Physical Therapist

Michelle Bogdan Period 7/8

Career Detailes

  • Description: Physical therapists evaluate, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitation programs that help people improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or an injury.
  • Working Schedule: Most physical therapists work 40 hours per week; some may work nights and weekends. Part-time work is also available in this field.
  • Working Location: Most physical therapists work in clinics, hospitals and private offices.
  • Salary/Wage Potential: The BLS reports the median annual wage for a physical therapist was $78,270 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent of workers in the category made approximately $110,670, while the bottom 10 percent made approximately $54,710.

Education Needed

  • To become a physical therapist, you must enroll in an academic program approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) and earn either a masters or doctoral degree in physical therapy.
  • Typical courses include: biology, physiology, neuroscience, behavioral science, and others.

Skills Required

  • Professional skills and values such as accountability, integrity, compassion, responsibility
  • Management skills
  • Goal-setting skills to set a plan of care in action
  • Communication skills for patient/family
  • First-Aid, CPR, safety, in case of emergency
  • Assess and review all systems of the body to determine the need for physical therapy.
  • Perform tests for range of motion, neuromotor skills, and reflexes.
  • Clinical reasoning and decision-making to determine a diagnosis (what's wrong with the patient) and prognosis (will the patient improve, how much, and when)
  • Use of orthotics, prosthetics, walkers, wheelchairs, and other supportive devices

Job Outlook/Growth

  • By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects physical therapist employment growth of 39 percent, with the field adding 77,400 more jobs.

Advancement Opportunities & Related Jobs

  • Advancement Opportunities: Become a physical therapist doctor my receiving a doctorate degree, Physical therapists can own their own clinic, Physical therapists can become managers of a physical therapy center.
  • Related Jobs: physical therapist assistant, physical trainer, occupational therapist,