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Alphabet soup

Last Modified: 12/09/2018

Have you ever seen a grouping of letters after a clinical professional’s name and wondered what they meant? There are so many degrees and certifications, it can be tough to keep it all straight! We’ve pulled together this handy reference of just some of the more common credentials, to help you crack the code.

AE-C   –   Certified Asthma Educator

ATC   –   Certified Athletic Trainer

BSN   –   Bachelor of Science in Nursing

CDE   –   Certified Diabetes Educator 

CFNP   –   Certified Family Nurse Practitioner 

CGC   –   Certified Genetic Counselor

CLE   –   Certified Lactation Educator

CMA   –   Certified Medical Assistant  

CNM   –   Certified Nurse Midwife

CNS   –   Clinical Nurse Specialist

DO   –   Doctor of Osteopathy

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine. Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, DOs are trained to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well.

DPM   –   Doctor of Podiatric Medicine

DPT   –   Doctor of Physical Therapy

FNP   –   Family Nurse Practitioner

LCSW   –   Licensed Clinical Social Worker

MA   –   Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform basic clinical and administrative functions such as height and weight measurements and blood pressure checks. They are distinct from physician assistants, who examine, diagnose and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.

MD   –   Medical Doctor

A Doctor of Medicine has obtained a bachelor's degree, attended four years of medical school, and completed a 3- to 7-year residency program after medical school. Doctors also have a state license to practice medicine.

MFT   –   Marriage and Family Therapist

NP   –   Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse (RN) who has obtained a master's degree in a nursing field and has obtained additional clinical training.

OCN   –   Oncology Certified Nurse

OTR   –   Registered Occupational Therapist

PA   –   Physician Assistant

A physician assistant is a licensed health professional who practices medicine under the supervision of a physician. A PA provides a broad range of health care services, including diagnosis and treatment of illness.

PT   –   Physical Therapist

PsyD   –   Doctorate of Psychology

RD   –   Registered Dietitian

RN   –   Registered Nurse

RCP   –   Respiratory Care Practitioner

RNC   –   Certified Registered Nurse


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