Physical Therapists (PTs) work closely with patients to restore, maintain, and promote their overall fitness and health. Patients may include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions such as low back pain, fractures, head injuries, arthritis, heart disease, and cerebral palsy.
PTs examine patients’ medical histories, then test and measure their strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration, and motor function. They also determine the patient’s
ability to be independent and reintegrate into the community or workplace after injury or illness. Finally, they
develop treatment plans describing a treatment strategy, its purpose, and the anticipated outcome. (Taken from explorehealthcareers.org)
There are many different settings in which physical therapists work. Some are listed below:
- Acute Care
- Rehab/Sub Acute Rehab
- Extended Care Facility /Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing Facility
- Private Practice
- Ambulatory Care
- Federal/State/County Health
- Industrial/Occupational Health
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
As of 2015, all accredited and developing physical therapist programs are DPT programs. The DPT degree currently prepares students to be eligible for the PT license examination in all 50 states. After completing a DPT program the doctor of physical therapy may continue training in a residency and then fellowship. As of December 2013, there are 178 credentialed physical therapy residencies and 34 fellowships in the US  with 63 additional developing residencies and fellowships. Credentialed residencies are between 9 and 36 months while credentialed fellowships are between 6 and 36 months.