Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.
Sample of reported job titles: Acute Care PT (Acute Care Physical Therapist), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), Home Care Physical Therapist (Home Care PT), Inpatient Physical Therapist (Inpatient PT), Outpatient Physical Therapist (Outpatient PT), Pediatric Physical Therapist (Pediatric PT), Registered Physical Therapist (RPT), Therapist
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
- Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
- Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient’s chart or enter information into computer.
- Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
- Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
- Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
- Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
- Obtain patients’ informed consent to proposed interventions.
- Test and measure patient’s strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
- Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
- Review physician’s referral and patient’s medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
- Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
- Provide information to the patient about the proposed intervention, its material risks and expected benefits, and any reasonable alternatives.
- Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
- Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.
- Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
- Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
- Refer clients to community resources or services.
- Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices.
- Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.
- Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
- Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
- Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
- Direct group rehabilitation activities.
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- Accounting software — MediGraph
- Action games — Biometrics video game software
- Analytical or scientific software — Cedaron Dexter Evaluation & Impairment Rating
- Calendar and scheduling software — SpectraSoft AppointmentsCS
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Medical software — Clinicient Insight; Medical procedure coding software; MEDITECH software ; Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite (see all 10 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Exercise routine creation software; Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Therapy and Counseling — Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Medicine and Dentistry — Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures, and their history and origins.
- Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
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- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Record patient medical histories.
- Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
- Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
- Develop medical treatment plans.
- Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
- Process healthcare paperwork.
- Treat patients using physical therapy techniques.
- Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
- Evaluate patient outcomes to determine effectiveness of treatments.
- Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
- Train patients, family members, or caregivers in techniques for managing disabilities or illnesses.
- Supervise medical support personnel.
- Test patient heart or lung functioning.
- Establish treatment goals.
- Communicate health and wellness information to the public.
- Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
- Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
- Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
- Operate diagnostic or therapeutic medical instruments or equipment.
- Fabricate medical devices.
- Adjust prostheses or other assistive devices.
- Advise medical personnel regarding healthcare issues.
- Train medical providers.
- Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
- Advise others on matters of public policy.
- Design public or employee health programs.
- Direct healthcare delivery programs.
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- Contact With Others — 94% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Physical Proximity — 93% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 82% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Deal With External Customers — 78% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 73% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 62% responded “Very important results.”
- Telephone — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 47% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 55% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Electronic Mail — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 61% responded “More than half the time.”
- Consequence of Error — 40% responded “Very serious.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 32% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 36% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 31% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 38% responded “About half the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 46% responded “More than half the time.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 23% responded “Every day.”
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|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
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Interest code: SIR Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
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- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
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|25-1071.00||Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary|
|25-1072.00||Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary|
|29-1122.00||Occupational Therapists Bright Outlook|
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$43.75 hourly, $91,010 annual|
|Employment (2020)||239,200 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Much faster than average (15% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||15,600|
|Top industries (2020)||
Health Care and Social Assistance
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
- American Occupational Therapy Association
- American Physical Therapy Association
- International Association for Dance Medicine and Science
- National Athletic Trainers’ Association
- National Strength and Conditioning Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physical therapists
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This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.