Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of rehabilitation and treatment of patients with chronic conditions or injuries.

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Profession overview

Physical therapists typically do the following:

Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders, such as stroke or cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions.

Physical therapists are trained to use a variety of different techniques—sometimes called modalities—to care for their patients. These techniques include applying heat and cold and using assistive devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers and equipment, such as adhesive electrodes which apply electric stimulation to treat injuries and pain.

The work of physical therapists varies by type of patient. For example, a patient experiencing loss of mobility due to stroke needs different care from that given to an athlete recovering from an injury. Some physical therapists specialize in one type of care, such as orthopedics or geriatrics. Many physical therapists also work at preventing loss of mobility by developing fitness and wellness programs to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists work as part of a healthcare team, overseeing the work of physical therapist assistants and aides and consulting with physicians and surgeons and other specialists.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Is physical therapy a possible career for you?

Do you have the following qualities? If so, physical therapy might be a good fit for you!

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Professional education

Degrees offered

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).

Years of Study

Most programs are typically three years. A B.S./B.A. degree is required for admission.

Licensure

Graduates of accredited PT programs must pass a state licensure exam in order to practice.

Choosing a PT program

Choose a physical therapy program carefully based upon factors that are important to your own learning needs. Consider program content, geographic location, faculty; facilities, experiential training opportunities, class size, student demographics, extracurricular opportunities, and cost.

For state-supported public institutions, legal residence may have a significant impact on admissions decisions. Private institutions may offer out-of-state and foreign applicants a greater number of positions as compared to state-supported, public institutions.

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