The term “physical therapist” encompasses several job positions and activities that people don’t always associate with physical therapists. Those who are looking to become physical therapists might be excited by the different things they’d be expected to do, while those responsibilities could deter others.
It’s important to deep dive into potential professions before you make the decision to go to school and try to get a job in the field. We’re going to look at five important details in the physical therapist job description, giving you some insight into the position.
Hopefully, the ideas below will inform your career path and help you make the right choice.
1. Physical Therapy Salary
Physical therapists make just under $90,000 per year on average. Any medical profession is varied in the way that practitioners’ salaries are distributed.
The amount of money you make depends on the facility you work for, whether you have your own practice, as well as the credentials that you have. It’s possible to make a lot more as a physical therapist, while others might make a little less.
Factor that income into the reality that physical therapists need to achieve an undergraduate degree as well as a professional degree such as a doctorate. Beyond that, physical therapists should get certified by the PTA board.
You can take a look at some PTA Board Exam practice questions to familiarize yourself with that process.
2. Numerous Specialties
Most physical therapists work in a particular specialty. There are general practitioners, but many individuals work in one or more specific areas.
Orthopedic physical therapists operate to try and heal tendons, joints, bones, and ligaments. These things comprise the human orthopedic system, and the treatments used on them are distinct from those used on the muscles, for example.
Geriatric practitioners help elderly individuals manage different bodily pains. The approach used to help older people is distinct because the body responds differently as it ages. Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, joint pain, and flexibility are a few of the common areas that these practitioners work in.
Some physical therapists deal in the area of neurology, which aims to help individuals reclaim the function of their nervous system. There are also cardiopulmonary, pediatric, athletic, women’s, and electrophysiological therapists.
So, before you put your foot down on the path toward physical therapy, try to narrow down one or two specialties that sound most interesting to you.
3. Various Environments
Another thing to consider is the fact that physical therapists don’t simply work in hospitals. There are a lot of different areas that an individual could practice physical therapy.
Hospitals are the most common area, considering that’s where the most injured individuals are. There are also a lot of physical therapists in nursing homes, rehab centers, colleges, high schools, sports centers, and more.
Some individuals do most of their work in a research lab, pioneering new ways to treat patients. You’ll find that the work environment of a therapist tends to correlate with the specialty that they pursued.
For example, a sports physical therapist might work at a school, for a professional team, or at some sort of outpatient clinic.
4. Significant Patient Interaction
Physical therapy is unlike a lot of other medical professions in the sense that there’s more direct contact with patients. All doctors make some contact with patients, but few require a physical presence in the same way that physical therapists do.
Depending on the patient, you’ll be doing a lot of different physical activities and exercises. This requires that you have a lot of compassion infused into what you do as well as a good deal of patients.
Many of the individuals you’ll work with have never experienced this kind of physical limitation, so they might be resistant to treatment at first. You’ll also need patients in response to the bodies of particular patients not responding to treatment.
Some things take a lot longer, and that can get difficult when you know your patient is in pain.
Generally speaking, physical therapists with great communication skills do very well in their practices. You need to be an excellent practitioner as well. That said, if you can make a difference on a personal level, you’ll be in a great position to make a difference on a physical one.
5. Broad Opportunities
Physical therapy is something that never goes out of style. People will always have muscular, neurological, and orthopedic issues. As far as we can tell, people will always get injured in sports events and suffer the effects of old age as well.
So, there’s a measure of job security if you can get your foot in the door. There are also myriad ways to extend and expand your career. Different specialties are only a few years of schooling away, and it’s always possible to jump into a new area of practice.
More opportunities arise as new technology emerges, too. There are a lot of good reasons for physical therapists to continue their education, and employers often reward the practitioners that do.
Something else to consider is the fact that there are a lot of chances to spread your brand online. Individuals use Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms to find medical information.
If someone feels a little bit of carpal tunnel, for example, they might look up YouTube videos on how to relieve their symptoms. This is a perfect niche for physical therapists to create content and extend their knowledge to the public.
In doing so, they can bolster their brand awareness and even make some income.
Still Curious About The Physical Therapist Job Description?
Hopefully, our look at a physical therapist job description was useful to you. There’s a lot more to learn about this broad and exciting field, though. We’re here to help you sift through all the information you need to make the right decision.
The more research you do, the better the odds that you choose the right schooling and career path. Explore our site for more physical therapy tips, ideas on how to become a physical therapist, the benefits of physical therapy, and a whole lot more.