Physical Therapy – A Good Career Choice

Physical therapy jobs can be very rewarding. Physical therapists (PTs) help people who have some type of debilitating disease or injury be able to regain their body’s strength, function, and mobility. Some of the conditions that PTs help people recover from are arthritis, lower back pain, broken bones, head injuries, sports-related injuries, and cerebral palsy.

The job description for a physical therapist is quite extensive. Their duties are vital to many areas of medicine and are usually carried out in a hospital, orthopedic treatment center, or rehabilitation clinic. In order to provide the patient the physical therapy benefits that will help them recover from their illness or improve function, the PT must do an evaluation of the patient’s physical condition and then come up with a physical rehabilitation plan customized specifically to that patient’s needs. This plan must improve the patient’s strength, range of motion, flexibility, and motor control as well as decrease any pain and swelling that exists. Other aspects of a physical therapist’s duties include:

· Using therapeutic equipment like ultrasonic machines, whirlpool baths, and ultraviolet and infrared lamps

· Teaching the patients to use exercise equipment

· Instructing patients and their families in the use and care of equipment like wheelchairs, braces, crutches, canes, and prosthetic limbs

Physical therapy jobs require graduation from an accredited education program in physical therapy with a master’s or doctoral degree. To get into one of these programs the applicant must have a graduate degree that includes a number of prerequisite courses. In order to practice as a PT, graduates must take and pass both state and national licensing examinations. Some states require that PTs take further continuing education courses in order to keep their licenses.

Because there is such a wide range of conditions that physical therapists treat, the job outlook is always excellent. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapy jobs are expected to grow faster through the year 2018 than any other occupation that requires at least a graduate level degree.

Physical therapy jobs paid an average salary of $72,790 in 2008. The typical PT employed full-time can expect an annual salary between $55,000 and $80,000. There are considerations that factor in to determining salary. These considerations include things like the state or city in which the job is located, level of training and education, amount of experience, and if the PT has any certifications and specializations.