Physical Therapist

Pros


  • This is a career where one will be helping to people to restore their mobility as well as relieve pain.
  • Job opportunities in this growing field are very good.
  • This is a perfect job for someone who is interested in health and fitness.

Cons

  • This work requires a lot of patience. It will take time to see your patients achieve real results.
  • You will spend a lot of time on your feet, and you will need to show energy and optimism to your patients at all times.
  • It requires a lot of education to become a physical therapist.

Overview

Physical therapists work with people to restore physical health that has been lost due to illness or injury. They help their patients to reduce pain as well as restore strength and flexibility in an attempt to limit physical disability. Many patients who go see physical therapists have suffered through a serious medical problem such as an accident, a heart attack, stroke or a head injury.

When a patient first visits with a physical therapist they will got through a routine examination. This will measure a patients’ balance, posture and muscle performance. Physical therapists will also review the medical history of a patient. Once an exam of the patient has been completed, a treatment plan is developed. In physical therapy most treatments revolve around the idea that exercise of muscles will help patients to increase their flexibility as well as their range of motion. Therefore, a physical therapist will usually encourage their patients to adopt a fitness plan to help strengthen their muscles with exercise equipment. Sometimes electronic stimulation will also be used to work on soft tissue muscles that are more difficult to strengthen.

One can find physical therapists working in a variety of environments. Among other workplaces you may find them in, they will work in schools, clinics, hospitals and sports facilities. They work with an assortment of medical and fitness devices and their job can be physically and mentally demanding as they work with their patients, many of whom have serious medical problems.

Education

To work as a physical therapist, one must obtain a master’s degree in the subject. This requires that a student graduate from a four year university with a bachelor’s degree that concentrates in sports medicine or another similar discipline. A student must apply for a master’s program, which is an intense two year program that teaches subjects such as biomechanics, anatomy and techniques of examination. Students will also spend time in clinical practice with supervision. Upon graduation, a physical therapist must become properly licensed, which means passing an exam.

Job Prospects

Physical therapy is a growing field. There is high demand for this type of work as doctors and other medical professionals recommend physical therapy as a healthy alternative to surgery and prescription drugs. This occupation also sees high demand from aging adults that are more often living active lifestyles that require physical fitness. Many older people are not aware of proper exercise techniques, and physical therapists can set these patients on the right path if that is the case.

Advancement Opportunities

There is a lot of opportunity for physical therapists. Many of them start in a clinic to gain work experience, deciding what they want to focus their careers on. If they decide to work in a hospital they will have potential in moving up the organizational chain to lead people and set policy. Some physical therapists opt to concentrate on something they find enjoyable to them such as working with the elderly. One of the specializations that is popular in physical therapy is working in sports medicine.