A Career in Physical Therapy: More Flexible Than You Think
Jan 28, 2019
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, there could be a serious shortfall of licensed Physical Therapists by the year 2020. Some calculations made by APTA in its latest supply and demand projection predicted a shortfall of over 40,000 PTs in America. If you are looking to change careers, considering one in physical therapy would definitely be a wise one. With an obvious demand, flexibility, and most importantly the satisfaction that comes from helping thousands of people overcome painful and limiting afflictions, physical therapy may just be the career move you have been looking for. Although many Physical Therapists practice in hospitals, there are several other settings in which a PT can work. Schools, fitness centers, private homes, rehabilitation facilities, and workplace environments are just a few of the different locations where you find PTs hard at work. As societal norms continue to evolve, and more emphasis is placed on our general well-being, PTs can be sure to find many new areas in which to practice as well.
What Will My Job Be?When most of us think about physical therapy, the idea of rehabilitating an injury is the only thing that immediately comes to mind. However, being a Physical Therapist is much more than just injury rehabilitation. Pain relief, mobility improvement, disease management, and overall quality of life improvement are positive spinoff specialties that have skyrocketed in demand over the last decade. As more and more people seek the treatment of a PT, your job is to diagnose a patient's problem, design a plan or treatment to alleviate that problem and carry that treatment plan out to its inevitable positive outcome. Your job will entail meeting with your patient and conducting various diagnostic tests that include range of motion and strength tests, which will aid in your patient diagnosis. Not only do you have the opportunity to identify an issue and rectify it for your patient, but your plan will also be designed to prevent any recurring symptoms in the future. Helping people overcome disabling pain and immobility is your primary goal and a career you can be proud of. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists recognizes eight different specialties in which a therapist can become certified to stretch his or her career path even further. These specialties include:
- Geriatrics: Focuses on the treatment of age-related mobility needs and pain management; these may include treatment of the effects of osteoporosis, joint replacement, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and others;
- Cardiovascular and Pulmonary: Focuses on the treatment of heart attack victims, patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and patients suffering from pulmonary fibrosis;
- Neurology: Focuses on the needs of patients with an array of neurological disorders including spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy;
- Pediatrics: Focuses on the needs of children from infants to adolescents; these may include treatment for birth defects, limb deficiencies, muscle diseases, and genetic disorders; and
- Orthopedics: Focuses on the treatment of the patient's musculoskeletal system; this includes strengthening exercises and the use of ultrasound imaging.