Overview

It has been predicted that by 2020 we will see a 39% increase in the demand for physical therapists, so this is a very good time to start looking at this career option. There are lots of options for PTs, too, from working in GP surgeries and hospitals, to working in a residential home or self-employment, so the possibilities really are endless.

A Physical Therapist treats individuals who require rehabilitation. This is a role for someone who has a genuine desire to help others, as it is all about improving quality of life through increased mobility and reduced pain. Your day to day tasks will include designing individual treatment plans for struggling patients, working with them to identify the desired results and taking responsibility for overseeing the plans until those results are achieved.

This is a highly-qualified position and you will require a Bachelor’s Degree (biology, chemistry or physics are good choices) and a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree, followed by registration exams so you must be prepared to spend at least 6 years at your studies. All PTs in the US are required to be fully licensed and to maintain that license through ongoing education and workshops.

Once qualified, you will work alongside Doctors and Surgeons and have management responsibility for a team of PT assistants and aides. You will need excellent communication skills, compassion, dexterity, and physical stamina. The rewards are great, though; you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a tangible difference to your patients’ lives and you will also attract a very competitive salary. In 2015 the average earnings for a PT in the U.S. was $84 000.

Pay

Physical Therapist avg pay

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Forecast

-Types of Physical Therapists

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Useful Physical Therapist Points

Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.
Provide information to the patient about the proposed intervention, its material risks and expected benefits, and any reasonable alternatives.
Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
Refer clients to community resources or services.
Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.
Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
Direct group rehabilitation activities.
Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices.
Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1123.00

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