What Physical Therapists Do

Physical therapists test muscle strength, the amount of flexibility in joints, and the ability to walk or move. Treatments include exercises to increase strength, range of motion, endurance, and coordination; the use of heat, cold, electricity, or even aquatics to relieve pain; and teaching exercises and body mechanics to avoid injury or regain function.

Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants work not only in hospitals but also in sports medicine, home health, nursing homes, school systems, and private offices. There are many jobs currently available in the field of physical therapy, and an increasing demand for therapists is predicted.

Since this position requires physical interaction with patients, Physical therapists are highly connected with patients and build stronger patient relationships than most other health sciences specialists. Often, physical therapy patients are dealing with pain, so sensitivity is important. Equally important is giving patients the drive and support they need to work hard and regain their health.

Types of Work Environments:

  • Hospital
  • Nursing home
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Private practice
  • Industry
  • Sports medicine

Education Requirements:

Physical therapists earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT), or a Master of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT), all of which are graduate-level degrees.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for physical therapists is approximately $99,710 per year.

Professional Organization

The American Physical Therapy Association

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