People recovering from accidents or disease, or who just want to stay active as they age, call on the skills of a physical therapist to help them manage their pain... grow stronger... and become more mobile. Physical therapists, also called PTs, work with people of all ages who have pain or limitations from a variety of sources, including injuries, amputations, strokes, or illness. PTs design an individualized plan for each patient using exercises, stretching, massage, and hands-on therapy. They also teach patients to use equipment like canes or prosthetics. PTs always review a patients’ medical history before making a plan, then track patients' progress during the course of treatment. Educating patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process is a critical part of this job. Physical therapists work on a team of health care professionals, and oversee the work of physical therapy aides and assistants. They work in clinics, hospitals, home health care, and nursing homes, and may specialize in areas like pediatrics or sports medicine. Lifting and moving people and heavy objects are all part of the day’s work. To enter this career, you will need a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, and a state-issued license. This field provides the deeply satisfying experience of helping people to regain abilities they have lost, manage pain, and live their lives more fully.
What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
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.
Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
medicine and dentistry
therapy and counseling
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
reading work related information
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
looking for ways to help people
understanding people's reactions
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
notice when problems happen
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
keep your arm or hand steady
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
Concern for Others
You might use software like this on the job:
Word processing software
Exercise routine creation software
master's degree or doctoral degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.