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Physical Therapy

What training does a Physical Therapist have?

All Physical therapists are college graduates and have extensive, professional training in the examination and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular problems. The majority of physical therapist education programs graduate students with a master’s degree, and a few schools offer a clinical doctorate in physical therapy.

All physical therapists also are required to take a national examination and be licensed by the state in which they practice.

Some physical therapists seek advanced certification in a clinical specialty, such as orthopaedic, neurologic, cardiopulmonary, pediatric, geriatric, or sports physical therapy. Others are certified in manual therapy or electrophysiological testing and measurement.

Many physical therapists are members of the professional association, the American Physical Therapy Association. As health care professionals, they are especially committed to providing competent and compassionate care, as they are bound by the Association’s Code of Ethics.

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What is a Physical Therapist Assistant?

Physical therapist assistants, must complete a 2-year education program and work only under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.

Physical Therapy treatment

Physical therapy can only legally be provided by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants.  The cornerstones of physical therapy are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to “hands-on” care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also “mobilize” or “manipulate” a joint, or massage a muscle to restore proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use a variety of pain relief and healing methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice.

How to find a Physical Therapist:

If you need physical therapy in the hospital, a physical therapist will be assigned to you, so there will be very little decision-making involved in that case.

For outpatient care, physical therapy can be obtained through hospitals, home care agencies, and in private offices. Your doctor or nurse practitioner can make recommendations regarding specific facilities.

State Physical Therapy Boards: To verify the license and check credentials of your physical therapist, you can search individual therapists through the state licensing boards below

Alabama State Physical Therapy Board
Alaska State Physical Therapy Board
Arizona State Physical Therapy Board
Arkansas State Physical Therapy Board
California State Physical Therapy Board
Colorado Physical Therapy Licensing
Connecticut Physical Therapy Licensure
Delaware Examining Board of Physical Therapists
Florida State Physical Therapy Board
Georgia State Physical Therapy Board
Hawaii Physical Therapy Licensing
Idaho Board of Medicine - Physical Therapy
Illinois Physical Therapy Licensing
Indiana Physical Therapy Committee
Iowa State Physical Therapy Board
Kansas State Board of Healing Arts - Physical Therapy
Kentucky State Physical Therapy Board
Louisiana State Physical Therapy Board
Maine Physical Therapy Licensing
Maryland State Physical Therapy Board
Massachusetts Board of Allied Health Professionals
Michigan State Physical Therapy Board
Minnesota State Physical Therapy Board
Mississippi State Physical Therapy Board
Missouri State Physical Therapy Board
Montana State Physical Therapy Board

Nebraska State Physical Therapy Board
New Jersey State Physical Therapy Board
Nevada State Physical Therapy Examiners' Board
New Mexico State Physical Therapy Board
New York State Physical Therapy Licensing
North Carolina State Physical Therapy Board
North Dakota State Physical Therapy Board
Ohio State Physical Therapy Board
Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure - Physical Therapy
Oregon Physical Therapist Licensing Board
Pennsylvania State Physical Therapy Board
Rhode Island State Physical Therapy Board
South Carolina State Physical Therapy Board
South Dakota Medical Board - Physical Therapy
Tennessee State Physical Therapy Board
Texas State Physical Therapy Board
Utah Physical Therapy Licensing Board
Vermont Physical Therapy Licensing
Virginia State Physical Therapy Board
Washington State Physical Therapy Board
West Virginia State Physical Therapy Board
Wisconsin Physical Therapy Licensing
Wyoming State Physical Therapy Board

Professional Organizations

Other Useful Links:

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