What does a Physical Therapist do?

Physical therapists plan and execute rehabilitation programs to help patients return to a higher level of physical function after an accident or surgery. They will often also help to manage or lessen the pain experienced by someone stricken with a degenerative condition or terminal disease. Physical therapists help patients through a combination of physical activity, reflexology, massage and muscular and skeletal manipulation.

With an aging population the job outlook for physical therapists looks strong. So how do you become a physical therapist? Most have pursued a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and all have obtained a state issued license to practice. Like many other professional licenses, a license to practice physical therapy usually requires continued education in the field to maintain certification.

  • Perform initial and ongoing physical therapy evaluations according to APTA standards of practice as well as state standards.
  • Develop Plan of Treatment for each patient based on initial and ongoing
  • evaluations including short and long term goals, collaboration demands of other staff members, and required patient and caregiver involvement.
  • Implement Plan of Treatment on a consistent schedule and adjust this schedule and plan according to patient progress.
  • Document patient progress according to approved medical documentation and facility documentation procedures.
  • Evaluate mobility, strength and current level of patient function, while setting goals to improve in these areas that are scaled to patient abilities and realistically attainable.
  • Report patient progress to patient, patient caregivers and loved ones, facility staff and healthcare professionals involved in ongoing treatment/care of patients.
  • Develop a plan for patients following completion of their Plan of Treatment with appropriate in-home care services.
  • Maintain professional and technical knowledge through attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications, etc.
  • Assist other facility staff members as needed to provide care and create a clean, orderly and effective environment for rehabilitation and physical therapy.
  • Proven record of matching patient needs to treatment plans and proven record of implementing these plans safely and effectively.
  • Strong experience administering a wide range of physical therapy techniques not limited to: giving massages; applying physical agents; initiating traction; utilizing hydrotherapy tanks and whirlpool baths, ultraviolet / infrared lamps, and ultrasound machines.
  • Experience assisting and directing treatments given by aides, technicians, and assistants.
  • Knowledge of responsible use of facility equipment, best practices for equipment use and preventative maintenance procedures.
  • Experience with recommending assistive equipment to patients and outpatient or home health follow-up programs.
  • Experience with a wide range of patient age groups and injuries.
  • Knowledge of Occupational Therapy and an understanding of when these techniques can benefit patients.
  • A strong sense of empathy, a compassionate outlook on PT and the ability to motivate patients into pushing their limits in a responsible, safe way.
  • We are looking for someone with at least 2 years of experience providing physical therapy to patients in a fully equipped PT facility and who has the following qualifications:
    • BS or Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy from a physical therapy program approved by the American Physical Therapy Association
    • Current Physical Therapy license for state of operation.
    • Current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification (with AED).

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
29%
2 - 4
22%
5 - 7
2%
8+
47%

Common Skill Sets

CPR
Excellent Communication
Computer Literacy
Written Communication
Critical Thinking
English Language
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
External Defibrillator

Physical Therapist Seniority Levels

L2
Physical Therapist
$24,000/yr
L3
Physical Therapist III
No Salary Reports
L4
Physical Therapy Aide
4% made the transition
Occupational Therapist
12% made the transition
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Physical Therapist Salaries

Average Base Pay

$24,000 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
$24K
Median: $24K
$24K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Physical Therapist jobs

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