth Coney, PT, DPT
Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, OCS

Seth Coney, PT, DPT
Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, FAPTA
Certified Hand Therapist
OR
Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT
Certified Hand Therapist
Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association

Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, CHT, FAPTA

Denna Dilullo, PT, ATC/L, MS
Board-Certified Sports Clinical Specialist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Denna Dilullo, PT, ATC/L, MS, SCS, CSCS

Tamica Dallas, PT, DPT

Tamica Dallas, DPT

Textual Use

Within a narrative, such as an article or press release: For ABPTS certifications, always spell out; for non-ABPTS certifications, spell out when the certification is contextually relevant to the text:

Compliant with House policy

Noncompliant with House policy

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, a board-certified specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy, is an APTA member.

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, OCS, is an APTA member.

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, DSc, focuses on patients with musculoskeletal conditions. He is a board-certified specialist in orthopaedic physical therapy.

Seth Coney, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, focuses on patients with musculoskeletal conditions.
OR
Seth Coney, PT, DPT, DSc, focuses on patients with musculoskeletal conditions. [Spelled-out ABPTS specialty is missing.]

As an engaged member of APTA's PTeam, Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, attended APTA's Federal Advocacy Forum.

A certified hand therapist, Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, treats many patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

As an engaged member of APTA's PTeam, Danyelle Newkirk, PT, DPT, CHT, attended APTA's Federal Advocacy Forum.

Denna Dilillo, PT, ATC/L, MS, attended APTA’s Federal Advocacy Forum. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy.

Denna Dilillo, PT, ATC/L, MS, SCS, attended APTA’s Federal Advocacy Forum.
OR
Denna Dilillo, PT, ATC/L, MS, attended APTA’s Federal Advocacy Forum. [Spelled-out ABPTS specialty is missing.]

Tamica Dallas, PT, DPT, serves as clinic director.

Tamica Dallas, DPT, serves as clinic director.

Implementation of Principle II of HOD P06-14-08-18

APTA was charged to "incorporate this preferred nomenclature into all relevant documents, publications, and communications as appropriate, and in a manner that is efficient." To achieve full compliance, including allowing members to fully self-comply, APTA has as of June 12, 2018, upgraded its member database, which generates each member profile. To update your online profile in compliance with the House of Delegates position, login to APTA.org, select Profile at the top right, and click Name information.

Questions

Those with questions about how to comply with HOD P06-14-08-18 should contact an APTA member services representative.

Feedback

The 2016 revision to HOD P06-14-08-18, moved as RC 4-16, was developed and adopted by APTA’s House of Delegates, comprising hundreds of APTA members from across the country. If you have concerns about the requirements of the House position, contact your state's chief delegate. Any amendments to HOD P06-14-08-18 must come from the House of Delegates.