Physical Therapist

Last Updated:
May 1, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Physical Therapist job description entails working with patients who have experienced physical injuries or disabilities, including those that are present from birth or a long-term illness. Their job is to help patients restore mobility, reduce pain, and improve the overall physical function of the body. 

Physical Therapists work in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They also work with individuals from all age groups— from infants to the elderly. A typical day for a Physical Therapist includes evaluating a patient's physical condition, developing a treatment plan, and monitoring progress. They use various techniques such as massages, range-of-motion exercises, stretching, and ultrasound therapy to help patients regain strength and flexibility. 

Physical Therapists educate patients on how to prevent injuries and maintain overall health, and collaborate with other healthcare providers to ensure optimal patient outcomes. To become a Physical Therapist, one must complete a doctoral program in Physical Therapy and obtain a license to practice.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Helps patients regain movement and manage pain
  • Creates individualized treatment plans based on patient needs
  • Uses exercises and stretches to improve mobility and strength
  • Assists patients in using assistive devices, such as crutches or walkers
  • Teaches patients how to prevent future injuries or disabilities
  • Collaborates with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care
  • Documents patient progress and adjusts treatment plans accordingly
  • Provides emotional support and encouragement to patients
  • Stays current with advances in physical therapy research and techniques

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a physical therapist in the healthcare industry, you need a lot of education and experience. First, you need a bachelor's degree in a related field like biology or kinesiology. Then, you have to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which takes about three years.

During your studies, you'll learn about anatomy, physiology, and different types of injuries or illnesses that affect the body. You'll also spend time working with patients under the guidance of experienced therapists.

After you finish your studies, you'll need to pass a licensing exam to become a practicing physical therapist. Employers also look for candidates with good communication and interpersonal skills since you'll be working closely with patients and other healthcare professionals.

Overall, becoming a physical therapist requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and passion for helping people recover from injuries and conditions that affect their daily life.

Salary Range

Physical therapist salary range varies according to the experience, specialization, location, and other factors. In the United States, the median annual salary for Physical Therapists is around $90,000, with the top 10% earning more than $130,000 per year. The entry-level salary for a physical therapist is around $60,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 18% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. In other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, the average annual salary for physical therapists is approximately $70,000 and $46,000, respectively. 


  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
  2. PayScale:
  3. SalaryExpert:

Career Outlook

Physical therapy is a growing field in the healthcare industry, with a projected job growth rate of 22% from 2018 to 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate is much faster than the average rate for all occupations. With an aging population and an increased focus on preventative care, the need for physical therapists is expected to continue to rise. Additionally, advancements in technology and telemedicine have opened up new opportunities for physical therapists to provide remote care to patients who may have difficulty traveling to a clinic. Overall, it seems like a promising time to pursue a career in physical therapy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a physical therapist and what do they do?

A: Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who work with patients to improve their mobility and reduce pain. They develop treatment plans that include exercises and activities to help patients move better and heal from injuries.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become a physical therapist?

A: To become a physical therapist, you'll need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited program. You'll also need to pass a licensing exam to practice in your state.

Q: What kind of patients do physical therapists work with?

A: Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and with a variety of conditions, such as athletes recovering from injuries, people recovering from surgery or stroke, and those with chronic conditions like arthritis.

Q: Can physical therapy help with chronic pain?

A: Yes, physical therapy can be an effective treatment for chronic pain by improving flexibility, strength, and range of motion. It can also teach patients techniques for managing pain and preventing future injuries.

Q: What kind of work environment do physical therapists typically work in?

A: Physical therapists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and rehabilitation centers. They may also travel to patients' homes or work on-site at schools or nursing homes.

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