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
- 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
- Nursing homes
- Outpatient clinics
- Private practices
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.