Print

Health Careers >> Browse Articles >> Physical Therapy / Fitness

Rate

Career Guide: Physical Therapist

Career Guide: Physical Therapist

Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Among the undergraduate courses that are useful when one applies to a physical therapist education program are anatomy, biology, chemistry, social science, mathematics, and physics. Before granting admission, many programs require volunteer experience in the physical therapy department of a hospital or clinic. For high school students, volunteering with the school athletic trainer is a good way to gain experience.

Licensure

All States require physical therapists to pass national and State licensure exams before they can practice. They must also graduate from an accredited physical therapist education program.

Other Qualifications

Physical therapists should have strong interpersonal skills so that they can educate patients about their physical therapy treatments and communicate with patients’ families. Physical therapists also should be compassionate and possess a desire to help patients.

Advancement

Physical therapists are expected to continue their professional development by participating in continuing education courses and workshops. In fact, a number of States require continuing education as a condition of maintaining licensure.

Employment

Physical therapists held about 173,000 jobs in 2006. The number of jobs is greater than the number of practicing physical therapists because some physical therapists hold two or more jobs. For example, some may work in a private practice, but also work part time in another health care facility.

About 6 out of 10 physical therapists worked in hospitals or in offices of physical therapists. Other jobs were in the home health care services industry, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and offices of physicians. Some physical therapists were self-employed in private practices, seeing individual patients and contracting to provide services in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, home health care agencies, adult day care programs, and schools. Physical therapists also teach in academic institutions and conduct research.


AllHealthcare School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use AllHealthcare's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.


* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.