The Ins and Outs of Physical Therapy Careers

December 29th, 2012 by admin

Physical therapy is a rewarding, in-demand healthcare job. Licensed physical therapists with advanced degrees, physical therapist assistants with associate’s degrees and physical therapy aides work together to help patients with rehabilitation from physical maladies. Although all three of these professions complement each other, they have different educational requirements and career outlooks.

Physical Therapy Aides

Compared to physical therapists and their assistants, aides require less training and earn less pay. However, physical therapy offices could not function without the assistance of aides, who are responsible for clerical work, therapy preparation and non-medical patient assistance. Aides are not licensed, so no formal educational requirements exist for physical therapy aides. Commonly, these workers gain experience on-the-job and only need a high school diploma or equivalent to start working. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for aides was $23,680 in May 2010, and most worked full time. The need for aides is expected to grow 43 percent by 2020.

Find a Physcial Therapy School for Training.

Physical Therapy Assistants

In most states, physical therapy assistants must have an associate’s degree and maintain licensure. To obtain an associate’s degree, classroom and clinical courses are taken. Mathematics, English, anatomy, physiology and ethics are some of the required classroom subjects; first aid, CPR and patient treatment are required clinical topics of study. After graduation, assistants must pass the Physical National Physical Therapy Exam to become licensed, and in many states assistants must take continuing education courses to keep their license. In the office, assistants provide direct patient care under the guidance of a physical therapist. While an assistant’s specific duties are determined by the therapists they work with, most assistants education patients on treatment plans and exercise performance discuss patient progress with therapists and assist patients with therapy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, assistants made a median annual salary of $49,690 in 2010, and the employment of assistants should increase 46 percent by 2020.

Doctor of Physical Therapy

A handful of schools offer a two to three year Master of Physical Therapy degree, but most programs award a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree following three years of study. Both options require completing an undergraduate degree. A specific major is not required, but most physical therapy schools require prerequisite classes in anatomy, biology, chemistry and other disciplines. During graduate study, students will learn biomechanics, advanced anatomy, pharmacology and neuroscience as well as completing clinical experiences. Some therapists pursue specialized training after graduation.

Once a physical therapist’s education is complete, they can work in hospitals, private clinics or nursing homes. Therapists might design a treatment plan for an athlete recovering from an injury, an accident victim having trouble walking after surgery or an elderly resident needing to stay active. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for physical therapists was $76,310 in 2010, and the need for physical therapists should increase 39 percent by 2020, largely due to the aging baby boomer population.
No matter what level of physical therapy training you choose, you’ll be headed for a career with great demand, high pay and amazing levels of career satisfaction.


Incoming search terms for the article:

No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your Current Search




Blog Navigation