Are you interested in a career in physical therapy? It can be a rewarding. But before you make the decision, it’s important to get the facts, including employment prospects, education requirements and what a day in the life of a physical therapist is really like.

Is There a Demand for Physical Therapists?

Before you choose any profession, it’s helpful to know if your skills will be in demand when you’ve completed your education. The prospects are good for a career in physical therapy. Below are some facts from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics:

  • As the U.S. population ages, the demand for physical therapists will increase.
  • From 2014 to 2024, a 34 percent increase is projected.
  • The expected growth for employment of physical therapists is faster than any other profession.

What’s a Typical Day Like?

Physical therapists provide hands-on patient care. Each patient’s needs are unique, and you will be responsible for accurate diagnosis and treatment. Some of your daily tasks will include the following:

  • Review patient medical history and history of illness or injury that makes therapy necessary.
  • Perform tests and measures to identify movement dysfunction.
  • Recommend treatment options and implement a treatment plan to restore or maintain optimal mobility.
  • Perform physical manipulations to assist in patient recovery, and assist patients with exercises.
  • Educate patients about their conditions and exercises or lifestyle adjustments that can improve it.
  • Keep track of each patient’s progress, and modify treatment plans as needed.
  • Reassess patients' needs by repeating tests and measures.

What Education Do You Need?

There are minimum education requirements for a career in physical therapy. You can also further your education to expand your employment opportunities.

  • Enroll in an accredited program – It must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree - New students are required to obtain the DPT. Master’s degrees are no longer available to new students in the U.S.
  • State licensure exam – You must pass a state exam and obtain your license before you practice physical therapy.
  • Clinical residency and clinical fellowships – You can choose to further your education with a residency or fellowship.
  • Board certification – You can pursue board certification through the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Areas in which you can specialize are listed below:
    • Cardiovascular and pulmonary
    • Clinical electrophysiology
    • Geriatrics
    • Neurology
    • Orthopedics
    • Pediatrics
    • Sports physical therapy
    • Women's health

Where Can You Work as a Physical Therapist?

After you receive your license to practice physical therapy, you’ll be able to work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Emergency rooms
  • Home-health agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Private practices
  • Schools

Interested in Physical Therapy Opportunities?

If you’re already a physical therapist, and you want to expand your career, explore opportunities with WSi. Our available positions offer a variety of work schedules and work settings. Apply online, or contact us for more information.