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Physical Therapist

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What Do Physical Therapist Do?

Job Description & Duties 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.

A Day in the Life of a Physical Therapist (PT)

  • Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
  • Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
  • Refer clients to community resources or services.
  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
  • Direct group rehabilitation activities.

Physical Therapist (PT) Required Skills

Physical Therapists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

  • Outpatient Physical Therapist
  • Pulmonary Physical Therapist
  • Home Care Physical Therapist
  • Sports Physical Therapist
  • Staff Physical Therapist (Staff PT)

What Kind of Physical Therapist (PT) Job Opportunities Are There?

There were about 239,800 jobs for Physical Therapist in 2016 (in the United States). 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.

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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.

Do Physical Therapists Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Physical Therapist (PT) ranges between $60,390 and $123,350.

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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

What Tools do Physical Therapists Use?

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 to Become a Physical Therapist (PT)

Education needed to be a Physical Therapist:

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Physical Therapists Are Employed

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The table below shows the approximate number of Physical Therapists employed by various industries.

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

References:

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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