Facts About Physical Therapists
Who We Are
Physical Therapists (PTs) are licensed health care professionals who diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional status in all age populations. Following an examination of individuals with impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities or other health-related conditions, physical therapists design individualized plans of physical therapy care and services for each patient. Choosing from a broad array of physical therapy interventions, PTs alleviate impairments and functional limitations as well as promote and maintain optimal fitness, physical function and quality of life as it relates to movement and health. PTs also implement services to reduce risk and prevent the onset and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from injury, disease, disorders, and other health conditions.
What We Do
Physical Therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, birth defects such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida, and injuries related to work and sports. Physical therapy care and services are provided by physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunction and use interventions to treat patients/clients. Interventions may include therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive devices and equipment, physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities.
Where We Practice
Physical Therapists practice in hospitals, outpatient clinics or offices; inpatient rehabilitation facilities; skilled nursing, extended care or sub-acute facilities; patientsí homes; education or research centers; schools; hospices; industrial workplaces or other occupational environments; fitness centers; and sports training facilities.
Education & Licensure
The minimum educational requirement to become a physical therapist is a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited education program. The majority of programs offer a masterís degree, but a growing number offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national examination for licensure. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a national professional organization representing more than 63,000 members throughout the United States. The Associationís efforts are directed toward serving its members and the public by increasing the understanding of the physical therapistís role in the nationís health care system and by fostering advancements in physical therapy education, practice, and research.