Physical Therapist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Physical Therapist

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Physical Therapist Job Description

 

Physical therapists (PTs) work closely with clients, patients and their families to promote, restore and maintain overall wellness and fitness, the goal being a more active, more satisfying lifestyle. Physical therapists provide specialized services that help improve mobility, help improve or restore function, relieve pain and discomfort, and reverse or marginalize physical disabilities that result from disease or injuries. Patients that physical therapists work with may include the following:

  • Victims of accidents

  • Individuals with disabling diseases

  • Patients with acute or chronic low back pain

  • Victims of fractures

  • Patients with head injuries

  • Arthritis sufferers

  • Patients with heart disease

  • Children and adults with cerebral palsy

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Responsibilities

 

The PT will use the finding from this thorough examination and his or her evaluative judgment to determine a patient’s diagnosis and accompanying prognosis, and develop a plan of care that describes evidence-based strategies for treatment. The PT will also describe the functional outcomes expected from the treatment. The PT will include in the plan of care a determination of the patient’s projected ability to function independently and potential for reintegration into the community and workplace after illness or injury.

Some of the common tasks a physical therapist may be expected to perform include:

  • Taking the patient’s or client’s history

  • Conduct a review of systems exam

  • Perform tests and measures on strength

  • Assess range of motion

  • Evaluate balance and coordination

  • Assess posture and overall muscle performance

  • Evaluate respiration

  • Perform tests to measure motor function

  • Identify potential and existing problems

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Skills

 

Physical Endurance

A PT must be able to be physical for many hours to help their patients as needed. They must be able to bend, twist, lift, crouch, kneel, push/pull, and the agility to move quickly and ensure patient safety.

Record-keeping

Must be able to collect and integrate patient histories to solve problems and develop treatments.

Emotional Stability

Must be able to handle the emotional stress of working with impaired patients in need of compassionate health care.

Multitasking

The ability to prioritize and manage multiple tasks simultaneously. 

Interpersonal

Must be able to interact with patients and their families regardless of background.

Reasoning

Must be able to apply facts and principles to issues to determine conclusions and solve problems. They must use knowledge and logic to find patters in injuries and determine causes and provide solutions.

Communication

Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas to gauge patient's issues and convey to them the best path to treatment.

Empathy

Must be compassionate and able to empathize with a patient's pain and other difficulties. They are able to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves and let people know they care.

Patience

They must understand it takes time to see results and be willing to put in that time. They also must help their clients have patience--especially if they are trying to overcome a difficult injury.

Problem-Solving

Must be able to use knowledge to gauge issues and determine the best route to recovery.

Dexterity

Must work well with your hands and be nimble. You will be put in situations where physical therapy is a must.

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Working Conditions

 

Physical therapists (PTs) may find opportunities for employment in any of the following settings:

  • Hospitals

  • Home health agencies

  • Public or private outpatient clinics

  • Private doctor’s office or physical therapy offices

  • Public or private schools, colleges and universities

  • Fitness and sports facilities

  • Skilled nursing facilities

  • Assisted living centers

Most full-time physical therapists work a standard 40-hour week. This may include some evening and weekend or holiday rotations.

A physical therapy position can be physically demanding, requiring the PT to frequently kneel, stoop, crouch, lift or stand for long periods of time. Physical therapists are also expected to move heavy equipment around and lift patients when needed. They also assist patients with turning, standing and walking.

