Do you want a career in healthcare that is one of the fastest growing specializations in the field? Are you looking for a position that involves working with people? Do you want a high paying, rewarding job? Then you should pursue a career in physical therapy. Here's why.
What is Physical Therapy?
According to the American Association of Physical Therapists, "Physical therapists examine patients and develop a plan of care that promotes movement, reduction in pain, restoration of function, and prevents disability." A physical therapist helps patients recover from their injuries and gain independence.
Education and Certification
To become a certified physical therapist, you must graduate from an accredited college or university with a graduate degree. It takes three years to earn a doctorate degree in physical therapy. The Commission has a listing of approved schools. You must also pass a state-administered national exam. Additional licensure may be required depending on the state where you live. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapists administers licensure.
It’s important for a physical therapist to gain a good understanding of how to heal a body. Many of your clients will expect a physical therapist to know how to heal muscles and joints, but it is also important to understand the nutrients needed for clients to heal. Many physical therapists recommend products like a thrive patch to assist clients with the energy they need to start the process.
Physical therapists may work in a variety of specializations including cystic fibrosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, rotator cuff tear, cerebral palsy, and stroke. They also treat women's healthcare, especially pelvic floor conditions. Physical therapists help baby boomers deal with life-threatening slips and falls.
Physical therapists are needed for sports injuries. According to Stanford Children's Health, "In the U.S., about 30 million children and teens participate in some form of organized sports...3.5 million injuries each year." Contact sports as well as tennis, bicycling and skating can result in injury.
Requirements for a Physical Therapy Position
Physical therapist must be in excellent physical condition. They will be required to do heavy lifting. The "hands on" job entails massaging a muscle, testing muscle function, and assessing coordination and balance. They evaluate the patient's quality of life and ability to handle daily living activities.
Electrotherapy, ice and hot packs, infrared lamps, hydrotherapy tanks, whirlpool baths, and ultrasound are some of the methods and equipment they use. They must have Basic Life Support certification (with AED).
Physical therapists need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to work with other healthcare professionals, patients, and family members. They must be able to motivate patients to stretch their abilities and strive for greater levels of achievement. They are critical and strategic thinkers who demonstrate ethics.
Statistics for Physical Therapists - Consider these figures.
- Most PTs work in hospitals. However, over 3/4 of them work in other settings. PTs may work in federal facilities like Veterans Health Administration or Department of Defense, outpatient clinics, wellness centers, schools, and occupational or workplace facilities. They may also work in research.
- In 2017, there were 242 accredited PT programs with 32,417 students enrolled.
- On August 1, 2018, Monster listed 27,074 jobs for PTs and PT assistants.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that home healthcare is the top paying industry ($96,070 annual mean wage.)
- California has the highest rate of employment with 20,450 jobs. Texas had 15,930 jobs and New York had 15,750 positions.
- In 2017, the average salary was $86,850.
Physical therapists have one of the "The Ten Happiest Jobs." CNN Money and the Wall Street Journal have also cited physical therapy as a career that satisfies practitioners personally and professionally. Do your research and network with other PTs. Consider your unique situation and align it with your goals. A career as a PT can be the best choice for you.