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
04.26.2017
PHYSICAL THERAPIST
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...
07.26.2017
Under the guidance of the Manager of Rehab Medicine, and level II and III Physical Therapists, the level I Physical Therapist is responsible for the evaluation and treatment of the patient's needs following disability, injury, disease or...
07.26.2017
A full-time (80 hours per bi-weekly pay) position for an Illinois licensed Physical Therapist. Provides evaluation and treatment of patients requiring physical therapy to inpatients, outpatients, and home health clients.
07.25.2017
The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
07.25.2017
The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
07.25.2017
The Emergency Department Physical Therapist provides a wide range of physical therapy treatments and services to patients in the E.D. and the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury,...
07.26.2017
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 delivery of physical...
07.25.2017
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...
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...
07.26.2017
- Masters degree is required - Licensed (or eligible) as Physical Therapist in the State of VCU Health System's Physical Therapy is seeking a full time Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the delivery of...
07.25.2017
The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
07.26.2017
Under the direct supervision of the Team Leader of Physical Medicine, the Physical Therapist evaluates and treats all patients referred for physical therapy; prepares reports and communicates patient progress to appropriate individuals;...
07.26.2017
- Physical Therapist (1728698) Job Description Physical Therapist-1728698 Description Responsible for evaluating/assessing needs of referred patients and formulating treatment plans. Provides therapy services defined in treatment plans....
07.26.2017
- Physical Therapist (1728699) Job Description Physical Therapist-1728699 Description Responsible for evaluating/assessing needs of referred patients and formulating treatment plans. Provides therapy services defined in treatment plans....
  1. PHYSICAL THERAPIST Cincinnati, OH TriHealth
    PHYSICAL THERAPIST
  2. 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...
  3. Physical Therapist Tulsa, OK Oklahoma State University Medical Center
    Under the guidance of the Manager of Rehab Medicine, and level II and III Physical Therapists, the level I Physical Therapist is responsible for the evaluation and treatment of the patient's needs following disability, injury, disease or...
  4. Physical Therapist Olney, IL Richland Memorial Hospital
    A full-time (80 hours per bi-weekly pay) position for an Illinois licensed Physical Therapist. Provides evaluation and treatment of patients requiring physical therapy to inpatients, outpatients, and home health clients.
  5. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
  6. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
  7. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Emergency Department Physical Therapist provides a wide range of physical therapy treatments and services to patients in the E.D. and the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury,...
  8. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA 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 delivery of physical...
  9. 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...
  10. 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...
  11. Physical Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    - Masters degree is required - Licensed (or eligible) as Physical Therapist in the State of VCU Health System's Physical Therapy is seeking a full time Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapist is primarily responsible for the delivery of...
  12. Physical Therapist Indianapolis, IN Eskenazi Health
    The Physical Therapist provides a wide range of medically prescribed physical therapy treatments and support services to both in and outpatients, in order to restore function and prevent disability following injury, disease or loss of body parts....
  13. Physical Therapist Lake Charles, LA Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
    Under the direct supervision of the Team Leader of Physical Medicine, the Physical Therapist evaluates and treats all patients referred for physical therapy; prepares reports and communicates patient progress to appropriate individuals;...
  14. Physical Therapist Oklahoma City, OK AllianceHealth Deaconess
    - Physical Therapist (1728698) Job Description Physical Therapist-1728698 Description Responsible for evaluating/assessing needs of referred patients and formulating treatment plans. Provides therapy services defined in treatment plans....
  15. Physical Therapist Oklahoma City, OK AllianceHealth Deaconess
    - Physical Therapist (1728699) Job Description Physical Therapist-1728699 Description Responsible for evaluating/assessing needs of referred patients and formulating treatment plans. Provides therapy services defined in treatment plans....