What do they do?

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.

Also known as:

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

Typical Wages

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Physical Therapists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment in CA

No Data Available
  • 19.3%

    Change

    Ranks #37 in job growth rate
    1,550

    Job Openings

    Ranks #2 in net job growth

Best colleges for Physical Therapists

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Education Level

Percent of workers in this field with these degrees:

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree  (47%)
  • Master's degree  (21%)
  • Bachelor's degree  (26%)
  • Associate's degree  (3%)
  • Some college, no degree  (1%)
  • High school diploma equivalent  (1%)
  • Less than high school diploma  (1%)

Typical College Majors

Most Popular Majors that prepare Physical Therapists

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People in this career often have these skills:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • 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.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • 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.

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Develop medical treatment plans.
  • Examine patients to assess general physical condition.
  • Analyze patient data to determine patient needs or treatment goals.
  • Record patient medical histories.
  • Enter patient or treatment data into computers.
  • Train patients, family members, or caregivers in techniques for managing disabilities or illnesses.
  • Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.
  • Evaluate patient outcomes to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Treat patients using physical therapy techniques.
  • Process healthcare paperwork.
  • Test patient heart or lung functioning.
  • Supervise medical support personnel.
  • Establish treatment goals.
  • Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.
  • Communicate health and wellness information to the public.
  • Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.
  • Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources.
  • 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.
  • Design public or employee health programs.
  • Advise others on matters of public policy.
  • Direct healthcare delivery programs.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 28.1 Database 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

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Logo Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

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