The main part of a physical therapist’s (PT) job is to help their patients return to full activity. Most of the time they work with patients who are recovering from surgery, which can be both athletes and nonathletes. They help the patients relearn how to walk and run if they had surgery on their leg, or to write if they have surgery on their hand or arm. PTs work closely with surgeons for rehabilitation both before and after to strengthen muscles and regain full movement. They examine and determine each patient’s needs and set goals for the patient. The PT monitors the patient’s progress throughout their recovery and changes the patient’s plan if necessary.
PTs have many different treatments that they use on their patients. Massaging and whirlpool baths to loosen and relax muscles are just two of the many treatments PTs perform daily. They also use ice or cold water baths to reduce swelling and heat to relieve pain. One form of strength training that is common for PTs to use is water therapy in exercise pools if the patient cannot walk yet. After a patient’s surgery, their PT will massage the scar tissue to keep it from hardening and making the scar bigger. A PT will work with athletes after an injury so they can regain coordination, strength, endurance, range of motion, and flexibility.
PTs can work in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or fitness centers, but they often work in weight facilities so their patients can do their strength training. Occasionally PTs will go to the patient’s home if they are unable to leave due to their injury. Most PTs work a normal 40 hour work week but some will work from ten in the morning to seven at night so patients can come after work. A PT’s salary can range from $55,000 to $112,000, but the average salary is $80,000. Position, experience, and salary are all things that contribute to how much a PT gets paid. Salary can also depend on what state a PT practices in and what setting they work in, a hospital or a school.
Since I now know what physical therapists (PT) do daily, I can figure out how the career fits and does not fit me. Some of my strongest skills are my communication and ability to talk to people. PTs are always working with people, so they have to be good communicators. They are always with their patients, so they have to be able to create small talk and keep a conversation going. When I took the interest profiler and career cluster surveys, social was one of my top categories in both of them. I also had a score of 75 in social on my values survey. This shows that I would be good in a career that requires me to be social.
A PT has to excel in both science and English, which I do. PTs take many science classes including biology and physiology. They also need good speaking and grammar skills, because they are required to write notes for their patients and the surgeons they work with. On my ACT, I scored a 23 on the science...