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Everything You Need to Know About Physical Therapist Jobs

Research the job role, duties, and application tips for working in physical therapy.

When choosing a career path to walk down, many decide to follow their dreams of helping others in their personal wellness. With so many other facets of health professions out there, a great one to consider would be a role as a physical therapist. You’ll get to use your technical knowledge and training to rehabilitate others.

What is a physical therapist?

A physical therapist (PT) is in charge of diagnosing, educating, and treating patients who are recovering from an injury or seeking better health habits. 

Duties of a physical therapist:

  • Consulting with patients about their ailment
  • Assessing their needs and diagnosing
  • Creating step by step plans for their recovery
  • Teaching patients how to execute prescribed exercises or stretches
  • Meeting regularly to check up on patient’s progress and recovery

What is the job outlook for physical therapists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the role of physical therapist is supposed to grow about 22% from 2018 to 2028.

How much do physical therapists get paid?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for physical therapists was $43.00 as of May 2019, but may be more depending on where you live. That’s about $89,440 per year.

Where can I work as a physical therapist?

On the list of employers hiring on Handshake, there are many places hiring physical therapists:

  • ScribeAmerica
  • Invo Healthcare
  • Cambrian Homecare
  • Sparrow Health System
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute

Other places to apply for “physical therapy jobs near me” in your city include:

  • Nursing homes
  • Local sports teams
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals

What should I put on my resume?

Many places hiring physical therapists are looking for similar skill sets in resumes, but what makes the right candidate is listing the right skills you can offer.

List your past experiences 

Even if you’ve never held a physical therapy job before, you definitely have skills from past experiences you can offer alongside your degrees and certifications. From volunteer work, to clinical experiences that you did–there are always skills you can pull from your life that apply.

Consider listing some of these skills that might make you a better candidate:

  • Knowledge on procedures and standards
  • Great communication and people skills
  • Punctuality
  • Attention to detail
  • Awareness of the differing needs of all of your patients 

Technical skills

If this won’t be your first role as a physical therapist, then you may have some technical skills from previous hospitals or clinics to add to your resume. It’s always a good idea to mention that you have strong communication skills, know how to assess all of your patient’s needs, and have had experience managing multiple patients at a time.

What should I write in my cover letter?

Though you might be applying for an entry level physical therapist position, that doesn’t mean there aren’t others trying to secure the same role as you. It’s important in your cover letter to stand out and show what you can offer. Not only is it recommended that you list skills and experiences you’ve had, but also the willingness to learn and grow. By letting them know that you’re motivated to get started, they might be more inclined to meet you in person and see if you’re the right fit. 

Check out this article with proper formatting techniques and more in depth information about the perfect cover letter.

What is it like to work as a physical therapist?

Physical therapists spend a majority of their time tending to the needs of their patients and creating rehabilitation plans for them to follow. Depending on your job specialization, you could be working with a wide variety of people–from nursing home residents to professional athletes.

Where do physical therapists work?

Physical therapists can work in a variety of places:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Sports and fitness establishments
  • Outpatient care

How do I become a physical therapist?

Even if you’re still an undergraduate student, there are still things you can do to assist your journey to your future physical therapist job. 

First steps to becoming a physical therapist:

  • Pick an undergrad major that will give you a solid foundation like biology, kinesiology, exercise science, or psychology
  • Network with your classmates and professors as someone could connect you with a great opportunity down the line
  • Browse and apply to some great internships for your resume
  • Reach out to physical therapists you admire and ask to shadow them for a week to get a feel of your future day to day
  • Organize your applications to physical therapy schools early to avoid stressing out
  • Create a study schedule for your physical therapist licensure exam

What does a physical therapist major in?

Common majors for physical therapists:

  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Kinesiology
  • Psychology
  • Exercise Science