Physical therapist overview- Who is a physical therapist
A physical therapist (sometimes called a PT) is someone who helps ill or injured patients to improve their motor abilities and manage pain. They work with patients who suffer from a wide range of ailments- from chronic illnesses to athletic injuries, sprains, strains, fractures, arthritis, amputations, neurological traumas like stroke or cerebral palsy or age- related conditions. They are typically employed by clinics or hospitals and nursing homes and spend much of their time on the move, working actively with patients.
Physical therapist job description
The job of a physical therapist involves providing specialized treatment and care to improve mobility and alleviate pain in patients. Depending on the type of patients they are caring for, this would mean evaluating his/her medical records, identifying different forms of treatment, and planning and executing these rehabilitative programs. Physical therapy techniques include different exercises or stretches, hands-on therapies and assistive devices like crutches, wheelchairs, walkers etc. that aid in improving muscle and motor function. In order to ensure holistic care for their patients, physical therapists must also collaborate with a lot of other health care professionals like physicians, occupational therapists, social workers etc. and of course also educate the patient’s immediate support group, the family.
Physical therapist duties
- Review patient’s medical history
- Diagnose their problems by observing their movements and listening to them.
- Develop a plan of care, outlining the patient’s goals and plan outcome.
- Use a variety of wellness programs and techniques to help the patient recover
- Evaluate patient’s progress and modify plan as required.
- Educate patient and his immediate support group about what to expect and how to cope with the recovery process.
Physical therapist salary
According to the 2014-2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median physical therapist salary a year IS $79,860. According to 2013 figures, physical therapist earnings for the best paid 10% was $113,340 and for the bottom 10% was $56,280. Home health physical therapist salary and hospital setting physical therapist salary are the highest.
Physical therapist job outlook
This field offers bright prospects for aspiring candidates, as a growth of 36 per cent in employment is expected between 2012 and 2022. On an average, other professions are expected to grow by 11 per cent, so physical therapist jobs are expected to grow much faster than average. Demand for physical therapists is expected to increase as the need for rehab after heart attacks and strokes among the older population is high and chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes are also on the rise.
How to become a physical therapist
You need a bachelor’s degree for admission to most DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) programs. Specific prerequisites such as anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry and physics may apply. It is a three-year course and most programs require applicants to apply through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service. All states require physical therapists to have an appropriate license as well.