Last Updated on October 6, 2023
October brings us the joy of National Physical Therapy Month, and we’re thrilled to join in the festivities! At CareerStaff, we deeply appreciate the significant contributions you make in patient care. Celebrating PT Month, dive into exciting opportunities in the world of physical therapy. Plus, explore eight fantastic ways to celebrate this special month all the way through!
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What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is the treatment most often recommended for people with painful joint or spine disorders. Trained Physical Therapists (PTs) or Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) work with patients over a period of time to improve comfort, flexibility, and strength of the affected areas of the body.
Meanwhile, the specific physical therapy treatment can differ hugely depending upon whether the patient recently underwent joint, spine, or some other surgery to fix the underlying problem or is the main treatment approach – so PTs and PTAs deliver treatment tailored to each individual patient.
What’s The Difference Between a PT vs. PTA?
PTs typically have graduated from a four-year college before undertaking a subsequent three-year program leading to a Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This DPT degree demonstrates successful completion of an accredited training curriculum inclusive of coursework, lab experiences, and a clinical practicum (student placement).
In contrast, PTAs typically complete a two-year degree program. For this reason, PTAs generally work under the direct supervision of a PT. Furthermore, the initial intake assessment of a new physical therapy patient (and any periodic progress assessments) is normally conducted by the PT. While the PT creates the physical treatment plan for each patient, PTAs (along with PTs) carry out that treatment plan.
There are also differences between PTs and PTAs in terms of salary and career growth. Due to their longer (and more intensive) training period, PTs normally earn a higher salary than PTAs. They also can open their own solo physical therapy practices. On the other hand, both PTs and PTAs usually can perform the very same treatments on patients (such as teaching a specific exercise or applying electrodes of a TENS machine for pain relief to a specific area of the body).
Settings Where PTs or PTAs are Employed
PTs are most often employed in hospitals, outpatient clinics, rehab centers, nursing homes, public health centers, Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare facilities, and by home healthcare agencies (to perform home-based care) or in schools. While this is also true for PTAs, their workplace settings are more curtailed due to the need for PT supervision. PTs also may be employed in research programs administered by university-based clinical researchers.
Meanwhile, both PTs and PTAs can work as travel clinicians that fill in at workplaces across the country that need physical therapy staff to replace those on maternity or short-term disability leave (or simply when a facility is short-staffed). Notably, all states in the US required that PTs and PTAs be licensed by a state regulatory board to practice in order to work as a PT (or PTA) in that state.
How to Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month
The following are five ideas as to how you can enable others to understand the contribution of both Physical Therapists (PTs) and Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) to the healthcare realm during National Physical Therapy Month:
- Ask teachers for permission to speak in their high school or college classrooms about what physical therapists do and reasons to choose physical therapy as a future career.
- Celebrate during Physical Therapy Month and all year long with Physical Therapy Month: 30+ Gifts & Discounts for PTs
- Design a tee-shirt that says “I am a Physical Therapist (or Physical Therapy Assistant)”, and wear it in public in your community.
- Make a YouTube video about how to become a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapy Assistant, and share it with your social media network.
- Explore Career Resources, such as 40 Physical Therapist Skills & How to Write a Stellar Resume
- Send cards to your family and friends inclusive of the phrase, “Happy National Physical Therapy Month!”.
- If you are a physical therapist who is supervising physical therapy assistants, give them each gift cards with a message enclosed that says, “You are valuable and I am wishing you a Happy National Physical Therapy Month!”
How The American Physical Therapy Association is Celebrating
Since 1921, The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has been the primary professional association for PTs and PTAs (aimed at the advancement of physical therapy as a profession).
In celebration of National Physical Therapy Month, APTA’s ChoosePT Campaign the economic value of physical therapists (PTs) and their importance in promoting overall health through physical activity and exercise.
Additionally, the campaign emphasizes the contribution of PTs and PTAs in enhancing physical activity levels in both children and adults throughout the United States. Visit their ChoosePT Campaign site to learn more.
Celebrating Your Physical Therapy Career All Year Long
Happy National Physical Therapy Month from CareerStaff! There are many resources for PTs and PTAs seeking a job change or newly-graduated PTs (and PTAs) seeking a new job. Let us help you find a physical therapy job that aligns with your goals!
At CareerStaff, we specialize in healthcare employment, including physical therapy jobs in hospitals, clinics, and more. Apply now to connect with a dedicated recruiter and join over 6,500 clinicians nationwide. Or, search physical therapy jobs nationwide below!