A rehabilitation therapist, also known as a physical therapist, is a health and wellness specialist trained to assist, diagnose and treat individuals with mobility problems caused by injury, illness or accidents. Some of their numerous responsibilities include: examining clients, developing treatment plans, training patients on safe therapeutic exercises and supervising assistant staff.
To help achieve their career objectives, rehabilitation therapists frequently apply their experience and training in several areas, such as: anatomy, physiology, biology, neuroscience, pharmacology and more. To secure a position as a physical therapist, individuals could benefit from the following:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, all 50 states require licensing for rehabilitation therapists. Although testing specifics and eligibility may vary, typical state requirements include taking and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination, graduating from an accredited physical therapy program and completing continuing education courses.
Rehabilitation therapists are responsible for evaluating and diagnosing mobility impairments resulting from strains, fractures, sprains, burns, diseases, birth defects and numerous other conditions. Based on their examinations, they recommend and administer therapeutic exercises and other forms of appropriate treatment.
Rehabilitation therapists work in a variety of settings, including:
Many rehabilitation therapists work standard eight-hour work weeks. However, those operating part-time or as private practitioners may be required to work extended hours or weekends to accommodate the scheduling needs of their client base.
Job openings for rehabilitation therapists are predicted to grow much faster than average. Demand is expected to be particularly strong for professionals specializing in treating elderly patients, as well as those with advanced knowledge of rehabilitative services for cardiac conditions, traumatic injuries and birth defects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rehabilitation therapists earn an average annual salary of $60,300 to $85,540. Professionals working in the top 10 percent of the industry’s wage scale earn more than $104,350 annually.