Physical Therapists

Physical therapists, formerly called physiotherapists, are health care specialists who restore mobility, alleviate pain and suffering, and work to prevent permanent disability for their patients. They test and measure the functions of the musculoskeletal, neurological, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems and treat problems in these systems caused by illness, injury, or birth defect. Physical therapists provide preventive, restorative, and rehabilitative treatment for their patients. Approximately 195,670 physical therapists are licensed to practice in the United States.

Next Section: History

Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Establish treatment goals; confer with patient's doctor; involve patients in their care with at-home exercises; manually manipulate patients; provide encouragement and motivation
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions
Minimum Education Level
  • Master's Degree
  • Doctorate
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Health
Experience Clinical experience required
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Helpful
  • Outgoing
Skills
  • Coaching/Physical Training
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Chief Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapy Assistant

Career Update Newsletter

Tips and tools to help you manage your ideal career.