Physical Therapy Careers

female physical therapist talking A career as a Physical Therapist after graduating with a Psychology degree

Once you graduate with a Psychology degree, you might consider a career as a Physical Therapist (PT). A PT does a variety of tasks. As health care professionals they diagnose and treat people of all ages who have conditions limiting their movement and ability to carry out basic functions in their life. PTs work with these individuals to help them deal effectively with these limitations. This can include athletes with specific injuries, the elderly and individuals with certain diseases. As far as where PTs work, the locations vary a lot including hospitals, private practices and nursing homes.

Just to be clear, a PT is not an occupational therapist (OT). Although both may use similar techniques sometimes it is important to understand that a physical therapist works with people to help them regain physical abilites (e.g., mobility, strength, balance and flexibility). Conversely, an OT works with the environment in order to help people deal in an easier way with with daily activities. In addition, an OT receives specific training concerning those who have mental and emotional problems.

To be a PT you must go to graduate school. One thing to keep in mind if you want to go to PT graduate school is that you will need to take certain courses that Psychology majors may not take. These include STEM courses like Anatomy, Biology, Physiology, Chemistry, and Physics. It is very important to know that PT programs in the US now only offer the Docotor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. These programs typically last 3 years and include a clinical internship. Keep in mind that when you go TO PT school, it is generally expected that you will be a full-time student. In addition when you attend PT school tuition waivers, scholarships and stipends (a payment granted to a student) may be available but you need to check with the schools you are considering. Finally, to be a PT you must be licensed by the state you plan to practice in.

Salary Information

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median yearly income for an Physical Therapist at $89,000.

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