The demand for physical therapists is growing dramatically as a large proportion of the population ages, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting an extraordinary 25% increase in physical therapy jobs between 2016 and 2026. Physical therapy plays an integral role in both preventative medicine and rehabilitation. Physical therapists examine and evaluate a patient’s physical functionality and provide treatment plans to decrease pain, improve mobility, and mitigate symptoms related to disease or injury. Working with patients to improve physical health can be a rewarding career for those with a service orientation who enjoy enriching the lives of others. Physical therapists also need to possess critical thinking ability so that they can evaluate and solve the problems of their patients.
All states require physical therapists to be licensed, and many require a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. DPT programs are generally 3-years, and most of these programs require applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree. Some physical therapists may go on to complete a residency in physical therapy, after which they may decide to become more specialized through a fellowship. After completing training, physical therapists must be licensed by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination.
Aside from in-depth scientific knowledge and problem solving abilities, physical therapists need to be patient, relaxed, and cooperative around their patients. Two tests that employers most frequently administer to physical therapy candidates are the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) and the Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP). The CCAT measures general intelligence, or the ability to solve problems, learn new skills, and think critically. The CSAP is a personality test that evaluates how well-suited a candidate’s personality traits are for a position requiring heavy interaction with customers.
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Rank in HireSelect:
223 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2016-2026:
Number employed (2016): 239,800
Education level of Physical Therapists: