Health & Human Performance Program

Physical Therapist

Requirements:

  • Completion of a 4-year degree.
  • Completion of a Master’s degree in an accredited physical therapy program.
  • Pass the Licensure Exam.

Earnings:
Median annual earnings of physical therapists were $60,180 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $50,330 and $71,760. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,580.

Description:
Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Their patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.Therapists examine patients’ medical histories and then test and measure the patients’ strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine patients’ ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Next, physical therapists develop plans describing a treatment strategy, its purpose, and its anticipated outcome. Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility, strength, or endurance. Physical therapists encourage patients to use their own muscles to increase their flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. The goal is to improve how an individual functions at work and at home. Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments; others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.

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Info obtained from: U.S. Department of Labor

Acknowledgement
This information was collected by Iris Bahr-Winslow, Jennifer Breneman, Allen Brooks, Emily Schneider, Candy Walls, and Ebony Williams

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