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Summary Report for:
29-1123.00 - Physical Therapists

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

Sample of reported job titles: Chief Physical Therapist; Home Care Physical Therapist; Outpatient Physical Therapist; Pediatric Physical Therapist; Per Diem Physical Therapist; Physical Therapist (PT); Physical Therapist, Director of Rehabilitation; Registered Physical Therapist (RPT); Rehabilitation Services Director; Staff Physical Therapist (Staff PT)

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
  • Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
  • Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
  • Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
  • Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
  • Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Balance beams or boards or bolsters or rockers for rehabilitation or therapy — Balance beams; Balance boards; Bolsters/wedges
Cognitive or dexterity or perceptual or sensory evaluation or testing products — Digital inclinometer range of motion measurement instruments; Electronic manual muscle testers; Muscle testing equipment
Pivotal traction therapy supplies — Cervical pivots; Lumbar pivots; Occipivots; Thoracic pivots
Reflex hammers or mallets — Babinski hammers; Neurological hammers; Percussion hammers
Work tables or stations or accessories for rehabilitation or therapy — Axial-resistance shoulder wheels; Shoulder wheels; Traction and mobilization physical therapy tables; Upper body ergometers

Technology used in this occupation:

Accounting software — MediGraph software
Action games — Biometrics video game software
Medical software — Advantage Software Physical Therapy Advantage; Clinicient Insight; Hands On Technology TheraWriter.PT; Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
Word processing software — Exercise routine creation software

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Knowledge

Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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Skills

Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Abilities

Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

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Work Activities

Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Work Context

Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Related Experience Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.
SVP Range (8.0 and above)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
39   Master's degree
37   Doctoral degree
  Bachelor's degree

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: SIR

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Styles

Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

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Work Values

Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

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Related Occupations

25-1071.00 Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary Bright Outlook
25-1072.00 Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary Bright Outlook
29-1122.00 Occupational Therapists   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $38.96 hourly, $81,030 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 204,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 123,700
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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