Careers in the Licensed Professions

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Print ProfilePDF

Physical therapists focus on restoring, maintaining, and improving a person’s movement and function; this includes treatment to limit disabilities resulting from injury or disease. Physical therapists perform a variety of services:

  • evaluate injuries and develop a plan of care 
  • educate clients about health, wellness, and safety
  • provide manual therapies (e.g., massage and joint mobilization)
  • use physical agents, such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation
  • manage pain and direct therapeutic exercise
  • train patients in daily living activities

Physical therapist assistants practice under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist.


Physical Therapist:

Complete a master’s or higher degree in physical therapy. Note: all active Department-registered PT licensure programs award the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.


Physical Therapist Assistant:

Complete a two-year college program in a Department-registered physical therapist assistant licensure program or equivalent.


Physical Therapist: National Physical Therapy Examination, or equivalent.

Physical Therapist Assistant: National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.






Courtesy of the APTA

Salary and Projected Growth

  • Physical Therapist salary range: $66,850-$100,060
  • Physical Therapist Assistant salary range: $36,000-$63,630
  • Projected growth: much faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Hospitals and outpatient clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Home health agencies
  • Schools
  • Private or group practice

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Preparation in the sciences, including biology and physics
  • Planning and performing health care treatments
  • Rehabilitation

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Time management
  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Communication and interpersonal skills

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a physical therapist about what they do and how they got started! In addition, contact a local clinic to see if it has opportunities for students to observe practice.

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020