Physical Therapy

What Can I Do With A Major In Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a health profession concerned with the physical rehabilitation of individuals having limitations resulting from pathological, surgical, or traumatic conditions. The profession also strives to prevent disability in an effort to promote maximum use of an individual's capacities. Physical therapists evaluate persons to alleviate impairment and functional limitation, help prevent disability, and engage in consultation, education, and research.

Physical therapist education occurs at the post-baccalaureate level. After completion of the baccalaureate degree the student will continue their education in either a 2.5 year Master in Physical Therapy program or a 3 year Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Admission into a physical therapist education program is very competitive and requires the completion of a series of prerequisite courses that vary between programs. Applicants are also expected to have volunteer or paid experience under the direction of a licensed physical therapist prior to application for admission into an entry-level physical therapist education program.

Physical therapist assistant education typically occurs at the pre-baccalaureate level requiring 2 years of education at a community college. Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Employment opportunities are very plentiful for both physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Such opportunities are expected to continue to be strong for the future with the aging of the baby-boom generation. 

A Sample of Related Occupations

Types of Employers

Private and Non-Profit Organizations

Private Physical Therapy Clinics
Skilled Nursing Facilities
Fitness Centers
Home Health Agencies
Corporate or Industrial Health Centers
Sports Medicine Centers
Professional Athletic Teams
Colleges and Universities

Government Agencies

United States Military
Indian Health Service
Public School Systems
United States Public Health Service
Veterans Administration

Related Web Links

Professional Associations

For additional career information, see the Occupational Outlook Handbook