Your Quick Guide to Starting a Career in Physical Therapy


What do Michael Jordan,country singer Randy Travis,我祖母都有共同点吗?

No,this isn't the start of some crass joke.我在找一个真正的答案。


They've all gone to see a physical therapist!That's how wide a range there is in terms of patients that physical therapists work with.对许多从事这一职业的人来说,这也是工作中最好的部分之一。

Yep,one of the best parts of being a physical therapist is getting to work with patients from all walks of life and all with different stories.Not only that,but you get to see them improve physically with your help!

But how,确切地,他们这样做吗?

We'll explore that question and others in this quick guide to starting a career in physical therapy.

What does a physical therapist do?

A physical therapist's work is focused on the human body.They are working with patients to improve mobility,relieve pain,restore function,and/or to prevent disabilities.

They work with patients who have been injured or ill and are often involved in the rehabilitation of patients who have chronic injuries or pains or who have just gone through surgery.

This means that as a physical therapist,you work with alot不同类型的人和身体。Patients can be anyone from professional athletes to people who are just hoping to be able to carry their grandchildren.

The five most common types of physical therapists


This type of physical therapy is focused on improving the use of a person's muscular and skeletal system.It involves work with muscles,肌腱,ligaments,joints,and bones.These therapists often work with people recovering from orthopedic surgery.Their patients also include people suffering from sports injuries,arthritis,other diseases or injuries that affect the muscular and skeletal systems,or amputations.


Geriatric physical therapy is concerned with people going through normal adult aging.This type of therapy will involve practices designed to help to reduce pain,increase fitness ability,提高机动性。Some of the most common conditions treated in this type of physical therapy are Alzheimer's,arthritis,joint replacement,hip replacement,problems with balance,incontinence,and cancer.


Physical therapists who specialize in this area focus on helping patients who have a neurological disease or impairment.一些例子包括ALS,cerebral palsy,multiple sclerosis,spinal cord injury,stroke,paralysis,spinal cord injury,and Parkinson's disease.Neurological physical therapists work to help patients become as independent and self-functioning as possible.


This type of physical therapy focuses on patients who have had any cardiovascular or pulmonary problems.包括心脏病,pulmonary fibrosis,或慢性阻塞性肺病。These therapists will also often work with patients who have undergone any pulmonary or cardiac surgery.


Physical therapists who specialize in pediatrics work with infants,toddlers,children,and adolescents who are experiencing any limited movement or learning disabilities.它们将有助于提高精细和粗大的运动技能,flexibility,strength,以及减轻孩子所感受到的痛苦。They will also work with children who were born with health problems such as spina bifida.


或者我们应该说notso typical day.No day is ever the same because a physical therapist is working with different patients every day.This articleon does a good job of showing how a day may vary depending on the level of the therapist as well as the type of patients they treat.你也需要to check outthis amazing videothat shows you a day in the life of a bunch of different types of physical therapists in their respective locations.

We also conductedour own interviewwith a physical therapist who works at a rehab clinic in Hawai'i.

But the general outline of a physical therapist's day usually starts with doing a patient review—looking over charts,checking on where they are in their therapy.Or,if there's a new patient coming in,learning about their injury and medical history.There's actually a lot of paperwork that goes along with this job.Physical therapists keep very detailed notes and logs of each individual patient,insurance forms,and other types of required medical notes.

When the therapist is working with a patient,they'll diagnose,evaluate,and recommend treatments based on those observations and the background information.A typical session will last about an hour or so and afterwards,the therapist will be sure to make notes on the patient's progress.

Essential skills:

    • People Skills –This is definitely a people-oriented job.You're working with a lot of different people every single day,patients and coworkers alike.You need to be able to get along with a lot of different types of personalities as well as have patience for others' frustrations.
    • Communication Skills –你不仅要容易相处,但你也需要有很强的沟通技巧。The types of treatments prescribed to physical therapy patients are not pills or other medications.They're physical activities and that means,as a physical therapist,you have to be able to communicate clearly enough to teach your patients to do these exercises on their own.
    • Listening and Problem Solving –It's not just necessary to be able to speak and get your point across.You also have to be able to listen and observe your patients,digest that information,and figure out what needs to be done.
    • Physical Skills –In this career,you need more than the soft and hard skills you write on your résumé.You also have to be physically capable of doing your daily work and that means an ability to bend,twist,apply pressure to patients' bodies,balance,stretch,crouch,跪下。Basically you have to be physically fit enough to assist and support any patient in their treatments and exercises.


  • High-Demand Job –随着人口老龄化和人类成为人类,this is definitely not a job that is going "out of style."There is a great need for people who can fix our bodies.
  • No 9-5 Desk Work –这绝对不是你整天坐在桌子后面的工作(我们都知道这对我们来说不是最好的)。You're actively working with patients and constantly moving.
  • 各种特色和地点 Within the field,你可以走很多不同的方向。Like we mentioned above,you can choose to specialize in a certain type of physical therapy and can work in different settings like hospitals,clinics,schools,homes,nursing homes,and private care facilities.


  • Cost of Education –All those years in school are going to add up.There is a big dollar sign when it comes to the cost of learning to be a physical therapist.
  • Limited Opportunity for Career Transitioners –If you discover later in life that you'd actually prefer to work in an office,it's going to be a pretty hefty transition because your skill set is pretty different from that of a 9–5er.
  • Lots of Medical Paperwork –There is alotof important paperwork to go over for each patient.Different insurance companies work in different ways.弄清楚覆盖了什么通常是相当困难的。

Does this career sound appealing,but you're still not sure if you should drop everything,switch your major,and follow this path?In hisinterview,小马尔科·亚当recommends that students go and volunteer at some hospitals or clinics to find out if this is really the career for them.He shares advice on how a student can reach out to a physical therapist as well as what they should do while volunteering.

Homework time!Interested in a career in physical therapy?开始探索不同类型的物理疗法,看看哪个行业最吸引你的注意力。Then follow Marco's advice and start reaching out to hospitals and/or clinics to see if you can volunteer there.


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