Career Detail


Physical Therapist
Physical therapists provide services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease.
The Job
Therapists examine patients' medical histories and then test and measure the patients' strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. Next, physical therapists develop plans describing a treatment strategy and its anticipated outcome.
Work Environment
Physical therapists practice in hospitals, clinics, and private offices that have specially equipped facilities. They also treat patients in hospital rooms, homes, or schools.
College Majors
master's degree and doctoral degree
Minimum Qualifications
Individuals pursuing a career as a physical therapist usually need a master's degree from an accredited physical therapy program and a State license, requiring passing scores on national and State examinations.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Physical therapists also should be compassionate and possess a desire to help patients.
Quick Facts
  • Employment is expected to increase much faster than average.
  • Job opportunities should be good, particularly in acute hospital, rehabilitation, and orthopedic settings.
  • Typically, a master's degree from an accredited physical therapy program is the minimum level of education for individuals pursuing a career as a physical therapist.
  • About 6 out of 10 physical therapists work in hospitals or in offices of physical therapists.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of physical therapists were $72,790 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $60,300 and $85,540. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $50,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $104,350.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
Average growth Average growth
Declining job market Declining job market
No growth No growth
Dead end profession dead end profession

H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
Masters Degree Masters Degree
Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD Doctorate,MD,PHD,JD

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