Physical Therapist Job Description (Duties, Skills, Salary, Education & More)

Physical Therapists help provide treatment to people who might be recovering from an injury or other morbidity diseases. This article will you learn about the duties, education, the available career options, salaries, and the skills that an individual needs in order to pursue a career in this field.

What Will be Your Job?

As a Physical Therapist you will have to work with patients recovering injuries related to sports or other accidents and those who might be suffering from neurological diseases that might have hindered the normal movements of certain body parts. You will be using exercises, massage and other techniques that will help the patient recover, get stronger, become more flexible and is able to perform day to day tasks on his/her own.

Your patients might be recovering from fractures, neck, back, spinal or sports injuries and other neurological disorders. As a therapist you will have to frame a treatment and exercise plan and help your patients adhere to it which will help them recover of the long term.

Educational Requirements.

In order to practice as a physical therapist in the United States, you need to have a doctor of physical therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and have to pass a state licensure exam.

Professional DPT programs are usually three years long. While the primary subjects/courses that you might study are biology/anatomy, cellular histology, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, pathology, behavioral sciences, communication, ethics/values, management sciences, finance, sociology, clinical reasoning, evidence-based practice, cardiovascular and pulmonary, endocrine, and metabolic, and musculoskeletal. Though the courses are not just limited to these subject areas.

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Where Will You Work?

After you have successfully acquired the required degree and qualified to become a physical therapist then below is a list of various industries and organizations where you can pursue your career as a physiotherapist.

  1. Hospitals- Physical Therapists are hired by hospitals as they help in treatment of patients in different departments. You will work with other medical experts and specialists to treat a variety of patients. The patients you treat can be undergoing orthopedic problems or morbidity issues related to obesity. You can also be treating people suffering from cardiology or nervous disorders. Patients can also be recovering from other injuries like multiple fractures or spinal injuries.
  2. Private Clinics- This work is pretty similar to your work in the hospitals just considering the fact that the number of patients you will have to deal with is less. Your can also set-up your private clinic if you wish to practice privately.
  3. Schools and Universities- Both these institutions hire physiotherapists either as a part of teaching staff where you serve as a teacher/professor and teach students about the field. Or you are hired as a physiotherapist to look after the rehabilitation process of students recovering from injuries.
  4. Rehabilitation Centers- As the name suggests you will need to work with patients who are recovering from injuries or other illnesses. You will work, both on the minds and bodies of the patients and help them giving a good life.
  5. Corporate houses– From time to time many corporate houses arrange for certain workshops on physiotherapy. You will work on the overall healthcare of their employees by promoting a fit and healthy regime and help them to stay both physically and mentally sound.
  6. Defence Establishments– As a physiotherapist you can also work with the defence forces and work on creating a daily exercise regime for them and also help in treatment and rehabilitation of those injured in the process or otherwise.  
  7. Professional teams– If you are really good at your job then you can be hired in professional- domestic and international teams to cater to the needs of the players injured or recovering from injuries. If you work hard enough and with enough luck you can even be hired by national teams of various sports in the country.  
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What Will be Your Duties?

Some of the duties that you will need to carry out as a physical therapist are listed below-

  1. Consulting patients and knowing about their physical conditions.
  2. Interpreting and assessing case reviews and test outcomes.
  3. Drafting recovery schedules including a combination of treatment methods.
  4. Developing patient-specific fitness-focused health care services.
  5. Giving the patients and the families an in-home therapy regime.
  6. Documenting patients’ histories.
  7. Collaborating with other specialists to understand the needs of your patient.

What Skills-Set You Need to Have?

The job of a physical therapist can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Every patient will require personal care and individualized routines. You will have to devote plenty of time to every patient while taking out enough time for others. In order to provide the best treatments to your patients some of the skills that you must have as a physical therapist are listed as follows-

  1. Time Management
  2. Attention to Detail.
  3. Stamina
  4. Dedication
  5. Patience
  6. Creative Problem-Solving Skills
  7. Compassion
  8. Adeptness

 Salary

Physical therapists earn an average of $85,000* a year. Salaries differ depending on the job, years of service, education level, geographic area, and type of practice. Physical therapists’ demands varies from one geographical region to other and service location, but unemployment rates for physios are generally low across the world. Physical therapists are projected to be in high demand as the population of the United States ages and demand for their services rises.

Conclusion

Hence, the job of a physical therapist is time consuming and requires serious dedications and patience. You can work in a wide range of institutions and industries depending upon your interests. Your work is really helpful in the rehabilitation and recovery process of the patients and enables them to lead a normal life once again.

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*The number is just an estimate, and should not be taken as actual salaries as it varies from time to time.