Are you planning to pursue a career in physical therapy? This is one of the rewarding careers. A physical therapist salary is one of the best in the healthcare career fields. The median salary is around $76,000 in the United States.
According to national data, physical therapist can expect an entry salary of about $54,000 per year and a high end salary of about $107,000 per year. Physical therapist’s salaries can vary depending on your place of employment and years of experience. For example, those employed in private home-care, nursing homes and in physician’s offices should expect to earn higher income than those working in hospitals. If you are able to open your own practice, you will have the freedom to set your own salary. Generally PTs with their own practices earn more than those working for other people.
Physical therapist job description
So you might be wondering what a physical therapist do. The job description involves a variety of tasks. Primarily, they are responsible for developing programs to help patients with an injury or illness improve their movements and better manage their pains. They are usually an essential part in the treatment and rehabilitation of people with chronic conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, fractures, back pains and most sports injuries. They will be required to work with anyone recovering from an injury that makes it difficult for them to move without a lot of pain.
The duties of this profession are many:
- They must carry out diagnosis of the patient’s movement. This involves asking the patient to stand or walk. This is also achieved by asking questions and listening to their answers.
- They must then create a program for the patient. This includes setting goals and determining the plan to achieve these goals.
- They must then work with the patient to carry out the program. This involves using physical exercises, equipment’s and hands-on approach to reduce pain and increase movement in the patient.
- The physical therapist must monitor the progress of the program and making modifications to it when necessary. They may also need to start a whole new treatment program if the current one does not work.
PTs use many methods when working with patients. They may use heat, cold, equipment and massage.
There can be specialization in this field. This is because treatment will vary from patient to patient. For example, someone suffering from stroke will require a different treatment from someone suffering from a sports injure. So you have specialties such as pediatrics and sports physical therapists.
They may work in teams that can include physicians and other health professionals. They will often work with a physical therapist assistant or aide.
How to become a physical therapist
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The education requirements to become a physical therapist can be a long process. First you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree which takes 4 years. You will then need to enroll in a doctoral program in physical therapy. After earning your doctoral degree, you will be required in most cases to complete a residency program. This can last anywhere from 3 months to 3 years depending on whether you want to specialize or not. Use the forms on this page to find physical therapy programs in any state.
Physical therapist salary in other countries (UK, Canada and Australia)
In Australia, the average physical therapist salary is reported to be about AU$61,000. The salary range is between AU$50,000 and AU$75,000.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the salary of a physical therapist ranges from £21,000 to £40,000 per year. Those working with the UK NHS system should expect a salary of between £21,000 and £28,000.
Physical therapists in Canada, the average base salary is reported to be about CA$59,000 per year. The range is between CA$46,000 and CA$73,000 per year.
Job Outlook: Job opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 29% between 2010 and 2020. The job prospects for physical therapists are very bright. They will always be required to help rehabilitate patients recovering from injuries and illnesses. And with an attractive physical therapist salary, there shouldn’t be any reason why you should not consider entering this profession.