Physical Therapy Profession Overview
What Is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. Physical therapists diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to people at the end of life. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions that need treatment. But PTs also care for people who simply want to become healthier and to prevent future problems.
Physical therapists examine each person and then develops a treatment plan to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists can have a profound effect on people’s lives. They help people achieve fitness goals, regain or maintain their independence, and lead active lives.
Work Enviroment & Specializations
Physical therapists work in hospitals, private practices, home health agencies, outpatient rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and medical clinics. They are on their feet for the majority of their working day, and often need to use their bodies to work with patients – including needing to lift or move them. A typical day shift, weekday work schedule can be expected, but some work settings may require evening or weekend hours.
With certification, physical therapists can specialize in a particular area, including:
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary
- Clinical electrophysiology