What pops into one’s head when thinking of a doctor? Most people say a doctor is the person one goes to visit when they are sick and hands them medicine in order to feel better. What most people may not know is that a Physical Therapist is now required to accomplish a doctorate degree in order to officially become a Doctor of Physical Therapy. From healing the individuals that have broken, fractured or even to helping those with lifelong diseases. Perhaps one of the most important aspects included in this career is the patient. The outcome of whether or not therapy works fluently almost entirely relies on patient participation. Not only are Physical Therapists greatly compensated for their work, but the patient outcome of regaining the strength they once had is perhaps the greatest reward. 

Six to eight years is typically what this career entails. Completing such degrees as a Bachelor’s, Master’s as well as a Doctorate. After completing the doctorate degree, one now has the honor of being a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). As well as the education aspect of being a participant of this career path, after completion, one must go through a series of state and federal certification as well as taking a state exam in order to get a state license. Along with the certifications and state license, a national exam is required in order to be a recognized PT. The national exam is called by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (“Physical Therapist…”). After completion of the education required, a new doctor is born. After years of experience, some physical therapists choose to become a board-certified specialist offered by The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialities. A board-certified specialist can specialize in one of nine different specialties which include sports, orthopedics, and geriatrics. The compensation PT’s receive is quite large considering they are a type of doctor. Physical Therapists usually get paid a median of $91,541 a year. The highest quantity of payment would be as high as $104,437 in the Inglewood, California area (“Physical Therapist in…”). Higher compensation would be determined by the wealth class of the area one is working in. 

Often times, therapy is thought to treat the injured or hurt. Physical Therapists treat a lot more people than one may think. No one goes without the equal attention from a PT; from the elderly to the hurt to the medically disabled even to individuals with body affecting diseases. The elderly seem to need the most aid from a PT, due to their rapid loss of strength and ability. Regaining strength and muscle is a major part in the rehabilitation process. A patient walking through therapy often times needs more help and support regaining strength than anything else. Most hear or see an individual going to therapy because of something they suffered. Unlike an injury or fracture, a stroke is both serious and harmful event that can cause lifelong defects, or in most cases, the worst punishment of all, death. Individuals with strokes and or minor heart attacks visit a DPT’s office daily. The loss of strength, movement, and guidance often come with a stroke. Strokes are the leading cause of disability. 75% of the 550,000 individuals who survive a stroke go on to live with varying degrees of impairment or disability (“Analysis of the Relationship…).

Perhaps what most of the career consists of is patient participation. “ The goal of a physical therapist is to promote the patient’s ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability” (Ross). However, This cannot happen if the patient does not go through with his part of the deal. The patient is not only the person who gives the PT work but also is the most important factor when determining the success of the treatment. The experience one has at a PT office does not depend so much on the DPT as it does on the patient. Participation of the patient very often determines the length of the stay, the effectiveness of the stay and the experience of the stay (“Significance of…”). Whether it be a good or bad experience the therapists cannot do much for an individual if they do not participate.

According to recent studies done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physical Therapy is in good hands in terms of future jobs. Between 2014 and 2024, Physical Therapist jobs will skyrocket by 34% . Approximately 210,900 licenced PTs are currently employed. That number will increase to an astonishing 282,700 by the year 2024. (Ross) Physical Therapy is not only well recognized for their work in the field of medicine, but has also been recognized nationally by mainstream media. Big names such as Forbes and CNN took some time to polish up the career of Physical Therapy in the media. “Forbes ranked physical therapists as having 1 of “The Ten Happiest Jobs,” according to articles published in 2013 and 2011. CNNMoney.com gave physical therapists a grade of “A” in Personal Satisfaction in 2012, as well as in its “Benefit to Society” categories.” As if the media polishing was not enough, more than three quarters of Physical Therapists polled to be “very satisfied” with their occupation (Ross).

However, according to DPT Peter Christakos expresses his opinion towards the rapidly increasing profession. He describes the altering of PT class sizes in order to fulfill the fast growing student clusters. Christakos goes on to compare the profession of Physical Therapy to a bubble. The significance of a larger class size to the ongoing growth class sizes comes without saying. However, Peter does give a valid point when expressing that Physical Therapists hold the future of the profession in their hands. The supply and demand curve of future jobs in the field is meant to be untouched by PTs (Christakos). By increasing class volumes, the supply demand would be shooting up, leaving demand to catch up by itself. Christakos sketches the bubble of the profession,and asks “Will we [PTs] let it burst?” (Christakos)

Having the opportunity to change one’s life go many ways. Physical Therapists aid those in need to positively impact their life. The hefty compensation goes without saying when speaking in terms of the patient’s progress and accomplishments during the rehabilitation process. The outcome does in fact affect the outcome of the treatment. Unlike other occupations, PTs can not do much for an individual if the patient does not cooperate. A Doctor of Physical Therapist plays a major part in the world of health care. The regaining of strength and ability of an individual who was once as strong as an ox  could not be done without a DPT.

Works Cited

Christakos, Peter. “When Will the Bubble Burst?” PT in Motion. 

-ade4-b3de755e27db%40sdc-v-sessmgr03 . 23 July 2019

K, Janet. “Analysis of the Relationship Between the Utilization of Physical Therapy Services and     

Outcomes for Patients With Acute Stroke.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 1 Oct. 1999, www.academic.oup.com/ptj/article/79/10/906/2842426 . Accessed 23 July 2019

“Physical Therapist Salary in Inglewood, CA.” Salary.comwww.salary.com/research/salary/benchmark/physical-therapist-salary/inglewood-ca?personalized. Accessed 23 July 2019

“Physical Therapists : Occupational Outlook Handbook:” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm. Accessed 23 July 2019

Ross, Libby. “Benefits of a Physical Therapist Career.” APTAwww.apta.org/PTCareers/Benefits/. Accessed 23 July 2019

“Significance of Poor Patient Participation in Physical and Occupational Therapy for Functional Outcome and Length of Stay.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, W.B.  www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0003999304004307. 23 July 2019