Frequently Asked Questions
How is the proper therapy plan developed?
Based on the examination findings, the physical therapist completes
an evaluation and determines a diagnosis and prognosis. The physical
therapist then establishes a plan of care that includes specific
interventions designed to produce changes in the patient's condition in
order to achieve the desired outcomes.
What types of intervention are routinely used?
Physical therapists use the following interventions to achieve
- Coordination, communication, and documentation
- Therapeutic exercise (including aerobic conditioning)
- Functional training in self-care and home management (including
activities of daily living and instructional activities of daily
- Functional training in community and work (job/school/play)
integration or reintegration (including instrumental activities of
daily living, work hardening, and work conditioning)
- Manual therapy techniques (including mobilization and
- Prescription, application, and, as appropriate, fabrication of
devices and equipment (assistive, adaptive, orthotic, protective,
supportive, and prosthetic)
What type of training / education is required to be a physical
Physical therapists attain their knowledge and skills through
extensive academic and clinical education. To enter the profession,
physical therapists must have completed at least four years of college,
graduated from an accredited professional education program, and secured
a license by successfully completing a state licensure examination.
All professional education programs include foundational science and
clinical science courses and emphasize the science, theory, and practice
of physical therapy, and patient and client management. The curriculum
includes opportunities to apply and integrate theory through extensive
clinical education in a variety of practice settings. Most physical
therapists enter the profession with a post-baccalaureate degree (MSPT,
MPT, DPT). In addition, some pursue advanced academic education by
earning post-professional master's and/or doctoral degrees.
What type of licensure is required for a physical therapist?
After graduating from an accredited professional education program,
physical therapists must pass a state-administered national licensure
examination in order to legally practice physical therapy. Additional
licensure requisites for physical therapists vary from state to state
according to physical therapy practice acts and state regulations that
govern physical therapy.