Physical Therapist

physical therapyPeople can require the services of a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant through a number of causes. Accidents, certain diseases and illnesses, and birth defects may all result in impairment of physical mobility.

As a physical therapist you would employ a range of treatments to improve mobility and reduce discomfort.

Physical therapies include therapeutic exercise, deep tissue massage, ultrasound, and traction. Patients are also given help with day-to-day living and encouraged to acquire independence. As a physical therapist assistant you would provide help with treatments under the direction of a physical therapist.

Training and Qualifications

In order to work as a physical therapist, you must first graduate from an approved program and then pass a state licensing exam. A physical therapy degree program begins with courses in basic science. You would then move on to specialized courses in topics such as biomechanics, symptoms of disease, and physical therapy treatment techniques. Your program would combine classroom, laboratory, and supervised work with patients.

To train as a physical therapist assistant you would normally graduate an associate program and, depending on where you worked, you might be required to pass a state examination.

Job Outlook

Most physical therapists and assistants work in hospitals, clinics, or the offices of healthcare professionals. There are also job openings in outpatient care and home care, and of course you may choose to set up your own practice. On average we live longer these days, and as we get older we become more vulnerable to conditions which result in physical impairment. If you qualify as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, you should find that your job outlook, already good, will improve with the passing years.