PHYSICAL THERAPISTS try to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease, such as arthritis, low back pain, and cerebral palsy. They examine patient medical history and test and measure their strength, motion, balance, posture, muscle performance, etc. They develop a treatment plan, which may include exercise, electrical stimulation, hot packs or cold compresses, or ultrasound. They teach patients how to use assistive and adaptive devices such as crutches, artificial limbs, and wheelchairs. They keep track of progress and modify treatment when needed.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $73,000 average per year ($35.00 per hour)
- A large occupation (180,300 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (3.0% per year)
All states require PHYSICAL THERAPISTS to be licensed. Candidates must be graduates of an accredited physical therapy program and pass an exam. Most accredited programs offer master's degrees and others offer doctoral degrees. Courses useful when applying to physical therapist educational programs include anatomy, biology, chemistry, social science, mathematics, and physics. Before granting admission, many professional educational programs require experience as a volunteer in a physical therapy department of a hospital or clinic.
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