Physical Therapist Career

physical-therapist-500Physical therapists (PTs) perform a number of tasks intended to help clients regain strength and mobility after an accident or illness. They work in hospitals, homes, and other clinical environments according to a patient’s needs or capabilities.

Physical therapy career opportunities are expected to grow at a much higher rate than the national average and their median salary is higher than the national average. A doctor of physical therapy degree and licensure are required to practice in most states in the U.S.

PTs can work in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, private practice, or even make house calls. They work closely with clients on a one-on-one basis or sometimes oversee assistants who perform a number a tasks for them. Most PTs work work full time, standard business hours, but there may be some need to work evenings and weekends.

Physical Therapist Career Snapshot

Further details on a career as a physical therapist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average annual pay for physical therapists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Master’s degree while 37% have a Doctoral degree.

Physical Therapist Education

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees are offered at more than 200 accredited institutions across the U.S. A bachelors degree and specific prerequisite courses are required for entry into most of these programs. This varies by school so check your programs website for specific requirements. All states require licensure, which varies by state, to practice, but all states require a passing score on the National Physical Therapy Examination.

Physical Therapist Job Duties

PTs work with patients who are recovering from injuries or illness to help them regain strength and/or mobility. PTs assess clients, develop treatment plans, and assist individuals in performing various forms of exercise and stretching to help them reach their recovery goals. You might also be educating the client or their family on what to expect as the patient recovers.

Physical Therapist Salaries

PTs typically earn between $57,060 and $119,790 with a median salary of $84,020 according to May 2015 statistics. PTs who work in home health are among the highest paid with an average salary of $94,400.

Physical therapy is fast growing field with higher pay rate than average which makes it a competitive choice for many seeking a potential career choice.

Physical Therapist Job Outlook

The PT profession is expected to experience around 34% growth over the next decade which is much higher than the national average for all jobs of about 7%. This is in part due to the aging of the baby boomer generation and the increase in chronic ailments such as diabetes and obesity. Outlook for jobs working with the elderly or in rural areas have a particularly good outlook.

Physical Therapist Skills & Abilities

Physical Therapist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Physical Therapists:Typical Work Activities:
• Reading Comprehension
• Critical Thinking
• Speaking
• Active Listening
• Monitoring
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Balance beams or other equipment for therapy
• Electronic manual muscle testers
• Pivotal traction therapy supplies
• Reflex hammers
• Work tables
• Caring for others
• Recording information
• Performing physical activities
• Decision making
• Working directly with the public

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