I would like to pursue the field of physical therapy. Physical Therapy, by definition, is the treatment of disease through physical means, including light, heat, sound waves, electricity, magnetic field and exercise. Physical Therapy is divided into three broad categories: acute care, neuro-rehab, and outpatient physical therapy. Acute care consists of treating patients in the in-patient, or hospital setting. Patients in the hospital setting are often acutely ill. Patients may range from people in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) to outpatient surgery. Neuro-rehab is a hospital rehabilitation unit generally consisting of patients who have progressed beyond the need for constant supervision that the acute care setting offers. Outpatient therapy is when you work in a physical therapy clinic. They are also the easiest type of clinic in which to become self-employed. I would like to pursue the field of acute care.
To pursue this career you must graduate high school and college. A bachelors degree in physical therapy is minimum. A state license is also required. A degree or certificate from an accredited physical therapy education program is required prior to taking the licensing examination. Physical Therapy is an applied science, not a basic science. Therefore, a physical therapist must have good knowledge of several basic sciences, as well as the ability to apply the principles of basic science to patients. These sciences include but are not limited to, anatomy, biology, microbiology, pathology, chemistry, physics, motor learning and medicines. They also deal with neurology, cardiology and orthopedics.
There are many skills you must possess to become a good physical therapist. Most important is patience. You must be patient with people while trying to heal them. Some physical therapists show frustration when the patients do not show progress. You must have the ability to work with all different types of people, physical stamina and resourcefulness.
Physical Therapy is one of the most rapidly growing occupations in the United States. According to the United States Department of Labor, there is currently a shortfall of approximately 10,000 therapists. It is predicted by the year 2000, there will be over 23,000 unfilled physical therapists positions, due to lack of qualified therapists to fill them.
Starting salaries for new graduates range from 30,000 to 40,000 dollars a year. Pay generally is slightly higher on both the East and West Coast. The average salary is between 60,000 and 80,000 dollars a year. Private practice salaries are in a whole different range. It is not unusual for therapists to earn between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars a year. Private practice does hold much more responsibility and requires much more time and effort.
Physical Therapy offers many personal benefits. It offers good insurance policies and dental and medical plans. You also will receive a good pension when you retire. This job is not right for every person, but if it is right for you, you will succeed immensely. You will enjoy helping others, the variety of your job, and the opportunity to excel in a field of your interest.
Physical Therapy does require physical demands. Therapists often put in long hours at the hospital of clinic. If you choose to work in a hospital, you may have to take the evening shift rotation. Therapists also have to lift and move heavy equipment and move patients. There are mental demands as well. Therapists often find themselves to involved with their patients. You could become discouraged and frustrated. This is why patience is virtue. There is some job hazards. You could become injured while lifting equipment or patients. You could also be sued for malpractice. This is fairly uncommon in the field of physical therapy.
Physical Therapists may advance to higher positions by starting a private practice or specializing in a particular aspect of physical therapy. As you become more experienced your salary raises also. There are many possibilities for advancement in a hospital setting. You could become chief of staff, in charge of the physical therapy wing and so on. While in the field of therapy, you have the choice to change or alter your career. There are many careers closely related to this occupation. They include a massage therapist, chiropractor or athletic trainer.
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