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Physical Therapist

physical therapist_profile_image


Help patients recover from physical illnesses, injuries, or surgeries.

Salary Range

$71,670 - $101,790

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

What does a Physical Therapist do?

Physical therapists help patients who have medical issues, injuries, or illnesses that inhibit their ability to move freely. You might work with someone who has temporary back problems due to a car accident, an elderly person with arthritis, or a person who has been confined to a wheelchair his whole life. No matter who you’re dealing with, it’s your job as a physical therapist to improve that person’s ability to move and function in his daily life.

Your job starts with a medical chart. For each new client, you need to understand what exactly her injury is and what treatments she’s done in the past. Once you understand what you’re dealing with, you create a plan for improving health. You deal with things like improving the client’s mobility, flexibility, or motor control; always working to decrease the client’s overall pain.

There are a number of ways to accomplish your objectives. You might use massage therapy, whirlpool baths, different weight exercises, or aerobic workouts to make a client stronger and feel healthier. Throughout the therapy you keep detailed reports tracking and monitoring progress.

This job is a physical one. You show patients how to perform different exercises, serve as a spotter as they go through their prescribed fitness regime or even be the one to physically move their muscles to strengthen them when they can’t themselves. In addition to showing different exercises, you make sure clients understand how to use and clean their equipment—things like crutches, wheelchairs or artificial limbs.