Consider a Career as a Physical Therapist

January 17, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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It’s the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, and the quarterback has broken his ankle.  He’s carried off the field, and he knows that there will be weeks and months of rehab to get his body back to 100%.  He’ll work with a physical therapist to build up his strength and heal his injury.  If you are interested in working with patients who have been injured and want to help guide them back to health through rehab and motivation, a medical career as a physical therapist may be right for you!

Responsibilities and Duties

As a physical therapist, you will encounter a wide range of patients.  Some may be recovering from accidents; others may be geriatric.  Athletes of all ages work with a physical therapist after suffering an injury.  A physical therapist helps his/her patients regain body coordination, build muscle, regain movement and motion, and educate them on how to prevent future injuries. You’ll begin by taking a patient history and performing diagnostic tests and exercises. After collecting all this information from your patient, you’ll create a treatment plan that supports your patient’s healing and recovery.
Work locations vary, but the most common are in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Physical therapy has been lauded as one of the best jobs, as it has low stress, high pay, and high satisfaction among those employed in the field.

Training and Salary

You’ll be in school for a while if you want to become a physical therapist.  Students must complete both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree.  This will take up to six years, though there are combined programs that allow you to earn your Master’s degree in physical therapy in five years.
As a part of your schooling, you’ll participate in an internship that will allow you to practice and perfect your therapy skills and patient interactions. During this time, you’ll hone in on the patient population that you want to work with – orthopedics, geriatrics, pediatrics, athletics, or even our country’s military personnel. You’ll also make valuable contacts that will facilitate your job search.
After your training, you’ll take a licensing exam to become certified to practice physical therapy.  Most physical therapists eventually pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, though this has long been voluntary.  Beginning in 2017, physical therapists will be required to hold a doctorate degree, one that requires a subsequent three years of schooling.  In addition to obtaining your degrees and license, you’ll need to keep your skills up to date with continued medical education.  If you love helping people and learning about new medical treatments and advances, then physical therapy may be the right career for you.
Physical therapy is an in-demand career with low unemployment.  For all your training and hard work, you can expect an average salary of $80,000.  The highest paid physical therapists make over $110,000 per year.  They are also rewarded with the satisfaction of improving the lives of those whose injuries have compromised their health and wellbeing. Imagine how you will feel when you have helped your first patient to learn how to walk again!  There’s no amount of money that will match that feeling.
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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives, and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.