Physical therapists (PTs) are medical professionals who work with patients to strengthen the musculoskeletal system and increase mobility. The thing about physical therapy is that it is not as restrictive as many people think. There are lots of different physical therapy jobs that fall outside the typical definition of such work.
New and veteran physical therapists can visit a website like Health Jobs Nationwide and find a variety of interesting and rewarding physical therapy job opportunities. Below is a description of just some of the types of jobs a physical therapist can take. They are in addition to opening an independent practice and treating patients alongside other therapists and therapy assistants.
Outside of clinical practice, the physical therapy job most of us think of most relates to hospital rehab. PTs work in hospitals alongside patients recovering from a variety of illnesses and injuries. For example, it is not unusual for a PT to work with a patient after a serious car accident. The PT might help the patient regain use of arms, legs, etc.
PTs also help hospital patients rehabbing from surgery. Take a patient who had hip surgery, for example. That patient will need PT to regain full strength in the affected joint. In some cases, a patient might need help learning to walk comfortably with the new joint.
Sports Training and Rehab
Physical therapists are very involved in professional, amateur, and college sports. Teams playing everything from football to baseball bring PTs on board to assist with training and injury rehab. At the highest levels, some of these PTs are full-time employees of their teams.
Another possibility in the sports realm is to open an independent practice that specializes in sports injuries. A sports-specific clinic might be where all of the student athletes in town go for their physical therapy. The clinic owner might be contracted by a local amateur team to provide exclusive PT services as well.
It should be noted that therapists may be required to undergo additional training before they can get a job related to sports medicine. The chances of needing extra training go up with the competitive level of the athletes being treated.
Physical Therapy at Schools
Public schools around the country provide special services to those students who need them. In some cases, those services include physical therapy. Students are provided with therapy in addition to traditional classroom work as a means of learning to become more mobile.
In most cases, these are not students rehabbing from a particular illness or injury. Rather, they are students who come to the school system already dealing with disabilities. Incorporating physical therapy into the school day allows the students to get the necessary education without having to miss an excess amount of time accessing therapy off campus.
Extended Care for Seniors
We have seen a growing demand in recent years for PTs in skilled nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Under both settings, therapists provide extended care for aging seniors. This type of care can mean the difference between being permanently bedridden and enjoying a fuller life at a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Physical therapy is critical for seniors. If they do not keep moving, seniors can lose mobility. Their overall health is also likely to decline without adequate exercise. Thus, there are additional motivations to provide them with physical therapy.
A new physical therapist can certainly open an independent clinic. But owning a clinic is not absolutely necessary. There are more than enough PT jobs out there. It is a matter of finding one you like and going and getting it.