Should I Choose a Career in Physical Therapy?
Are you a people person with an aptitude for science and an interest in helping others? If so, then physical therapy is a good career to consider. To see if you have the appropriate skills and traits, answer these questions:
|Are you willing to dedicate extensive time to post-secondary education?||Yes or No|
|Do you consider yourself compassionate?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds?||Yes or No|
|Is problem solving one of your strengths?||Yes or No|
|Do you have physical strength and stamina?||Yes or No|
|Do you communicate effectively?||Yes or No|
|Are you observant?||Yes or No|
|Do you work well in a team environment?||Yes or No|
|Are you technologically savvy?||Yes or No|
|Do you enjoy science?||Yes or No|
Why Do These Questions Matter?
Are you willing to dedicate extensive time to post-secondary education?
To become a physical therapist, you will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). While you may find schools that offer DPT programs in which you can earn your undergraduate and graduate degree in as little as six years, it is more common to first earn a four-year bachelor's degree and then complete an additional three-year DPT program. If you want to practice a physical therapy specialty, such as pediatric or sports physical therapy, an additional post-graduate one-year residency is typically required as well.
Do you consider yourself compassionate?
Like most medical careers, physical therapy is one in which you can expect to spend a great deal of time with patients who are sick or in pain and need your help. Compassion and empathy are critical.
Do you enjoy interacting with people from a variety of backgrounds?
On any given day, physical therapists may work with patients who vary in age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
Is problem solving one of your strengths?
Physical therapists analyze, evaluate and synthesize data as well as medical histories and physical symptoms to properly diagnose problems and develop appropriate plans of care.
Do you have physical strength and stamina?
As a physical therapist, you will spend much of your time on your feet evaluating and treating patients. You can also expect to provide physical support to patients undergoing treatments and help them manipulate treatment tools, such as exercise balls and balance boards.
Do you communicate effectively?
Physical therapists must listen attentively to patients in order to diagnose and treat their conditions and articulate care instructions clearly to both patients and colleagues.
Are you observant?
Along with listening to what patients tell them, physical therapists must carefully observe physical symptoms during examination and treatment in order to properly diagnose patients and adjust plans of care when necessary.
Do you work well in a team environment?
While physical therapists may choose from a variety of work environments, such as hospitals, clinics and homes, almost all settings require them to collaborate and communicate with peers, physicians, other medical professionals and support staff.
Are you technologically savvy?
As a physical therapist, you will need to be comfortable using a variety of technological tools, such as heart monitors and electrotherapy equipment, along with administrative and medical software.
Do you enjoy science?
Physical therapists must take and pass a multitude of science courses throughout their undergraduate and graduate studies. These include biology, anatomy, physics, biomechanics and neuroscience.
What Do My Answers Mean?
If you answered affirmatively to a majority of these questions, that means you're a strong candidate for a career in physical therapy! Keep in mind that, upon completing your education, you will need to be licensed by your state. If you choose this career, you can expect excellent employment opportunities, as jobs are expected to increase sharply, by 34%, from 2014-2024.