Careers in Physical Therapy

by Barbara Foster

Physical therapists experience a high level of job satisfaction and have a positive job outlook, but becoming a physical therapist is not easy. Individuals interested in pursuing careers in the field of physical therapy must first obtain a master's or doctoral degree in physical therapy. For admission, Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree programs typically require that certain courses have been completed at the undergraduate level in areas like biology, anatomy, and physical therapy. Once a degree has been earned, an individual may want to complete a residency program to gain experience in a specialty field. Finally, one must pass exams at the national and state level to become licensed before practicing as a physical therapist.

There are a wide variety of career opportunities available in the field of physical therapy. Physical therapists can find work in a number of different settings, including private practices and clinics, hospitals, nursing and assisted living facilities, universities, and the armed forces. The ability to work in such diverse environments is widely considered one of the advantages of a career as a physical therapist. There are also a number of areas in which physical therapists can specialize. Some common specialty areas include sports medicine, geriatrics, cardiopulmonary, orthopedics, neurology, pediatrics, and women's health.

The Internet can be a terrific resource for finding information on careers in physical therapy: