A doctor is considered one of the most prestigious and respected careers, whether the person is a medical or dental doctor or a doctor in one of the sciences. There are a number of different abbreviations after a doctor's name, and while it's unlikely that you will know them all, some are better known than others. This guide to the letters that come after a doctor's title will help you determine whether you're getting the care and information that you seek from the appropriate professional.
Abbreviations After a Doctor's Name
The abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms that come after a doctor's name can signify a number of different things. They might indicate the type of schooling or training they received so that they'd be qualified to specialize in a certain field. They can indicate professional associations to which they belong. They can also point out other kinds of education or designations that they have earned over the course of their career.
Medical and Dental Degrees
There are many types of abbreviations that follow a physician's name. It's worth noting that while the Dr abbreviations listed here do not have periods after each letter or set of letters, doing so can be perfectly acceptable under certain circumstances. For instance, there isn't a real difference between writing MD or M.D. when referring to a doctor of medicine. However, it wouldn't make sense to write G.Y.N. for a gynecologist abbreviation.
- AuD - Doctor of Audiology
- DC - Doctor of Chiropractic
- DDS - Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Science
- DMD - Doctor of Dental Medicine, Doctor of Medical Dentistry
- DO or OD - Doctor of Optometry, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
- DPM - Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
- DPT - Doctor of Physical Therapy
- DScPT - Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy
- DSN - Doctor of Science in Nursing
- DVM - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
- ENT - Ear, nose and throat specialist
- GP - General Practitioner
- GYN - Gynecologist
- MD - Doctor of Medicine
- MS - Master of Surgery
- OB/GYN - Obstetrician and Gynecologist
- PharmD - Doctor of Pharmacy
In addition to degrees, certificates and other certifications that doctors may receive, they may also have to belong to certain professional or medical associations in order to do their job. A doctor with a fellowship means they are dedicated to furthering their education, research or overall contribution to medicine.
- FAAEM - Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine
- FAAFP - Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians
- FACS - Fellow of the American Medical Association
- FFR - Fellow Faculty of Radiologists
- FRCPSC - Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
- MRCOG - Member Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- MRCS - Member Royal College of Surgeons
Other Degrees and Associations
While most people tend to associate doctors with the medical community, there are many other types of doctors and degrees that aren't necessarily related to medicine at all.
- DD - Doctor of Divinity
- DEd or EdD - Doctor of Education
- DPA - Doctor of Public Administration
- DPH - Doctor of Public Health
- DPhil or PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
- FFPHM - Fellow Faculty of Public Health Medicine
- JD - Doctor of Jurisprudence
- PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
- PSYCH - Psychologist
- ScD - Doctor of Science
- SScD - Doctor of Social Science
- ThD - Doctor of Theology
Just What the Doctor Ordered
As shown in the abbreviations list above, the letters after a doctor's name can refer to the person's degree or to a related professional organization in which the person has been accepted as a fellow or member, allowing them to practice their profession.
If you need some help to decipher the medical shorthand in your doctor's notes, read our Medical Abbreviations article.