Physical therapy is an evidence-based practice where health care professionals diagnose and treat patients with health conditions that hinder their ability to move and perform daily activities. Physical therapy is a cost-effective treatment in pain management, improvement of mobility, and helps reduce the need for prescription drugs and surgery so that a patient can take part in their customized recovery plan based on their needs. Additionally, a physical therapist can an individual avoid the loss of mobility by working out fitness and wellness programs designed to make one have an active and healthy lifestyle. A women’s health PT is a specialist in dealing with conditions that affect women only or that impact them differently than men.
A women’s health physical therapist can have a challenging but hugely rewarding experience in a day from helping patients get relief from arthritis and helping on relearn to walk among others. These practitioners form long-lasting relationships with patients and obtain satisfaction for their hard work when they can finally walk.
- Examine and evaluate the physical therapy needs of a patient.
- Design a physical therapy diagnosis and develop a specific treatment plan to help meet a patient’s health goals.
- Work together with other health care professionals to enhance the effectiveness of therapies.
- Serve as a clinical or non-clinical resource person where subspecialty expertise is required.
- Have a thorough understanding of clinical knowledge and skills concerning patients under their care.
- Having strong communication and interpersonal skills helps cultivate cohesion among colleagues and promote trust from patients under their care.
- Educate other health care workers in their team and the patient/family members about the physiotherapy plan.
Education & Skills Requirements
Upon completing your entry-level training, you can practice in any specialty of physical therapy. You can choose to join niches such as board-certified specialties, fellowships or residencies.
The recent decades have seen significant changes in the educational requirements for a physical therapist. The designation “PT” is used to show that you are a licensed physical therapist. Your level of education reflects on the degree you have acquired and is shown after the letters “PT.” For instance, your names PT, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy).”
Degree, Certification & License
It will take you at least seven years to complete a course in physical therapy. That is 4 years in the undergraduate program and 3 years to earn a DPT. You will spend 80% of your time on classwork while the rest will be spent on clinical education to gain hands-on experience.
You will also require to have board certifications to help you develop specialized knowledge and skills useful to help build a professional reputation. Certification can help you ascend to leadership positions and higher pay. Below are examples of board certification areas:
- Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
- Sports Physical Therapy
- Clinical Electrophysiology
You must have 2,000 hours of clinical experience and pass a written examination to qualify for licensing.
Career Outlook & Salary
There are various opportunities for career growth in physical therapy. You can specialize in multiple specialties and practice in different health care settings in your quest for career advancement. You can venture into health care management in a supervisory role, private practice or academia. We now look at the various specialization areas:
- An orthopedic physical therapist is a specialist in the musculoskeletal system including tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints.
- Geriatric physical therapist: Treats older adults suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis or those recovering from joint replacements.
- Neurological physical therapist: Helps patients who have nervous system impairments such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cardiopulmonary physical therapist: Works with patients who have diseases affecting the lungs and the heart. People who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or have had a heart attack can get help from a cardiopulmonary physical therapist.
Women’s health physical therapists earn based on location and the settings in their workplace. They receive a median annual salary of $86,520 according to our 2021 statistics.
A women’s health physical therapist works in an environment that provides a wide range and flexibility in career options. These specialists work in settings such as:
- Government organizations
- Research centers
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Home health services
- Sports and fitness centers
- Outpatient clinics
Physical therapists, unlike doctors and nurses, do not have night shifts. Their working hours are generally during the daytime from 8 am to 5 pm. However, at times, one may have to start their schedule earlier or extend in the evening to accommodate patients who may have busy working routines.
Career Pros & Cons
- Huge positive impact on the lives of others: You have the power to help those around you achieve their personal goals, which can give a sense of career fulfillment.
- An excellent salary: Physical therapists are among the best-paid people in the medical profession. Your salary scale is influenced by factors such as experience, level of education, specialization, and state of your workplace. You can also supplement your income by taking on part-time jobs since the main job has reasonable schedules.
- Increase in job opportunities: Physical therapy jobs are ever on the rise due to an increase in lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Further, there is a low risk of becoming unemployed due to technological replacement of human labor.
- Variety of workplaces: A physical therapist has a broad range of working environments. As such, you can work from where it is convenient for you. You also get to interact with patients suffering from various conditions, which helps increase your exposure.
- Prospect of starting your own practice: If you have capital, you can venture into private practice.
- Long time in school: It takes a bit longer to study physical therapy. You will have to spend more time in a physical therapy school after undergraduate studies.
- A demanding job: Physical therapy is both demanding on a physician’s physical capabilities and time. You have to be physically fit for you to perform your duties effectively.
- Renewal of license: Your practicing license has to be renewed after every three years. You may require training from time to time to be in line with emerging practices in the profession.
- Cost of education: Since you will have to continue studying past your undergraduate training, you may be forced to apply for a loan to finance your studies. Specialized training is expensive and rarely funded by the employer.
- Challenges in dealing with patients: You can easily be overwhelmed by having to deal with difficult patients or those with conditions that are slowly responding to the treatment plan.
We all aspire to make the world a better place for everyone. One way to do this can be to promote physical fitness and alleviation of pain using physical therapy. Physical therapy is a rewarding career that has broad prospects for career growth. This career provides you with a sense of fulfillment from making a positive impact on someone’s life.