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What is a Physical Therapist (PT)?

Physical Therapist (PT) Definition 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.

Life as a Physical Therapist (PT): What Do They Do?

  • Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
  • Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
  • Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
  • Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
  • Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
  • Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.

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.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

  • Pediatric Physical Therapist
  • Chief Physical Therapist
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist
  • Geriatric Physical Therapist
  • Rehabilitation Services Director

Physical Therapist (PT) Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 239,800 jobs for Physical Therapists in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 28% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 67,100 new jobs for Physical Therapists by 2026. The BLS estimates 17,700 yearly job openings in this field per year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Physical Therapists are California, New York, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Alaska, or Wyoming. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Physical Therapist (PT) Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Physical Therapists is somewhere between $60,390 and $123,350. A Physical Therapist median salary is $87,930.

Salary Ranges for Physical Therapists

How much do Physical Therapists make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Nevada

$107,920

Alaska

$99,180

New Jersey

$97,770

New Mexico

$97,210

California

$97,110

Connecticut

$96,010

Delaware

$93,880

Texas

$92,940

Massachusetts

$91,750

Virginia

$91,700

Michigan

$91,160

Illinois

$90,690

Alabama

$90,620

Hawaii

$90,540

Louisiana

$89,860

District of Columbia

$89,750

Mississippi

$89,720

West Virginia

$89,420

Arizona

$88,800

North Carolina

$87,560

Wyoming

$87,510

New York

$87,470

Florida

$87,410

Pennsylvania

$87,050

Ohio

$86,690

Georgia

$86,320

Utah

$85,940

Washington

$85,930

Oregon

$85,890

South Carolina

$85,450

Kansas

$85,250

Wisconsin

$85,200

Maryland

$85,170

Oklahoma

$84,860

Kentucky

$84,630

Rhode Island

$83,850

Minnesota

$83,750

Indiana

$83,680

Iowa

$82,960

Tennessee

$82,920

New Hampshire

$82,880

Colorado

$82,560

Arkansas

$81,430

Missouri

$81,330

Nebraska

$80,130

Montana

$79,050

North Dakota

$78,120

Idaho

$77,700

Maine

$76,910

South Dakota

$76,200

Vermont

$75,010

Tools & Technologies Used by Physical Therapists

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

  • Medical condition coding software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Office
  • MEDITECH software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Medical procedure coding software

Becoming a Physical Therapist (PT)

Education needed to be a Physical Therapist:

Physical Therapist (PT) Degree Level

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

Physical Therapist (PT) Work Experience

Where Physical Therapists Are Employed

Physical Therapist (PT) Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Physical Therapist may also be interested in:

  • Occupational Therapists

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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