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What are the Different Physical Therapy Jobs?

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  • Written By: S. Zaimov
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Physical therapy jobs are widely sought in the fields of fitness and health. Physical therapists (PTs) also help elderly people, accident victims and patients with demobilizing illnesses. These professionals may help to relieve pain, restore physical function and try to maintain their patients’ mobility and fitness levels.

PTs unusually work full-time and are employed at hospitals, clinics, private offices or in homes. Physical therapy jobs are demanding because they require a lot of training, and PTs need to be able to handle sizeable physical loads and strain. Practical knowledge of the different therapeutic equipment is also a necessity. Ultrasounds, machines that provide electrical stimulation to body parts, as well as the use of hot and cold compresses may be used to alleviate pain or restore function in the limbs and joints. Therapists often also teach patients how to use any special gear to assist them, such as wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs, in their daily lives.

PTs typically receive training in a number of different fields, including anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques, and therapeutic procedures. In addition to these education requirements, having a certain level of on-the-job experience is also sometimes needed. This can be achieved through an internship or volunteer work at gyms, high schools or hospitals.

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There are three main types of physical therapy jobs. Physical therapists typically hold a license and a Master's or Doctorate degree, and earn some of the highest salaries. PTs usually work directly with patients to devise individual fitness plans and goals, and monitor their progress.

Physical Therapist Assistants have usually earned an Associate Degree. As an assistant, these workers commonly help PTs to prepare for therapy sessions and may instruct some activities. Physical Therapist Aides typically learn the trade on the job, and help out by doing administrative tasks or preparing the equipment needed in a session.

The availability of physical therapy jobs often depends on the amount of people involved in or in need of therapeutic programs. Typically, the larger the elderly population of an area, the more work there is for PTs. This is often because older people require more physical rehabilitation for age-related health problems, like heart attacks and strokes.

Developments in science and technology frequently provide new opportunities for learning in many physical therapy careers. For example, people working in the field may learn new therapeutic methods from helping patients, such as trauma victims or infants born with physical impairments, who have been treated with state-of-the-art medical advances. Often physical therapists will work with physicians to develop new ways of helping in such cases. More demand for people trained to work in physical therapy careers can also be attributed to the rise in the number of people who are aware of the benefits of such therapy.

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