Physical Therapy Industry

the TIPS
Stand out with physical therapy certification
Board-certified therapists stand out from their peers, considering fewer than 10 percent of the roughly
66,000 members of the American Physical Therapy Association have obtained this voluntary advanced
credential. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties offers seven specialty certification areas.
– Cindy Mehallow, contributing writer
Moving toward the future
Physical therapists
in demand as job
availability grows
Is it for you?
By Melissa Erickson
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inding a job isn’t
hard if you’re in the
right profession,
and right now careers
in physical therapy are
ample and available.
U.S. News and World
Report ranks physical
therapist as a top 10 job,
coming in at No. 7.
“It ranks so high mainly
because of job availability,” said Marc Goldstein,
senior adviser, clinical
practice and research,
with the American Physical Therapy Association.
“Recent research we have
done shows that there is a
shortage of physical therapists, and the shortage
will likely worsen in the
next 10 years. As the population continues aging,
the number of jobs should
increase with the demand
for physical therapy services.”
The outlook is so bright,
“most students don’t have
to send out resumes. They
often get hired on where
they do their internships,”
said Anthony Delitto, professor and chairman of the
Department of Physical
Therapy at the University
of Pittsburgh, a top train-
Physical therapist Cara Troutman Enseki assists a client in a gym.
Therapists are in close physical contact with patients, and the outlook
is bright for those seeking physical therapy careers. Courtesy of UPMC
ing school for physical
What do they do?
Physical therapists
help their patients move
and function to the best
of their abilities whether
they’re recovering from
a fall or an accident, or
dealing with back, neck
or knee injuries, stroke or
diseases such as multiple
sclerosis or Parkinson’s.
They are neuromuscular and skeletal experts
who treat patients with a
nonpharmacological or
surgical manner, and they
often work in partnership
with doctors and surgeons, Delitto said.
Physical therapists
have the most specialized
to help you
restore and
said Erin Wendel, senior
media relations specialist
with the American Physical Therapy Association.
All physical therapists
are required to receive a
graduate degree — either
a master’s or a clinical
doctorate — before taking
the licensure exam that
allows them to practice.
Most physical therapists
graduating today have a
doctor of physical therapy
(DPT) degree.
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Physical therapists are
in closer physical contact
with patients than many
other segments of the
health care field. They
enjoy helping people and
like to interact closely with
people often on a daily, ongoing basis and/or for an
extended period of time,
Delitto said.
“That’s what attracts
people to the field,” he
“Physical therapy is a
dynamic profession, with
an established theoretical
and scientific base,” Wendell said. “In order to successfully affect this kind
of change, physical therapists must be educators
and encouragers. They
must also be oriented to
each individual, be supportive, compassionate
and determined. And as
leaders in health care,
they very often walk the
walk by being physically active in their own
While physical therapy used to be a profession found mainly in a
hospital setting, now
jobs tend to be in a private, outpatient setting,
Goldstein said.
“Something like twothirds of APTA’s members
are practicing in outpatient settings, and that
percentage continues to
rise,” he said.