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Physical Therapist Jobs: Facts You Should Know

Physical therapist jobs can be a great career choice for so many reasons. Here's a look at some important details about them.


For those that want to work in the healthcare industry, there are a variety of career paths open to them. Physical therapy is one of these and for those that enjoy working to help people of all ages; physical therapist jobs can be an option to consider. For those thinking about entering this field there are a few things to consider and some of the facts you should be aware of include the following.

Training Required

Those wishing to enter the field of physical therapy these days typically need to gain at least a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from an accredited college. Typically this means first studying for an undergraduate degree and there are a few choices open for this. Four year courses in general science which include pre-physical therapy are an option, as are community college programs in physical therapy. Whichever option a student chooses it is important that they select an accredited course and details of the options available can be found at the website of the American Physical Therapy Association. An entry-level program prepares a student to move onto a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy, which is the minimum qualification required to practice in the field. In many cases some practical experience is required for entrance to a Masters program and this generally constitutes some volunteer work in a clinic or hospital.

A Masters degree generally lasts around 2-3 years and will cover a variety of subjects. These will typically include courses in foundation sciences, as well as behavioral science courses and clinically-based courses. Successfully completing a Masters course prepares a student to sit the National Physical Therapy Exam.

National Physical Therapy Exam

Once a Masters program has been successfully completed a student must then look to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam. The actual requirements for this can vary from state to state and reviewing these for the licensing authority you plan to apply to is important. Further details for taking the exam can be found at the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

Licensing

The final stage involved in preparing for physical therapist jobs is gaining state licensure. All states require this and the general requirements to become licensed include completing a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam. Some states have additional requirements to gain a license and this can vary from state to state. In many cases once a license has been granted, continuing education is needed to maintain it. A physical therapist must therefore continue to attend talks, day courses and other such training.

What the Job Entails

Physical therapy is generally concerned with treating patients that have movement and function problems which can be caused by a number of factors. This can include injuries, fractures, arthritis, strokes and illnesses such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy. There are a variety of reasons why patients can visit, and the aim of the physical therapist is to diagnose the problem and treat this to reduce pain, improve mobility and restore function such that a patient can enjoy an improved quality of life. Physical therapists can also work with people to advise them on the best ways to maintain healthy mobility and avoid problems.

Pay

The pay for physical therapist jobs can depend on a variety of factors including qualifications, work location and the type of facility worked in. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the average pay is somewhere between $60,000 and $85,000, although more or less can be earned depending on the circumstances of employment. Further details of the typical salary a physical therapist can earn can be found at the Occupational Employment Statistics of the BLS.

Job Prospects

The future prospects for physical therapist jobs are expected to be good and this means it can be an excellent career path to follow. Some of the reasons for this include the increasing age of the population, with elderly people more likely to call on the services of a physical therapist. Advances in medicine mean that more and more patients are surviving illnesses and trauma events and again this increases the numbers that look to a physical therapist for assistance. The demand for physical therapists is therefore expected to increase in future years and this bodes well for job prospects.

For those looking to enter the field of medicine, physical therapist jobs can be a good option to consider. It provides the opportunity to assist people in improving their quality of life and the job prospects in future years are considered to be good. Some of the requirements for entering the field are shown above and these facts should be considered before committing yourself to a career in physical therapy.

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