Physical Therapist: Explore Health Care Careers

Physical Therapist

Anyone considering a career in healthcare should look into physical therapy jobs. Men and women working in this field diagnose and treat individuals with a range of health issues. These issues interfere with their mobility and make it difficult for them to carry out everyday tasks. With the help of the physical therapist, the individual can improve their mobility while relieving their pain. In most cases, this can be accomplished without surgery or prescription medications.

In certain situations, a physical therapist will be called in before the patient loses mobility. The therapist helps the individual create a plan that will allow them to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. These sessions may take place in a variety of settings, depending on the needs of the client. The therapist might also take part in developing healthcare policies that better meet the needs of their clients.

Educational Requirements

The first step in becoming a physical therapist is going to school for physical therapy. A person must pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree before working in this field. The degree must be obtained through an accredited program.

Upon completion of the program, the person must then take a licensure exam in the state where they wish to practice. The DPT program typically takes three years to finish. The therapist may then continue their education by taking part in a residency and possibly a fellowship.

Diagnosing the Issue

Physical therapists meet with clients initially to learn more about their medical history and discuss any problems they are experiencing. They carry out a series of tests to get a better understanding of the patient’s mobility. If the therapist determines another medical professional can best help the patient, they refer the patient to the appropriate person.

When physical therapy can address the problems the patient is experiencing, the therapist develops a treatment plan before executing it. This plan may include hands-on therapy, exercises, or machine work to help the patient. As the treatment plan moves forward, the therapist regularly evaluates the patient’s progress to see if changes need to be made and where.

Patient education is an important part of any treatment plan. The therapist shows the patient how they can continue making progress at home and may recommend lifestyle changes of benefit to the patient. In addition, they help develop a discharge plan for when the patient’s treatment protocol is complete.

Working Environment

Physical therapists work in many settings. A therapist might visit a patient in their home or work in a hospital. Private practices often employ therapists, as do home health agencies and outpatient clinics. Today, many sports teams and gyms have physical therapists on staff, and a therapist might secure employment in a nursing home or corporate setting.

The therapist will spend most of the day on their feet. They must be in good physical shape, as they will need to lift and move patients on occasion. Care must be taken to ensure the therapist doesn’t suffer an injury when carrying out their duties.

Job Outlook

Physical therapists remain in high demand today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment will continue to grow significantly faster than average for all occupations. A person serving as a physical therapist can expect to make $97,720, as this was the median income for the profession in 2022.

Working as a physical therapist is very rewarding. Men and women find they love helping others improve their quality of life. When the therapist leaves work, they know they have made someone’s life a little bit better. There are few feelings as good as that.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.