WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS DO?
Physical therapists help people with physical injuries or illnesses of to regain range of movement and control their pain. Physical therapists, or PTs, help people who have lost motor function due to accidents, illness or age. They help determine the root causes of the trauma, counsel patients, and work with them to create a plan for rehabilitation.
Physical therapists typically create plans that involve stretching, strength training, exercises and physical manipulation to help people recover. They are experts at what the body can do, and will educate patients and families about what is possible, and keep patients motivated during ongoing therapy. PTs will track progress and report to patients and their families.
HOW MUCH DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS MAKE?
Physical therapists made a median income of $36.69 an hour, or $76,310 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Physical therapists must have an advanced degree. This can be a Master of Physical Therapy degree or, more commonly, a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. The doctoral program lasts approximately 3 years and require a bachelor's degree.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Compassion: People come to you in pain, and will have concerns and doubts about their recovery. Physical therapists are people that want to help those in pain.
- Attention to Detail: Physical therapists need to observe a patient's issues, and analyze what is needed to help them ease their pain, without putting them at risk of further injury.
- Dexterity: You will use your hands to move a patient's body and provide therapeutic exercise.
- Interpersonal Skills: You will be working one-on-one with patients every day. You will need to like working with people in close situations, be a good communicator and listener. You will need to talk with patients and their families and be able and willing to deliver both good and bad news in most compassionate way possible.
- Stamina: Physical therapists may have to lift clients, and spend much of their time on their feet. You will need strength and stamina to do the job.
THE FUTURE OF PHYSICAL THERAPISTS
Physical therapist jobs will grow rapidly, especially as baby boomers begin to age. According to the BLS, physical therapists jobs will increase 39% between 2010 and 2020, much faster than the average for all jobs.