Physical Therapists

Health Science > Therapeutic Services

Projected Growth: Much faster than average

Projected Job Openings

Extensive Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

Common job titles of Physical Therapists include:

Experience and Education

Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.

  • 38.6% said they needed a Master's Degree.

  • 37.32% said they needed a Doctoral Degree.


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

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

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

    Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.

    Provide information to the patient about the proposed intervention, its material risks and expected benefits, and any reasonable alternatives.

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

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

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

    Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.

    Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.

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

    Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.

    Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.

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

    Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.

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

    Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices.

    Refer clients to community resources or services.

    Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.

    Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.

    Direct group rehabilitation activities.

    Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.

    Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.

    Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.


Whirlpool therapy baths



Wall pulleys

Walking braces


Upper body ergometers

All Tools

Ultraviolet UV lamps

Ultrasound machines

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment

Training stairs

Traction equipment

Traction belts

Traction and mobilization physical therapy tables

Total lift chairs

Tilt tables

Thoracic pivots

Therapeutic treadmill exercisers

Swiss exercise balls

Surface electromyography equipment

Stepper exercisers

Standing tables

Sliding boards

Shoulder wheels

Shoulder finger ladders

Sacro-illiac joint lumbar corsets

Rowing machines

Resistive tubing

Resistive exercise bands



Pulley exercise systems

Powder boards

Portable cardiac monitors

Phonopheresis equipment

Personal computers

Percussion hammers

Pelvic traction equipment

Parallel bars

Paraffin baths




Neuromuscular stimulation equipment

Neurological hammers

Neck braces

Muscle testing equipment

Muscle strength dynamometers

Multiaxial exercise equipment

Moist hot packs

Mechanical stethoscopes


Lumbar pivots

Low volt muscle stimulators

Laser printers

Laptop computers

Knee braces

Isotonic exercise equipment

Isokinetic upper body testing/rehabilitation equipment

Isokinetic lower body testing/rehabilitation equipment

Iontophoresis equipment

Inversion physical therapy tables

Interferential electrical stimulation machines

Infrared lamps

Ice packs

Hydrocollator heating units

Hydraulic hand dynamometers

Hoyer lifts

Hospital roto beds

High-voltage Galvanic stimulation machines

Heart rate monitors


Gait belts

Functional electrical stimulation FES equipment

Force sensors

Fluidotherapy equipment

Fitness machines

Exercise bicycles

Exercise balls

Electronic manual muscle testers

Electronic blood pressure units

Electromyographs EMG

Digital video equipment

Digital video cameras

Digital inclinometer range of motion measurement instruments

Digital cameras

Diathermy equipment

Cryotherapy equipment


Continuous passive motion CPM machines

Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) balance test systems

Compression garments

Cervical pivots



Blood pressure cuffs

Biomechanical ankle platform system BAPS systems

Biofeedback units

Below-the-knee prosthetics

Balance boards

Balance beams

Babinski hammers

Axial-resistance shoulder wheels

Arm prosthetics


Adjusting tables

Above-the-knee prosthetics


Medical condition coding software

MEDITECH software

Advantage Software Physical Therapy Advantage

Biometrics video game software

Cedaron Dexter Evaluation & Impairment Rating

Clinicient Insight

Exercise routine creation software

All Technologies

Hands On Technology TheraWriter.PT

Medical procedure coding software


Patient charting software

Prognosis Innovation Healthcare ChartAccess

Recordkeeping software

Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite

SpectraSoft AppointmentsCS


Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Learning Strategies

Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.


Teaching others how to do something.

Systems Analysis

Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.


Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

Operations Analysis

Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.

Systems Evaluation

Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Management of Personnel Resources

Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

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