JOBS the TIPS SPECIALTY CERTIFIED 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, Monster.com contributing writer Moving toward the future Physical therapists in demand as job availability grows Is it for you? By Melissa Erickson More Content Now F 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 therapists. 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 education to help you restore and improve motion, 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. Half page ad 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 said. “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 lives.” 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.
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