Discover Exciting Career Paths With a Doctor of Physical Therapy

Discover Exciting Career Paths With a Doctor of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a specialized form of care available to patients recovering from an illness, injury or who have been diagnosed with a mobility-limited condition. Through physical therapy, patients receive hands-on care from qualified professionals who know how to utilize specific exercises to restore mobility, improve function and reduce pain.

If you are interested in a hands-on profession that allows you to have a direct impact on the livelihood of your patients, then you may be interested in exploring career options with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Unfolding the Path to Physical Therapy

The field of physical therapy combines the power of medicine with the science of exercise and movement, providing you with an opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, to become a physical therapist you must earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and become licensed in the state you intend to practice.

Importance of a Physical Therapy Degree

There are many career options with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, thanks in large part to the skills-based nature of this degree program. Within your DPT degree program, you will enjoy a problem-based curriculum that prioritizes clinical reasoning and individualized treatment for all patients. This gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

The Journey From Bachelor’s Degree to DPT

To apply to a DPT degree program, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Many of the top DPT programs require candidates to have completed prerequisite courses in chemistry, biology, physics, psychology and statistics, so a bachelor’s degree with a strong science and math background is preferred.

Delving Into the Diverse Careers in Physical Therapy

Within the world of physical therapy, there are many opportunities to specialize. These are some common career options with a Doctor of Physical Therapy to consider:

Physical Therapist – A Versatile Healer

A physical therapist is a medical professional who works with individuals injured or suffering from serious health conditions. They provide personalized treatment plans designed to improve function and mobility.

Specializing in Geriatrics – Healing With Age

A geriatric physical therapist provides physical therapy treatment services to elderly patients. Geriatric physical therapists often focus on areas such as bone health, joint pain, arthritis and health conditions associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s.

Pediatrics – Treating the Young Ones

Pediatric physical therapists work primarily with children under the age of 18, often helping them improve mobility after a sports injury or recover from a surgical procedure. They may also work with children who have genetic health conditions or chronic health conditions.

Sports Physiotherapist – The Backbone of Athletes

Sports physiotherapists are specialized physical therapists who work with athletes to prevent sports injury or to help them recover from a serious injury. They strive to not only improve functionality but also improve athletic performance.

Clinical Researcher of Physical Therapy

Clinical researchers in the field of physical therapy work to develop advanced treatment options and protocols for physical therapy patients. Clinical researchers in physical therapy may focus on topics such as muscle strength, range of motion and pediatric developmental patterns.

Exploring Unconventional Careers in Physical Therapy

In addition to the standard Doctor of Therapy careers, you also may consider some of these unconventional options:

Clinical Electrophysiology – The Science of Healing

Clinical electrophysiology is a specialty area within the field of physical therapy. Professionals who specialize in this area use advanced techniques that rely on electricity to monitor, measure or produce physiologic responses.

Oncology Physiotherapy – Aiding the Battle Against Cancer

Oncology patients learning how to live with cancer or working toward full mobility during their recovery can benefit from the help of oncology physiotherapists. Oncology physiotherapists provide specialized care that complements other acute care treatment options, such as chemotherapy or radiation.

How to Embark on Your Career in Physical Therapy

The first step on the path toward becoming a physical therapist is to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. From there, you can choose to specialize your career.

The Importance of Licensing and Certification

Per reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all states require physical therapists to be licensed and certified. This helps to standardize the care that patients receive and ensure that all patients receive high-quality, effective treatment.

Residency and Fellowships – The Path to Specialization

Physical therapists who want to specialize in particular areas, such as oncology, geriatrics or pediatrics, may have to complete a residency or fellowship to do so. During residency and fellowships, you will have the opportunity to work with physical therapists daily and develop the specialized skill set needed for your chosen niche.

What Is the Job Outlook for Physical Therapists?

BLS notes there is an increased demand for qualified physical therapists around the country. The field is expected to grow by about 15 percent between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than average when compared to all other occupations.

What Are the Essential Qualities of a Successful Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists spend most of their time working directly with patients, making compassion one of the most important qualities of a successful physical therapist. You also should have the dexterity and physical stamina necessary to help patients complete their treatment plans each day.

Are There Opportunities for Growth in the Field of Physical Therapy?

The field of physical therapy is growing, providing qualified physical therapists with opportunities to specialize in the field and take their career to new heights. Advancing technology and innovative treatment options allow you to consider growing your career and pursuing new paths.

Is a Career in Physical Therapy Right for You?

Working as a physical therapist allows you to provide patients with the critical care that they need to live a full and productive life. If you are a compassionate individual who enjoys connecting with people working hard to overcome an illness or injury, then you may find a career in physical therapy to be particularly rewarding. This field allows you to apply your strong background in science and math with the actionable skills acquired throughout your Doctor of Physical Therapy program, giving you a chance to blend your academic strengths with your professional passions. With a wide range of specialty areas to choose from, you are sure to be able to carve a path forward that feels meaningful and rewarding.

Prepare for Doctor of Therapy Careers at Marymount University

At Marymount University, we offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program anchored by a skills-based curriculum and offers a learning-in-context environment, giving you the chance to become a forward-thinking leader in the field of physical therapy.

Request more information about how you can begin your DPT career at Marymount University today.