Physical Therapist are good people to know. They are educated in understanding the interaction of all body parts from infants to the elderly. Physical Therapist can teach you how to take care of yourself and how to use your body properly to gain strength.

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Job Tasks:

  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.

  • Confer with patients, medical practitioners or appropriate others to plan, implement or assess an intervention program.

  • Test and measure patient’s strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.

  • Administer manual exercise, massage or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.

  • Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps or ultrasound machines.

  • Confer with physical therapy staff or others to discuss and evaluate patient information for planning, modifying or coordinating treatment.

  • Identify and document goals, anticipated progress and plans for reevaluation.

  • Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.

  • Record prognosis, treatment, response and progress in patient’s chart or enter information into computer.

  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued in the home.

  • Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.

  • Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.

Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:

  • Knowledge of medical information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat injuries, diseases and deformities.  This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions and preventive health-care measures.

  • Knowledge of psychology relative to human behavior and performance, individual differences in ability, personality and interests; learning and motivation, psychological research methods and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

  • Knowledge of therapy and counseling principles, methods and procedures for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions and for career counseling and guidance.

  • Knowledge of customer and personal service principles and processes for providing customer and personal services.

  • Knowledge of analytical or scientific software (Cedaron Dexter Evaluation & Impairment Rating).

  • Knowledge of medical software (Clincient Insight, Medical procedure coding, MEDITECH, Rehab Documentation, REDOC Suite).

  • Knowledge and use of Action games (Biometrics video game software).

  • Knowledge and use of Microsoft software programs (Excel, Word and Office).

  • Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, etc.

  • Oral Comprehension – Ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

  • Deductive Reasoning – Ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

  • Inductive Reasoning – Ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusion (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

  • Problem Sensitivity –Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.

  • Written Comprehension – Ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

  • Oral Expression – Ability to communicate information in speaking so that others will understand.

Desired Work Style Attributes:

  • Concern for Others – Sensitive to needs of others

  • Integrity – Honest and ethical

  • Dependability – Reliable and responsible

  • Social Orientation – Preferring to work with others rather than alone

  • Self-Control – Maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger and avoiding aggressive behavior even in very difficult situations.

  • Analytical Thinking – Ability to analyze information and use logic to address work-related issues and problems.

  • Adaptability/Flexibility – Ability to being open to change (positive or negative)

  • Cooperation – Pleasant with others

Education Requirements:

Physical therapy (PT) professional education refers to the didactic and clinical education that prepares graduates for entry into the practice of physical therapy. Education for the advancement of practicing physical therapists is termed post-professional.

For more information, go to http://www.apta.org/PTEducation/Overview/.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree is the only PT degree offered. The Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) and Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) degrees are no longer offered to new students in the United States.

Bachelor's Degree, Yes/No? The length of professional DPT programs is typically 3 years. Most physical therapist education programs require applicants to earn a bachelor's degree prior to admission into the professional DPT programs. Other programs offer a 3+3 curricular format in which 3 years of specific pre-professional (undergraduate/pre-PT) courses must be taken before the student can advance into a 3-year professional DPT program.

Freshmen entry – A few programs recruit all or a portion of students directly from high school into a guaranteed admissions program. High school students accepted into these programs can automatically advance into the professional phase of the PT program pending the completion of specific undergraduate courses and any other stated contingencies, e.g. minimum GPA.

Physical Therapists have the most specialized education to help people restore and improve motion. 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. A growing majority of programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

It is extremely important that you attend a program accredited by CAPTE to take the licensure exam. Without a license you will not be able to practice.