Physical Therapist

Aubrey Bennett - Hour 6

Description of Occupation

Physical Therapists help the hurt or ill. They improve their patients' movement and work to manage their pain. PTs have special training in therapeutic exercise, hydrotherapy, and electrotherapy. They provide care to individuals of all ages.

Certifications Necessary to Practice

Every state requires physical therapists to be licensed. License requirements vary by state but every state requires a person to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Continuing Education is normally required for PTs to keep their license.

Daily Activities

  • Review patients' history, referrals, and any notes from doctors
  • Diagnose patients' functions and movements
  • Make a plan specific to the patient and their goals
  • Use exercises, stretches, hands on therapy, and equipment to help their patients increase mobility and prevent further injuries
  • Evaluate patient's progress and modify plan accordingly

Education Requirements

To be accepted into a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program, you must earn a bachelor's degree and meet other requirements that are held by a school that has a DPT program (varies from school to school). Most DPT programs are 3 years long. Some schools offer a pre-admission to the Doctorate program to incoming freshman that qualify. To apply for a DPT program, you will most likely have to apply through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service.

Average Income

The median annual wage in May 2014 for physical therapists was $82,390.

Necessary Skills to be a Successful PT

  • Think Critically - use logic and reasoning
  • Speaking/Active Listening - interaction/communication with patients
  • Monitoring - analyze patients' progress
  • Judgement/Decision Making - choosing patients' rehabilitation plan
  • Time Management - manage your time with each patient
  • Active Learning - continuing education
  • Instructing - telling patients what you want them to do

Practice Setting

Much of a physical therapist's time is spent on their feet and with their patients. Most PTs work full time and work normal business hours. PTs can work in clinics, hospitals, home healthcare services, nursing/residential care facilities, and physicians offices.

Job Outlook

Employment is expected to grow 34% from 2014-2024 for physical therapists. This is a higher job outlook compared to many other occupations. This is due to the aging of the baby boomers. In their old age they are needing more medical attention.

A Day in the Life of a Physical Therapist...

Physical Therapist - A Day in the Life


Occupational Outlook Handbook - Physical Therapists

ONET Summary Report for Physical Therapists

A Day in the Life of a Physical Therapist - Video

Common Misconceptions About Physical Therapy - Photo