training-certification to do this work?

Many PTs ask if they need to undergo special “certification” training to do this work.  NO.  There are plenty of providers out there who will sell you a Certification course; I used to be one of them.  But it is not necessary to be “officially” certified.  There is no “official” certification as a legal entity.  Certification is a private label you purchase from a cont ed provider.  Some certifications require 30 days of training; yet, other is just a weekend course.  See the problem?

Your PT-OT education, more than any other profession, gives you the knowledge base to excel at this MSD prevention.  If someone asks for “certification” show them your PT license!

Of course it is critical to build your skills and continually seek good cont ed on this. Strive to be, and stay, the best.  But you will quickly realize the underlying knowledge base that makes you good at this… you already possess as a PT!   MSD Prevention Consulting uses the most basic of entry level PT musculoskeletal knowledge base.  You already know the effects of forward head posture, prolonged sitting, lumbar flexion, pathomechanics of HNP and DDD.  You already know how a patient develops neck strain, rotator cuff injury, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, CTS… right?

I state this boldly… Nobody has more professional education on workplace MSD pathomechanics than the PT-OT… NOBODY.   Most MDs will agree.  Of course there are inadequate PTs out there, just like any other profession.  But as a group PT-OTs are the MOST competent and qualified.  Even compared with engineers trained in ergonomics?  Ergonomics design engineers are trained in the engineering side of this, working on the assumption that MSD comes from ergonomically improper job design, and that correcting job design makes MSD go away.  Not quite.  Ergonomics is a PART of the MSD picture, but certainly not the whole picture.  Most MSD comes from worker behavior, not poor job design.  The engineering based ergonomists generally do not have the knowledge base to address MSD disease processes outside of ergonomics… such as posture habits, flexibility deficits, core instabilities, fitness-for-work deficits, body mechanics skills.  And most design engineers do not have a fraction of the medical-orthopedic training of the PT-OT.

We are simply re-packaging what we do with individual patients every day, into a delivery to groups of workers at the workplace… education and self-care tactics.

SO… how and where do you build your specialty skills?  There are plenty of cont ed providers, but beware of those demanding a long costly drawn-out path to their ceetification.  They offer great information, but keep it in perspective.  What you will come to realize is you already have the knowledge base, but need to focus it and develop a structure for using it.  What you are actually building is CONFIDENCE, more than competence.  And a delivery structure-protocol to follow.

The most simple, least costly, most targeted cont ed starting point resources…

  1.  Educata hosts my self-study online course as a basic but very practical starting point with info that you can immediately put to work.Lauren’s Educata course “MSD Prevention & Ergonomics” at
  2. APTA Orthopaedic Section has a great self-study program “The Injured Worker” with several components to help you build a comprehensive work injury consulting practice.  I authored the component on MSD Prevention & Ergonomics.  No, I don’t get a royalty for referring you.  This course covers roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for the physical therapist in providing services to industry. Wellness, injury prevention, post-employment screening, functional capacity evaluation, and legal considerations are covered by experienced authors working in here..

    course “The Injured Worker”

  3. Send me an email at and I will send you a folder of lots of materials I use as handouts to PT-OTs studying this topic.  And, of course, explore all the blog posts on this site.
  4. Those who obtain a copy of my Workplace Consulting Practice package will find it to be a comprehensive self-study process that guides the PT-OT to build their own Consulting Practice by replicating what I have been doing with mine.
  5. See blog page “Resources” for more


Author: laurendpt

Dr. Physical Therapy, Ortho Specialist, Ergonomics Specialist, founder of IMPACC and the No-Lost-Time MSD Prevention & Ergonomics & Aging Worker programs. Home in Dixfield, ME

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