CareerGPS

Physical Therapists
Summary Occupational Forecast Data for Physical Therapists
Employment Employment Change Average Annual Job Openings Wage & Training Levels
2018 2023 Numerical Percent New Jobs Replacement Jobs Total Median Hourly Median Annual Training Levels
1,145 1,338 193 16.82% 39 51 89 $46.99 $97,736 Doctoral or professional degree
Description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.
Staffing Pattern Data Forecast Data Source: EMSI (2nd Quarter 2018)

Occupation Details

The information in this section represents occupational characteristics included in O*NET which defines key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called "descriptors". These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described in greater detail in the O*NET Content Model. All items are listed in descending order of importance.

  • Plan, prepare and carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain and prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
  • Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
  • Administer manual exercises, massage or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
  • Confer with the patient, medical practitioners and appropriate others to plan, implement and assess the intervention program.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
  • Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
  • Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
  • Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, and respiratory and circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • Identify and document goals, anticipated progress and plans for reevaluation.
  • Provide information to the patient about the proposed intervention, its material risks and expected benefits and any reasonable alternatives.
  • Inform patients when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy and refer to appropriate practitioners.
  • Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
  • Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet and infrared lamps, and ultrasound machines.
  • Teach physical therapy students as well as those in other health professions.
  • Evaluate, fit, and adjust prosthetic and orthotic devices and recommend modification to orthotist.
  • Provide educational information about physical therapy and physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics and ways to promote health.
  • Refer clients to community resources and services.
  • Conduct and support research and apply research findings to practice.
  • Direct group rehabilitation activities.

Knowledge

88%
Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
87%
Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
86%
Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
83%
Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
76%
English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
72%
Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
58%
Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
54%
Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
50%
Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills

81%
Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
78%
Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
75%
Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
72%
Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
69%
Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
69%
Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
65%
Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
65%
Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
65%
Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
65%
Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
65%
Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
60%
Operations Analysis - Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
60%
Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
56%
Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
56%
Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
56%
Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
56%
Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
53%
Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
50%
Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
50%
Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Abilities

78%
Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
78%
Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
78%
Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
78%
Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
75%
Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
72%
Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
69%
Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
69%
Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
65%
Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
62%
Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
62%
Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
60%
Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
60%
Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
60%
Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
56%
Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
56%
Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
53%
Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
53%
Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
53%
Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
53%
Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
50%
Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
50%
Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
50%
Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes compa
50%
Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Work Activities

93%
Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
91%
Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
90%
Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
89%
Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
83%
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
82%
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
80%
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
78%
Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
77%
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
77%
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
77%
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
72%
Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
72%
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
70%
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
69%
Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
69%
Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
69%
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
68%
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
68%
Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
66%
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
66%
Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
66%
Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
64%
Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
62%
Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
62%
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
59%
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
59%
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
57%
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
57%
Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
56%
Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
54%
Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
51%
Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
51%
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Title Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
Overall Experience Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
Job Training Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include librarians, lawyers, aerospace engineers, wildlife biologists, school psychologists, surgeons, treasurers, and controllers.
Education Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Interests

Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outsi
Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Styles

Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Work Values

Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.