The PT Profession

According to the American Physical Therapy Association's Guide to Physical Therapist Practice (2003), physical therapists diagnose and manage movement disorders. They improve and restore physical function and are uniquely qualified to promote health and fitness and to prevent injury, illness, and disability. After examining a patient and establishing a physical therapy diagnosis, prognosis, and plan of care, the physical therapist utilizes a variety of interventions to restore, improve, or maintain the patient's functional status. These interventions include:

  • therapeutic exercises
  • training in functional tasks
  • manual therapy
  • the use of ice, heat, electricity, sound, and/or light-based modalities
  • prescription of assistive devices (such as walkers, canes, or crutches)
  • prescription and fabrication of splints, braces, or other supports
  • airway clearance techniques
  • wound care

Physical therapists practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, schools, home health agencies, and occupational/industrial environments. Physical therapists are educated at the post-baccalaureate level and are required to be licensed in the state in which they practice.

Physical therapists are in demand, and the profession is commonly listed as a "hot job" for those entering the profession. The APTA maintains a list of recent articles about the profession on its website.

Other sites of interest: