Physical Therapists

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

Median Annual Wage: $82,390

Education: Master's degree (39%); Doctoral degree (37%); Bachelor's degree (8%)

Projected Growth: Much faster than average (22% or higher)

Related Job Titles: Physical Therapist (PT); Home Care Physical Therapist; Outpatient Physical Therapist; Pediatric Physical Therapist; Registered Physical Therapist (RPT); Rehabilitation Services Director; Chief Physical Therapist; Per Diem Physical Therapist; Physical Therapist, Director of Rehabilitation; Staff Physical Therapist (Staff PT)

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Physical Therapists.

More Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Careers

  • 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.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
  • 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.
  • Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.
  • Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
  • 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.
  • Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
  • Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
  • 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.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Physical Therapists.

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Physical Therapists.

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