What Careers are in Physical Therapy?

There are office-based and medical-based careers in physical therapy for students who want to help patients regain physical normalcy and rebuild life skills. Keep reading to learn about four of the most common careers in physical therapy for recent graduates.

Referral Coordinator

Referral coordinators are office personnel who also perform receptionist duties. Their work responsibilities require them to multi-task between data entry, answering phones, responding to emails, verifying insurance, making new patient appointments and general administration duties. When they register new patients, they must collect detailed patient information which includes personal, demographic and financial information. They run the front office by facilitating smooth patient flows, anticipating needs and adjusting to delays. They must have outstanding telephone, communication and customer service skills. They must also excel at maintaining high attention to detail within multi-tasking environments.

Physical Therapy Assistant

Physical therapy assistants are supervised by licensed health care providers. They physically assist patients to treatment area and prepare patients for treatment therapies. They assist physical therapists with treatments as allowed by state regulations. Physical therapy assistants liaison between their supervisor and other health care providers regarding the progress and response to treatment of their patients. They are often tasked with maintaining adequate inventory levels in stockrooms and clinic treatment areas. They must be comfortable working with information technology systems and physical therapy equipment. Physical therapy assistants must have the ability to interact and establish good rapport with patients during stressful situations.

Home Care Physical Therapist

A home care physical therapist works directly with clients in their places of residence. Many home care physical therapists contract with nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They participate with teaching and coordinating rehabilitative programs with staff and caregivers. Home care physical therapists initiate, develop and revise plans of care for their patients. This requires them to carefully observe, question and document patient needs and difficulties. Home care physical therapists must be able to work independently, but also with a team of health care providers. They must have strong knowledge of geriatric problems and solutions. These health care professionals are often expected to drive their personal vehicle to visit their patients.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists are licensed health care providers who work directly with physicians to establish treatment plans and goals in addition to evaluating patients and functioning levels, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. They receive referrals from physicians that require them to perform initial evaluations within a few days of receipt and afterwards perform re-evaluations every month. Physical therapists help their patients regain physical functioning through standard rehabilitation tools and techniques. They coordinate care plans with health care providers and adjust treatment plans as requested. They document clinical, progress and observation notes. Physical therapists instruct patients and family members in the use of equipment, safe practices and patient management techniques, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They actively participate in peer and chart reviews as well as case conferences and quality activities.

Related Resource: Become a Realtor

The careers in physical therapy also include physical therapy technician, patient services specialist and occupational therapy aide.

Featured Degree Programs