What Is a Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, are responsible for the restoration and maintenance of the health and fitness of their patients. Read this article to find out more about the role of a physiotherapist. Schools offering Physical Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

In a career as a physiotherapist or physical therapist, you will use a variety of techniques and exercises to improve the mobility and physical function of your patients. During the first visit with a patient, you will assess mobility and overall physical health, then you'll develop a treatment plan that effectively addresses the individual patient's needs.

From there, you use a wide range of treatments, including massage and hydrotherapy, to improve the patient's mobility and strengthen his or her muscles and joints. You may also use heat packs, electrotherapy and ultrasound in order to reduce pain and swelling.

Throughout the course of treatment, you are responsible for monitoring and documenting a patient's progress. It is part of your job to emphasize the importance of human movement to patients' overall health and well-being. You educate your patients on ways to prevent unnecessary injury and health problems.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education In addition to the doctorate, most take continuing education courses to maintain their licensure
On-the-Job Training Many complete a 1-year residency after receiving doctoral degree
Key Skills Compassion, analytical skills, physical stamina, ability to communicate effectively
Similar Occupations Physical therapy assistant, occupational therapist, chiropractor

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

You may work in a variety of settings, including a clinic, hospital or private office. You may choose to work with patients of all ages or focus on treating a particular age group, such as the elderly. You may also choose specialties in areas such as geriatrics or orthopedic physiotherapy.

Education and Licensure

In order to practice as a physiotherapist, you must first complete a doctoral degree in the field. The courses and clinical experience in doctoral programs prepare you to successfully treat a wide range of conditions and injuries. You must also pass a state-administered licensure exam that allows you to legally practice in your state.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the number of jobs for physical therapists was expected to grow 28% from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). This growth is much faster than average for all occupations and reflects the growth in the aging population, who may have increased needs for physical therapy services, and the increase in people with chronic conditions that require physical therapy.

The BLS reported in May 2018 that the median annual income for physical therapists was $87,930. The 10th-90th percentile of these professionals earned an annual income of $60,390-$123,350.

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