At a Glance
Years in School (after high school graduation):
$32.60-$71.55 (Mean $48.35)
One-page Description (PDF):
Physical Therapists (PTs) examine and treat people of all ages who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Individual treatment programs can include many forms of exercise (such as strengthening, balance, flexibility, postpartum, sport specific, and even relaxation exercises), as well as include the use of physical agents and manual therapies. The PT often provides instruction and home programs to patients and their families to continue the recovery process after therapy has ended. The job responsibilities of a PT are often physically demanding and require that most therapists be in good physical condition.
PTs may choose to pursue an area of special interest such as sports medicine, cardio-pulmonary related problems, neurology, and may specialize in providing care to a particular population such as children, adults and the elderly.
Physical therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home and public health agencies, athletic departments, schools, and private physical therapy practices. In rural Alaska, PTs generally work in hospitals located in regional centers. They are also employed by school districts to assess and treat children. These services may be provided to small areas by a traveling PT.
- Graduation from high school with coursework in English, science, and math.
- Completion of a four year bachelor degree.
- Completion of prerequisite courses specific to each program. Many programs also require the GRE exam.
- Completion of a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program is required. Some programs offer a master’s degree, but a majority of programs now offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) with the master’s degree being phased out.
- PT licensure is required by all states. After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national exam and be approved by their state’s licensing board.
There are no physical therapy programs in Alaska. For a list of accredited physical therapy programs in the United States, visit the American Physical Therapy Association’s website: http://www.apta.org/ (see Prospective Students). Programs are sorted by state.
Information about individual program requirements can be found on the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service website: http://www.ptcas.org/home.aspx
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 684-2782
Toll free: (800) 999-2782
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