Physical Therapists
SOC: 29-1123.00


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.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
210,900 employed

Projected (2024):
282,700 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapist
  • Chief Physical Therapist
  • Geriatric Physical Therapist
  • Home Care Physical Therapist
  • Kinesiotherapist
  • Orthopedic Physical Therapist
  • Outpatient Physical Therapist
  • Pediatric Physical Therapist
  • Per Diem Physical Therapist
  • Physical Therapist (PT)
  • Physical Therapist, Director of Rehabilitation
  • Physiotherapist
  • Pulmonary Physical Therapist
  • Registered Physical Therapist (RPT)
  • Rehabilitation Services Director
  • Sports Physical Therapist
  • Staff Physical Therapist (Staff PT)
  • Treatment Coordinator

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed


    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.


    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).

    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.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Fine Arts
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • 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.
  • Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
  • Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
  • Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
  • Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
  • Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
  • Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • 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.
  • Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
  • Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
  • Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
  • Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.
  • Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
  • Refer clients to community resources or services.
  • Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
  • Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
  • Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices.
  • Direct group rehabilitation activities.
  • Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Above-the-knee prosthetics
  • Adjusting tables
  • Aquacisers
  • Arm prosthetics
  • Axial-resistance shoulder wheels
  • Babinski hammers
  • Balance beams
  • Balance boards
  • Below-the-knee prosthetics
  • Biomechanical ankle platform system BAPS systems
  • Blood pressure cuffs
  • Bolsters/wedges
  • Canes
  • Cervical pivots
  • Compression garments
  • Computerized dynamic posturography (CDP) balance test systems
  • Continuous passive motion CPM machines
  • Crutches
  • Cryotherapy equipment
  • Diathermy equipment
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital inclinometer range of motion measurement instruments
  • Digital video cameras
  • Digital video equipment
  • Electromyographs EMG
  • Electronic blood pressure units
  • Electronic manual muscle testers
  • Exercise balls
  • Exercise bicycles
  • Fitness machines
  • Fluidotherapy equipment
  • Force sensors
  • Functional electrical stimulation FES equipment
  • Gait belts
  • Goniometers
  • Heart rate monitors
  • High-voltage Galvanic stimulation machines
  • Hospital roto beds
  • Hoyer lifts
  • Hydraulic hand dynamometers
  • Hydrocollator heating units
  • Ice packs
  • Infrared lamps
  • Interferential electrical stimulation machines
  • Inversion physical therapy tables
  • Iontophoresis equipment
  • Isokinetic lower body testing/rehabilitation equipment
  • Isokinetic upper body testing/rehabilitation equipment
  • Isotonic exercise equipment
  • Knee braces
  • Laptop computers
  • Laser printers
  • Low volt muscle stimulators
  • Lumbar pivots
  • Massagers
  • Mechanical stethoscopes
  • Moist hot packs
  • Multiaxial exercise equipment
  • Muscle strength dynamometers
  • Muscle testing equipment
  • Neck braces
  • Neurological hammers
  • Neuromuscular stimulation equipment
  • Occipivots
  • Orthotics
  • Otoscopes
  • Paraffin baths
  • Parallel bars
  • Pelvic traction equipment
  • Percussion hammers
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistants PDA
  • Phonopheresis equipment
  • Portable cardiac monitors
  • Powder boards
  • Pulley exercise systems
  • Reachers
  • Rebounders
  • Resistive exercise bands
  • Resistive tubing
  • Rowing machines
  • Sacro-illiac joint lumbar corsets
  • Shoulder finger ladders
  • Shoulder wheels
  • Sliding boards
  • Standing tables
  • Stepper exercisers
  • Surface electromyography equipment
  • Swiss exercise balls
  • Therapeutic treadmill exercisers
  • Thoracic pivots
  • Tilt tables
  • Total lift chairs
  • Traction and mobilization physical therapy tables
  • Traction belts
  • Traction equipment
  • Training stairs
  • Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation TENS equipment
  • Ultrasound machines
  • Ultraviolet UV lamps
  • Upper body ergometers
  • Walkers
  • Walking braces
  • Wall pulleys
  • Weights
  • Wheelchairs
  • Whirlpool therapy baths
  • Advantage Software Physical Therapy Advantage
  • Biometrics video game software
  • Cedaron Dexter Evaluation & Impairment Rating
  • Clinicient Insight
  • Exercise routine creation software
  • Hands On Technology TheraWriter.PT
  • MediGraph software
  • MEDITECH software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Recordkeeping software
  • Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite
  • SpectraSoft AppointmentsCS

  • healthcare practitioners and technical

    industry stats

    SOC: 29-0000

    Total Employed: 8,021,800

    Average Annual Salary: $77,800