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Physical Therapist Career Working Environment and Career Details

Becoming a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist treats patients who are suffering from physical injuries or disabilities by teaching them various therapeutic exercises that strengthen muscles, improve mobility, and relieve pain. In becoming a physical therapist you will have a range of opportunities from working with patients who need to learn to walk again to advising an athlete on the best way to improve their physical performance on the playing field. Simply click on the schools of your choice, which are listed bellow, to receive complimentary information about becoming a physical therapist.

Physical Therapist Career Facts

- Employment is expected to grow faster than the national average 
- Graduating from an accredited program allows students to pass the physical therapy licensing test.

Physical Therapist Career Description

Physical therapists deal with debilitating injuries which impair a patient's ability to function in the world. Such work may help clients improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent any further injury or disease. Generally speaking, these therapists try to promote fitness and health as best they can. They deal with medical histories to better analyze the current problem and restore function to their client as best as possible. Treatment may include certain exercises or training to help them go about their daily lives as best they can.

Programs to Consider:

Physical Therapist Career Details

By using the patient's medical history, occupational therapists can test their patient's strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. This is to determine the patient's ability and how much work needs to be done to bring them up to par. They also determine the amount of work the client will be able to handle and the nature of the work. After that, therapists develop a treatment plan and implement a strategy to reach their goal. The therapist may have assistants who will also help and work with the patient to help achieve a set goal. An example of treatment would be exercising to improve mobility for a patient. Patients will be encouraged to use and further develop their muscles which may help them improve their ability to function at work or at home. In terms of relieving pain, these therapists may use alleviating methods such as electrical stimulation, hot packs, cold compresses and even ultra sound. Some are trained to give deep tissue massages, which also helps to relieve pain. Patients will also be instructed in how to use adaptive devices such as wheel chairs, and crutches to further their functioning ability. Physical Therapists also work with other professionals in the field such as dentists, nurses, and social workers. Hence they are not alone in their work, and will confer with such professionals to better know and treat their clients.

Physical Therapist Career Specializations

Physical Therapists treat a wide array of problems and ailments. With this in mind there are a variety of different fields to specialize in. Such fields of specialization include pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.

Physical Therapist Career Working Environment

Physical therapists may find themselves in a variety of settings. Some practice in hospitals, clinics and private offices, while others go to hospital rooms, homes, and schools. The average work week is about forty hours. Such a week may include nights and weekends. The job can also be physically demanding as they might have to move heavy equipment around and remain active throughout the day.

Physical Therapist Career Required Training

All therapists must pass a test to become licensed before they are allowed to practice. This of course is after they graduate from an accredited therapist education program. Such tests are a testimony to the prestige involved and the need for qualified workers in this field. The need to take and pass the test is in accordance with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

Physical Therapist Career Coursework

Programs in Physical Training start out with basic science courses including biology, chemistry, and physics. After these core courses are met, they then introduce specialized courses in biomechanics, neuroanatomy, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques and therapeutic procedures. Such class and laboratory instruction can be quite demanding and extensive. Beyond classroom teaching, students are required to receive supervised clinical experience. Such training will give the student real life applications to the job and allow them to get hands-on experience in their future field of work. Courses that prepare aspiring students for admission into a program include biology, chemistry, and physics. Any volunteer work in a physical therapy clinic also looks exceptional on a resume. Students can expect to develop strong interpersonal skills, which help to successfully educate patients about the correct course of action with respect to their therapy. Students should also have a strong desire to help their future patients. Therapists are expected to continue their education and take courses that will build upon their considerable knowledge even after they've worked for years. Many states actually require this in order for them to maintain their license.

Physical Therapist Career Future Job Outlook

This field of work, as mentioned before, is expected to grow quite rapidly in the coming years. The number of individuals with disabilities and limited functions should ensure this. The baby boomer generation will continually demand educated therapists to give them cardiac and physical rehabilitation. This rapidly growing population is susceptible to chronic and debilitating conditions and since medical and technological developments enable a higher percentage of people to survive traumatic injuries and accidents, there will be an additional need for ongoing rehabilitative care.

Physical Therapist Salary

Median salary for 2011- $79,830

Career Info Healthcare