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Physiotherapists or physical therapists as known in the United States, treat people who are affected by illness, injury, or disability by using movement, and exercise, manual therapy, education, and advice. They look after the health of patients from all age groups, by helping them manage pain and prevent disease.

Job Description:

As a physiotherapist, you will need to:

  • Work with patients and their families/caretakers for weeks or months to investigate and correct their physical problem

  • Review and develop treatment programs in discussion with patients, which would inspire the exercise and/or movement by utilizing a variety of techniques

  • Treat patients with spinal and joint problems, including post surgery pains

  • Help with patients' rehabilitation after accidents, injury and stroke

  • Provide assistance in supervising and educating:

    • Students

    • Junior physiotherapists

    • Physiotherapy support workers

  • Write the patient case notes/reports and collect statistics

  • Educate patients and their caretakers on how to prevent and/or improve conditions

  • Keep themselves updated with new techniques and technologies available for patient treatments

  • Communicate with a wide range of patients, caretakers, and healthcare team members

  • Interact with other healthcare professionals for exchanging information about the condition and improvement of patients

  • Be legally accountable

  • Provide care, compassion and strive to be professional at all times

  • Manage all clinical risks

How to Become a Physical Therapist?

Educational Requirements:

In the United States, curricula for PTs (Physical Therapists) and PTAs (Physical Therapist Assistants) has received accreditation by CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education). Physical Therapist Assistants generally graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

License and Certification:

After graduating from an accredited program, PTs and PTAs need to clear the NPTE (National Physical Therapy Examination) for obtaining a license to practice. Each state has a regulation for physical therapy licenses independent of each other and hence, the specific requirements for license and renewal differ from state to state.

Physical Therapist education also includes clinical internships that are essential towards the end of the professional degree. During this time, the doctoral intern will work in different settings for a given time period. Upon graduation from an accredited program and obtaining the license, a Doctor of Physical Therapy candidate can continue his/her education by joining a residency program or fellowship.

A license needs to be obtained in each state in which a physical therapist practices and it needs to be renewed regularly, with most of the states requiring continuous education as a prerequisite for renewal. PTs need to practice physical therapy within the scope of state licensure laws:

  • Entire physical therapy practice act

  • Associated rules: Laws governing physical therapy practice within a state

Job outlook and opportunities:

Employment opportunities for physical therapists are anticipated to grow by 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average of all the occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will grow from the aging baby boomers, who are more active than their counterparts. Additionally, physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues arising from chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of United States Department of Labor, the average annual pay for a physical therapist is $79,860 which equals $38.39 per hour.


Average Pay                                                    : $79,860

Education                                                        : Doctoral or professional degree

Number of Jobs, 2012                                   : 204,200

Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022         : 36%

On-the-job training                                       : None

Work Experience                                           : None