The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects physical therapy to grow by a whopping 36 percent from 2012 to 2022, well above the average of 12 percent forecast for the same period for most occupations. It is anticipated that most physical therapists will work full-time in either physical therapy offices, hospitals or nursing homes.
In general, physical therapists review medical histories, meet with patients, and design appropriate treatment plans based on their findings. They may need to review their plans with other therapists, aides and family members. They will use what are called “modalities,” or varied types of treatments such as exercises, stretching, and ultrasound equipment to assist patients. They will periodically evaluate treatment progress modifying care as needed.
To become a physical therapist, a bachelor’s degree is required. It is usually recommended that this degree contain courses in anatomy, biology, physiology, chemistry, and physics. The Doctor of Physical Therapy is generally a three-year course of study after which there may be a clinical internship. Many therapists have already been working in the field while they have been completing their education.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore have the only programs currently for pursuing a Doctor of Physical Therapy here in Maryland. In both locations, the first two years are primarily academic with the third devoted to clinical work.
Additionally, some physical therapists may elect to become specialists in areas such as geriatric, orthopedic, sports medicine, or women’s health to cite a few such specialties available through certification. More specific information about physical therapy and certification may be found at the American Physical Therapy Association.
In Maryland, licensing is handled through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. As with most health professionals, a criminal background check is first required, then the professional examination is administered through the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. There is also a continuing education requirement.
The median salary in Baltimore as of June, 2015 for a physical therapist was $82,217 while the low was $70,418 and the high was $94,950.
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.