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Physical Therapist

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What Do Physical Therapist Do?

Example of Physical Therapist (PT) Job Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

List of Physical Therapist (PT) Job Duties

  • Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
  • Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
  • Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.
  • Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
  • Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
  • Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.

Things a Physical Therapist (PT) Should Know How to Do

These are the skills Physical Therapists say are the most useful in their careers:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Types of Physical Therapist

  • Staff Physical Therapist (Staff PT)
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist
  • Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapist
  • Kinesiotherapist
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist

Job Opportunities for Physical Therapists

In the United States, there were 239,800 jobs for Physical Therapist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 28% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 67,100 new jobs for Physical Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 17,700 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Physical Therapists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Physical Therapist (PT) are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Kansas, or Maine. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Physical Therapist (PT)

The salary for Physical Therapists ranges between about $60,390 and $123,350 a year.

Salary Ranges for Physical Therapists

Physical Therapists who work in Nevada, California, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Physical Therapists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $90,620
Alaska $99,180
Arizona $88,800
Arkansas $81,430
California $97,110
Colorado $82,560
Connecticut $96,010
Delaware $93,880
District of Columbia $89,750
Florida $87,410
Georgia $86,320
Hawaii $90,540
Idaho $77,700
Illinois $90,690
Indiana $83,680
Iowa $82,960
Kansas $85,250
Kentucky $84,630
Louisiana $89,860
Maine $76,910
Maryland $85,170
Massachusetts $91,750
Michigan $91,160
Minnesota $83,750
Mississippi $89,720
Missouri $81,330
Montana $79,050
Nebraska $80,130
Nevada $107,920
New Hampshire $82,880
New Jersey $97,770
New Mexico $97,210
New York $87,470
North Carolina $87,560
North Dakota $78,120
Ohio $86,690
Oklahoma $84,860
Oregon $85,890
Pennsylvania $87,050
Rhode Island $83,850
South Carolina $85,450
South Dakota $76,200
Tennessee $82,920
Texas $92,940
Utah $85,940
Vermont $75,010
Virginia $91,700
Washington $85,930
West Virginia $89,420
Wisconsin $85,200
Wyoming $87,510

Tools & Technologies Used by Physical Therapists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Physical Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • MEDITECH software
  • Medical procedure coding software
  • Medical condition coding software
  • Recordkeeping software
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • Prognosis Innovation Healthcare ChartAccess

How do I Become a Physical Therapist (PT)?

Education needed to be a Physical Therapist:

Physical Therapist (PT) Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Physical Therapist (PT)?

Physical Therapist (PT) Work Experience

Where Physical Therapists Work

Physical Therapist (PT) Sectors

Physical Therapists work in the following industries:

Physical Therapist (PT) Industries

Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Physical Therapist might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Barbara E. Carver via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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