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Physical Therapist

The Science of Healing, The Art of Caring

What is the Role of a Physical Therapists?

Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and the risk of side effects.

Physical therapists can teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan to usetreatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

What Types of Physical Therapist Are There?

Acute Care
Aquatic Cardiovascular & Pulmonary
Hand Rehab
Performing Arts
Sports Medicine
Women's Health
Work Rehab

What is the Work Environment?

Outpatient clinics or offices
Skilled nursing, extended care or sub-acute facilities
Education or research centers
Industrial, workplace or other occupational environments
Fitness centers and sports training facilities
Performing arts centers

What Are the Educational Requirements for Becoming a PT?

All physical therapists must receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure exam that allows them to practice. Physical therapists have specialized education to help people restore and improve motion. Today's physical therapist is required to complete a graduate degree - either a masters or clinical doctorate - from an accredited education program. A growing majority of programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Currently, 199 colleges and universities nationwide support 212 accredited professional physical therapist education programs; 96% now offer the DPT, and the remaining programs are planning to convert.

Required Degrees:

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Typically require an undergraduate degree followed by 6-9 semesters of physical therapy education.
Usually total of 6-7 years

Masters of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT)
Typically 3 years of undergraduate degree followed by 6-9 semesters of physical therapy education.
Usually total of 5 years

Curriculum Classes
General Education: English, Statistics, Humanities, Professional Writing
Science: Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Physics, Sociology, Biomechanics, Neuroscience

Course of Study:
Science: Kinesiology, Gross Anatomy, Neuroanatomical, Neurophysiology, Embryology, Histology, Therapeutic Exercise, Modalities, Pediatrics, Rehabilitation
Clinical: Extensive observation and clinical experiences (24-32 weeks)

Which Are the Top 10 PT Schools in the US?

#1 University of Southern California
#2 University of Delaware
#3 University of Pittsburgh
#3 Washington University in St. Louis
#5 US Army - Baylor
#5 University of Iowa
#7 Emory University
#7 MGH Institute of Health Professionals
#9 Northwestern University
#9 University of Miami
#9 University of North Carolina

What is the Average Annual Salary?

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT): $75,000
Masters of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT): $45,000

More than 184,000 physical therapists are licensed in the US today. The exact salary for a physical therapist depending on position, years of experience, degree of education, geographic location, and practice setting.

What is the Employment Outlook for Physical Therapy?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), with just a 0.2 percent unemployment rate, physical therapists are now experiencing the best employment conditions since 1997.