A physical therapist is the one who treats the patients who have various physical disorders. He is required whenever a patient is recuperating from an accident. He suggests various exercises to help the patient recover from the accident. In fact, the range of a physical therapy job is so wide that these things only partly describe the job profile of a physical therapist. After a major surgery like a bypass or some form of brain surgery, doctors recommend a physical therapist to ensure that the patient responds well to basic physical activities. Even this does not describe the profile of physical therapist to the fullest. Most of the professional sports teams have a personal sports therapist of their own. They are required to keep the players fit and healthy. They suggest various exercises to injured players. They are associated with the team part time or full time depending on the team's requirements and the therapist's availability.
To become a physical therapist, you need to take up various science subjects like chemistry, human development, physics, social science, and biology at a college level. You need a bachelor's degree in physical training. You need to have pursued an accredited course in physical therapy. The American education program recognizes 209 accredited courses. Of them, 43 are master's degrees and the rest are doctoral courses. Master's degrees are of 2 years duration and doctoral courses are of 3 years duration. There are some places that require doctoral level courses to be studied. To start your own practice, you need to pass a license examination. With passing that exam, it is illegal to start your own practice. You need to have excellent grades in your masters in graduation level as the competition in this field is intense.
A physical therapist job description includes myriad skills. You must know the human body well enough. Good oratory skills are very essential. You need to have good analytical skills as different bodies react differently to different injuries and diseases.
During your graduation level, you might apply for an internship in a reputed hospital or rehabilitation center. If you have specialization in a field, it will certainly be helpful. You can specialize in pediatrics, orthopedics, sports, neurology, spinal chord, etc.
There are several options to work as a physical therapist. You can create your own physical training clinic if you have enough capital and if you have built up a good reputation in the field. For that you need to have a good educational background to take patients into your confidence.
You also require experience of working as a trainer or it may be difficult to get started without training. Most big hospitals have therapists of their own. Getting work with one of those hospitals is a good option. Or you can even have a few doctors from different niches coming together to open a clinic if you lack funds.
One really enticing option is to work as a full time or part time sports physical therapist. This is a very lucrative job if you get hired by a high profile team. But for this, you need to be prepared for extensive traveling. You have to be with a team for months at a stretch. If you have made a mark in your field, sports physical therapist can even be hired by teams outside your country.
The average salary is around $65,000 annually. New graduates earn around $45,000 annually while some of the top therapists earn as high as around $100,000 annually.
Physical therapy jobs are one of the fastest growing jobs. In fact, its growth rate is higher than the average growth rate of all the industries and it will only grow further. The increase in elder population will only increase the demands of physical therapists.