Physical therapists work with people who have been physically disabled by illness or accident or who are born with a handicap. As a member of the health care team, the physical therapist works to develop and deliver appropriate treatment programs for the relief of pain, prevention of deformity, improvement of strength, development of coordination and increase in functional ability. Treatment may involve exercise, in conjunction with the application of heat, cold, water, electricity, ultrasound, traction and/or massage. Their work is often closely coordinated with that of the Occupational Therapist, because both fields involve training patients to improve their motor abilities.
Physical therapy programs are post graduate programs. Preparation for entrance into a physical therapy education includes courses in psychology, biology, physics, statistics, chemistry, English, and humanities.
Post professional master’s degree programs for advanced professional physical therapy study are available at many institutions. A large number of universities also offer doctoral-level programs to prepare students for faculty and research positions in physical therapy or advanced clinical specialties.
Successful completion of a state-administered national exam is required to obtain licensure.
Learn more about the admission criteria for most physical therapy programs.
View course requirements for Michigan physical therapy schools.
Explore this profession further by accessing links to national associations, career profiles, and student resources.