Physical therapy is a health care profession aimed to the treatment and management of the diseases or conditions that limit patient’s abilities to move and perform functional activities in their everyday life. Being a physical therapist is very noble call since these professionals help people to reach their maximum potential, to reduce pain, move, and restore functions of certain parts of the body and to prevent patient’s disability. Physical therapists are providing services where movement and function are threatened by various elements such as aging, injury, disease or even environmental factors.
Education for physical therapist
Whoever wants to become physical therapist must first graduate from a physical therapist educational program with a master's or doctoral degree. These classes normally include chemistry, biology and physics along with very specialized courses, tailored especially for this profession, such as biomechanics, neuro-anatomy, pathology, human growth and development, various therapeutic procedures and examination techniques. Before starting to work as professionals, graduates need to pass national and state licensing exams. In many states, graduates are required to take continuing education classes and attend workshops. Some physical therapists may specialize and get additional certification such as gerontology, sports physical therapy, pediatrics, orthopedics, etc.
A Day of a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists work in either a hospital or private office settings. They typically see about ten patients per day. These patients are visiting physical therapists to recover their bodies from an injury or disability, to build flexibility, strength and spirit. Physical therapist has to be very sensitive not only for the physical limitations of patients but also for their emotional limitations. Sometimes, the patients are coming right after traumatic injuries, and physical therapists are those who need to reassure the patients that they will eventually recover. A special type of personality is therefore required for this job, since the patient’s progress is often measured in very small increments, and all of the unselfish support means a lot. One of the major daily tasks of physical therapists is therefore, to motivate the patients to work on their improvement. This profession is associated with a lot of emotional strain, but it is also physically demanding. Physical therapists are using their muscles all day long, they often have to lift or to support their patients, and they are standing a lot, crouching or bending. Last but not the least, a part of their work schedule is reserved for paper work, especially filling progress reports and insurance claim forms.
In 2009, physical therapists earned a median annual salary of $74,480. The demand for this type of professionals is gradually increasing.