The Strong Interest Inventory® is a comprehensive assessment of individuals’ personal interests and workplace preferences, specifically designed to help them find careers which they will find both enjoyable and fulfilling. Based on the outcomes of this assessment, individuals are directed to one of six Theme Code Categories, each of which contains a different set of careers. Physical Therapists fall into the Social Theme Code Category, because this career focuses on interpersonal relationships. It provides vulnerable individuals medical care and attention in their times of need. People who score high in the Social Theme Code enjoy working closely with other people in order to create a meaningful impact on the world.

Physical Therapists are responsible for planning and organizing programs that support patients as they are rehabilitated, often after a serious injury, surgery, or as they age. The purpose of these programs is to improve mobility, increase strength, relieve pain, and to offset other consequences of their disease. Some therapy is also preventative, meant to reduce the chances of serious injury. Physical Therapists perform an initial intake exam, carefully examining the patient, and perhaps asking them to complete some simple exercises. They review any referral-related documents, such as notes or memorandums from other physicians. Based on this analysis, they identify goals and develop a treatment plan. As the plan is implemented, therapists carefully monitor and track patients’ progress, updating medical records and charts, and modifying the interventions as needed. They refer patients to more specialized practitioners when necessary.

Physical Therapist

Learn all about a career as a Physical Therapist including career stats such as Median Salary, Daily Tasks, Required Education, Employment Growth and More!

Additional responsibilities of Physical Therapists include advising patients and their families on coping with the physical and mental demands of therapy, providing information to all involved parties about the proposed interventions, and referring clients to other resources in their communities. Some Physical Therapists conduct research, provide educational information to the general public, or teach Physical Therapy students. Some specialized Therapists work closely with prosthetics, particularly fitting and evaluating them, or recommending modifications based on the specific needs of individual patients.

Physical Therapists use many different kinds of tools to provide services to their patients, including standard medical equipment (e.g., blood pressure cuffs, EMGs, nerve stimulators), as well as more specialized therapy tools (e.g., balance beams, grip strengtheners, parallel bars, neuromuscular stimulators, rowing machines, treadmills, walkers) and tools that patients can use more independently to facilitate mobility (e.g., neck braces, crutches, canes, wheelchairs). Basic accounting softwares like MediGraph, as well as scientific and medical software (e.g., MEDITECH, Rehab Documentation Company ReDoc Suite), and Microsoft Office Suite may be utilized as-well.

Most Physical Therapists (over 65%) hold either a Master’s Degree or a Doctoral Degree. This level of advanced preparation is necessary to develop the depth of clinical knowledge of medicine, anatomy, and physiology required to be a successful Physical Therapist. Therapists need to have strong comprehension and reasoning skills, as well as the ability to identify and solve problems quickly even in stressful situations. Unlike many other medical professionals, Physical Therapists need to be physically able to assist and care for others.

Physical Therapists’ salary can vary widely around the country, with the median wage in Alaska being over $96,000, well above the national median of $84,020. Nevada, California, New Jersey, and Texas all also have median wages above $90,000. The best-paid Physical Therapists in Nevada can earn over $187,200. Nationally, the top Therapists make closer to $120,000. On the lower end of the spectrum, the northern states of Montana and the Dakotas can pay Therapists as little as $55,000 per year. Employability and the demand for Physical Therapists is also rising nation-wide, with the country projected to add over 70,000 jobs before 2024, and the fastest growth occurring in the south (Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia) and the west (Colorado, Utah, Oregon).

Below are some employment trends for Physical Therapists:

  • Median Physical Therapist Salary: $40.40 hourly; $84,020 annually
  • Employment: 211,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2014-2024): much faster than average (14% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2014-2024): 128,300
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections]


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Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections