Physical Therapist Job Description

A physical therapist job description can be useful to those considering a career in the field.  These professionals, sometimes referred to as a PT are health care professionals.  Physical therapists often do different types of work.  The job includes working with individuals of all different ages from the newborn to the elderly.  Patients have medical problems or other conditions that limit their ability to perform many normal daily activities.  The Physical therapist examines individuals and develops plans to use therapy techniques that will improve the patient’s movement, restore function, reduce pain and prevent disability.  In addition, the PT may help to prevent the loss of mobility due to degenerative diseases by working with fitness and wellness programs that help patients to have lifestyles that are more active.

Physical Therapist Job Description Samples

Below is a physical therapist job description example that would be posted on an online job sites. It provides an idea of  type of person they are seeking and the responsibilities they should be able to handle. The roles and duties will be explained further into the article along with other employment prospects:

Job Description Example

Position: Occupational Therapy
Job Type: Permanent
Location: Los Angeles
Salary: Competitive

Company A, with over 320 outpatient centers in 40 states, seeks stellar Physical Therapists to join our team! We are looking for those PTs who enjoy and thrive in an outpatient orthopedic setting!  We treat acute work-related injuries (not much chronic pain due to early intervention), and we have also expanded into private insurance.  Strong manual therapy & outpatient orthopedic skills are preferred.

We have a strong focus on developing physician/therapist relationships based on mutual respect.  Our caseload is manageable, typically between 11-14 patients/day, so our therapists spend “hands on” time with patients.  We try to identify highly motivated therapists who understand customer service towards patients, physicians and the employers we serve.  Most of our clinics are open Monday -Friday from 8- 5.

We offer a competitive compensation & benefits package.

 What Do Physical Therapists Do?

A day in the life of a physical therapist can involve many different tasks.  The PT works with people of all different ages that face problems that result from many different health conditions.  They may work with people that have conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or spina bifida as well as those with work or sport related injuries.  Patients might be victims of strokes, amputations, burns, arthritis sprains, fractures or back injuries.  The physical therapist might evaluate dysfunction and make use of interventions that help the patients to work with their condition.

The physical therapist often serves as a part of team of professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, educators, occupational therapists, social workers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists.

Work Environment

Physical therapists often work in hospitals or outpatient clinics.  Some work in private offices.  The facilities are specially equipped to facilitate the work of the physical therapist.  Jobs are sometimes physically demanding and therapists might need to lift, crouch, kneel, stoop or stand for long periods each day.  In addition, there are times that the physical therapist needs to move equipment, lift patients or help patients to walk, turn or stand.

Most physical therapists work full time 40-hour workweeks.  It is often necessary for the therapist to work evening or weekend shifts due to patient needs.  One-fourth of all physical therapists work in a part time setting.

Training, Advancement and Other Qualifications

In order to work as a physical therapist today, the individual will need to earn a post-baccalaureate degree from a physical therapy program that has been accredited.  Each state regulates physical therapy practice, but most require a passing score on both national and state exams.

The courses for the programs include basic science courses, including biology, physiology and anatomy as well as more advanced courses that provide the necessary understanding of the human body.  In addition, the student may take behavioral science courses.  Clinically based courses will also be included in the coursework.  Students will work in classrooms and laboratories as well as supervised clinical lessons.

The student interested in physical therapist should include courses in physics, biology, chemistry, anatomy, statistics and mathematics in their undergraduate program.  In addition, many programs will require volunteer experience in physical therapy before granting admission to the student.


Regardless of location the PT is planning to work, there is a regulation that the candidate be licensed.  The typical requirements include graduating from an accredited program in physical therapy.  Candidates might be required to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam.  The state could also require the candidate pass the jurisprudence exam.  Many locations also require the candidate to take continuing education courses to maintain licensure.

Other qualifications

The PT will need strong communication and interpersonal skills.  This allows them to educate the patient about the condition as well as the goal of therapy.  The PT often needs to communicate with the families of patients.  The best physical therapists are also compassionate with a desire to help their patients.


Continuing education is an expectation of physical therapists.  This professional development leads some PTs to be board certified in clinical specialties.  In addition, there are opportunities in research and academia.  Other PTs may be self-employed.  They open a private practice or provide a contract service.


Currently, there are approximately 200,000 jobs for physical therapist along.  While there are more jobs than physical therapists, some PTs hold more than one part time job or work in private practice as well as in hospitals.

Well over half of physical therapists work in hospitals or other health practitioner’s offices.  Other jobs are found in home health, nursing facilities and outpatient centers.  PTs in private practice may be self-employed or work in research institutions or academic institutions.

Job Outlook and Future Employment

The job outlook for PTs is good.  Employment will continue to grow at a rate faster than other fields and there should be many opportunities for further growth.

The need for physical therapists will continue to grow at a rapid rate.  As reimbursement by insurance and other third-party payers increases, so will access of patients to services.  The increasing number of Baby Boomers that are becoming senior citizens will also increase the demand for physical therapy.  Chronic and debilitating conditions of the elderly will require services of the physical therapists.  In addition, there is expected to be an increase in the demand for physical rehabilitation for stroke and cardiac conditions.  The increase in medical developments will make it more likely for humans to survive traumatic events and need rehabilitative care.

Another factor in the increased need for physical therapy is related to the Disabilities Education act.  This act guarantees that students have access to physical therapy or other rehabilitative services as needed.  This will increase the demand for physical therapists that work in schools.

Due to the variety of factors mentioned above, this career path almost guarantees that there will be a continued need for licensed physical therapists at present and in the future.  A physical therapist will be able to find work many different institutions.  The greatest need will be found among the elderly.  Those that choose this type of training are likely to find job openings in both cities as well as rural areas.  Many people find Physical therapy to be a rewarding career as a day in the life of a physical therapist is not going to be like the next.

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