Physical Therapy Specialists have licensed health care professionals that treat individuals with musculoskeletal disorders, neuromuscular disorders, and injury. Physical Therapy is often called upon to assess and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system. In addition to therapy, physical therapists perform a variety of interventions that target the injured area and prevent further injury. These include using massage, manual therapy, and stretching exercises to aid in the rehabilitation of an injured patient.
There are many different specialties within physical therapy. Physical Therapy Specialists can perform a wide variety of therapeutic interventions for pain relief, but most specialize in one specific technique. A Physical Therapy Specialist may use manual therapy, weight training or stretching techniques to help improve movement, function, health and function of the musculoskeletal system. In some cases, Physical Therapy Specialists may also prescribe exercise programs for patients. They are usually monitored by a qualified physician and often receive continuing medical education to ensure their skills are still at peak levels. Below is an example of a few different physical therapy specialties that a Physical Therapy Specialist could specialize in.
An Advanced Practice Physician, also known as APPs, is one of the newest forms of physical therapy. As its name suggests, APPs are certified by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). An Advanced Practice Physician (APP) has completed all the education and training required to be a Physical Therapy Professional (PT). Furthermore, an Advanced Practice Physician must achieve a certain level of experience in the specialty to become eligible for certification. Advanced Practice Physicians can diagnose and treat a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders of the cardiovascular system.
Physical Therapy Advanced Practice Physicians work under the supervision of PT as one of their primary practitioners or they may work in a clinic as an independent therapist. Most Physical Therapy Advanced Practice Physicians completes an associate’s degree in Physical Therapy before pursuing formal college courses or research. They normally begin as PT’s assistant at a PT school or facility. After becoming a Physical Therapy Professional (PTR), a Physical Therapy Advanced Practice Physician can open his or her own practice. Some Physical Therapy Advanced Practice Physicians also chose to work at hospitals as a registered Physical Therapy Specialist.
Physical Therapy Interns (PTI’s) perform a variety of duties for PT’s working in rehabilitation settings. Physical Therapy Interns are typically involved in the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with disorders or injuries that affect their functioning or mobility. A Physical Therapy Intern will work closely with PT’s and their doctors to develop individualized treatment plans for each patient. Physical Therapy Interns perform clinical duties in the office and may assist with equipment or diagnostic tests in the field. However, Physical Therapy Interns are not licensed to provide specific procedures such as actual surgery or medications.
There are some who believe that Physical Therapy Specialists should not be required to have a license as they are essentially assistants who assist physical therapy professionals in their work. This is contrary to how licensing is generally handled in the medical field. Physical Therapy Specialists are required to take a national board certification exam in order to be certified to practice physical therapy.
Physical Therapy may be divided up into specialized areas such as orthopedics, pediatrics, neurological surgery, geriatrics, cardiovascular and weight loss therapy, sports medicine, and pediatricians. The number of these specialty areas and the specific areas that Physical Therapy Specialists may work in may vary from state to state. It is possible that some Physical Therapy Specialists work in more than one specialty area. Physical Therapy is a relatively inexpensive career and can be very rewarding, however, it can be challenging to find a job as physical therapy therapists often times have to take time off from work while they are taking care of their patients.
Physical Therapy Specialists often receive on-the-job training in health care settings such as doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, schools, and military facilities. In most instances, physical therapy specialists are required to take continuing education courses as well in order to maintain licensure. The good news is that there are employment opportunities for physical therapy specialists. Consider pursuing a career in physical therapy.