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
09.18.2017
The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
09.18.2017
The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
09.18.2017
The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
09.18.2017
VCU Health System - Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Stafford Therapy Center located in Stafford, Virginia, is looking for a PRN (works on an as needed basis) Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the...
08.04.2017
$10,000 Sign On Bonus Clinic seeking a highly motivated Physical Therapist. Seeking a highly motivated, experienced Physical Therapist for busy outpatient orthopedic clinic in the Brockton-South Easton, MA Region. Under the supervision of the...
06.14.2017
Seeking a highly motivated, experienced Physical Therapist for busy outpatient orthopedic clinic in the Brockton-South Easton, MA Region. Under the supervision of the Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, evaluates, plans and provides direct...
06.15.2017
Physical Therapist: Responsible for evaluation, planning, directing and administering physical therapy treatments as prescribed by a licensed physician. Administers treatments and physical agents as prescribed by a referring physician in an...
09.18.2017
The Emergency Department Physical Therapist provides a wide range of physical therapy assessments and treatments to patients in the E.D. and the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) in order to restore function and prevent disability following...
09.18.2017
- Licensed (or eligible) as Physical Therapist in the State of - Computer skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required VCU Health System's Physical Therapy is seeking a part time Physical Therapist. The Physical...
09.18.2017
The Acute Inpatient Physical Therapist at Eskenazi Health provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to patients admitted to this Level I Trauma Hospital. The Physical Therapist will have the...
09.18.2017
- Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's OT/PT Outpatient is seeking an hourly Physical Therapist. The Physical...
09.18.2017
Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Fredricksburg Therapy Center is seeking a PRN - Physical Therapist The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the delivery of physical therapy care to the patient population to which she/he...
09.18.2017
- Masters degree is preferred - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience in an acute care setting is preferred - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's OT/PT Outpatient...
09.18.2017
- Masters degree is preferred - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's Acute PT department is seeking a hourly...
09.18.2017
- Masters degree is preferred - Appropriate licensure is required - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's...
  1. PHYSICAL THERAPIST Tifton, GA Tift Regional Medical Center
    The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
  2. PHYSICAL THERAPIST Tifton, GA Tift Regional Medical Center
    The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
  3. PHYSICAL THERAPIST Tifton, GA Tift Regional Medical Center
    The Physical Therapist performs physical therapy evaluations, treatments, and documentation requirements in accordance with professional standard. The Physical Therapist also participates in other departmental duties and activities as needed....
  4. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System - Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Stafford Therapy Center located in Stafford, Virginia, is looking for a PRN (works on an as needed basis) Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the...
  5. Physical Therapist Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    $10,000 Sign On Bonus Clinic seeking a highly motivated Physical Therapist. Seeking a highly motivated, experienced Physical Therapist for busy outpatient orthopedic clinic in the Brockton-South Easton, MA Region. Under the supervision of the...
  6. Physical Therapist Brockton, MA Signature Healthcare
    Seeking a highly motivated, experienced Physical Therapist for busy outpatient orthopedic clinic in the Brockton-South Easton, MA Region. Under the supervision of the Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, evaluates, plans and provides direct...
  7. Physical Therapist Hartsville, SC Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center
    Physical Therapist: Responsible for evaluation, planning, directing and administering physical therapy treatments as prescribed by a licensed physician. Administers treatments and physical agents as prescribed by a referring physician in an...
  8. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Emergency Department Physical Therapist provides a wide range of physical therapy assessments and treatments to patients in the E.D. and the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) in order to restore function and prevent disability following...
  9. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Licensed (or eligible) as Physical Therapist in the State of - Computer skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required VCU Health System's Physical Therapy is seeking a part time Physical Therapist. The Physical...
  10. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Acute Inpatient Physical Therapist at Eskenazi Health provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to patients admitted to this Level I Trauma Hospital. The Physical Therapist will have the...
  11. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's OT/PT Outpatient is seeking an hourly Physical Therapist. The Physical...
  12. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Fredricksburg Therapy Center is seeking a PRN - Physical Therapist The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the delivery of physical therapy care to the patient population to which she/he...
  13. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is preferred - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience in an acute care setting is preferred - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's OT/PT Outpatient...
  14. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is preferred - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's Acute PT department is seeking a hourly...
  15. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is preferred - Appropriate licensure is required - Computer skills are required - Customer service skills are required - Excellent communication skills are required - Experience is preferred VCU Health System's...