ANSWERS: 1
  • Physical therapists are medical professionals who aid accident victims, the elderly and persons with disabilities (such as cerebral palsy), arthritis, heart conditions, bone fractures and other impairments.

    Duties

    Therapists work one-on-one with patients to relieve pain, restore normal function to certain parts of the body, promote better health and prevent further injury or weakness. This usually includes a series of strengthening and stretching exercises.

    Assessments

    A patient's range of motion, muscle strength and mobility must be assessed to develop a plan of exercises that will improve quality of life. A therapist continually monitors a patient's progress.

    Assistance

    Physical therapists also aid patients in acquiring assistive devices--such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and prostheses--that will help them become more mobile and independent.

    Specialization

    Some physical therapists handle a variety of patients, but others focus on a specific area, such as orthopedics, sports medicine or pediatrics.

    Education

    Physical therapists must obtain a master's or doctorate degree from a university or college with an accredited physical-therapy program and acquire state licensure.

    Job Outlook and Pay

    Faster-than-average job growth is expected (27 percent from 2006 to 2016), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The bureau records the average yearly salary of physical therapists as $66,200 in May 2006.

    Source:

    Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physical Therapists

    Resource:

    American Physical Therapy Association

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