40 Physical Therapist Skills & How to Write a Stellar Resume

Last Updated on April 9, 2024

physical therapist in white collard shirt holding clipboard and caring for woman patient using green resistance band

Physical Therapy takes skill. And when exploring for job opportunities in physical therapy, your resume is your handy tool that speaks to your passion: helping others recover their strength and mobility. However, you may find yourself writing your physical therapist skills section and aren’t quite sure what skills to pick.  

The right skills section can help you stand out from the other candidates. In this guide, we’ll break down what to include in your resume and how to make your skills section stand out!

How to Write a Physical Therapy Skills Resume: What to Include 

Don’t let the blank document scare you. With the right physical therapy skills resume strategy, you can write a resume recruiters are looking for. Your physical therapy resume should include the following: 

Professional Summary 

It’s easy to skip over your professional summary. But with the right strategy, it can make your physical therapy skills resume stand out.  

Imagine if you had to summarize the most important aspects of your resume in 1-4 sentences. This is exactly what your professional summary is for. It presents everything in a concise, scannable way. 

Relevant Experience 

This might be the most important aspect of every physical therapy skills resume.  You should include professional work experience relevant to the role you’re applying to. Additionally, include the title, company, and timeline of each role. Highlight your experience in bullet point sentences.  

  • Don’t just copy and paste your old job description. Showcase the unique physical therapist skills and strengths you bring to the table.  
  • Emphasize the results and outcomes you achieved — how you improved the role and contributed value to the organization. 
  • You can also reinforce your physical therapist skills in your experience section for a more powerful effect. For example, instead of just listing ‘Communication’ in your skills section, capture this skill in your experience section.  

“Effectively communicated and created customized care plans for patients and their families.” 

This shows your dedication to communication in a much more impactful way than simply listing ‘communication.’ 

Education 

Show them that you know your stuff. Include a breakdown of your relevant education, including your Doctor of Physical Therapy, Bachelor of Science, and other degrees. Include where you obtained the degree and when. 

Physical Therapist Certifications & Specialties 

Create a separate list highlighting any certifications and licenses you’ve received. If you have several, consider bolding or underlining the most relevant ones to the role.

Pro Tip: Discover 30+ Best Certifications for Therapists: PT, OT, RT and SLPs.

Physical Therapist Skills 

Include a bullet-point list of your physical therapist skills. These skills should meet two requirements: 

  • They should be relevant to the needs, responsibilities, and values of the specific role and organization you’re applying to. 
  • They should be authentic. Don’t just put it because it sounds good. You’ll stand out more by being true to your skills.  

Provide both hard skills and soft skills for a balanced overview of your strengths: 

Hard skills are technical skills you gain through practice and education, like injury prevention, sports medicine, musculoskeletal disorders, hydrotherapy, or working with specific equipment or technology. 

Soft skills are character and personality traits that make you a strong fit for the role. These might include empathy, patient-oriented, and effective communication.  

Pro Tip: Customize Each Resume for the Unique Position  

When searching for physical therapy jobs, customize your resume for each position you apply for. Even if you’re applying for multiple physical therapy jobs, each role and company will likely seek distinct skills. For example, one might prioritize sports medicine and the other women’s health. It can even apply to soft skills, as one organization might value empathy and teaching skills while another values analytical skills and attention to detail. 

Carefully read each job description to identify the keywords: The important words and phrases repeatedly used or emphasized. You can find these in each job description’s “Qualifications” and “Responsibilities” sections. Find how your skills authentically relate and connect to these keywords, and adjust your physical therapy skills resume accordingly. 

Top Physical Therapist Skills to Include in Your Resume: Hard Skills 

Remember: Don’t just list every physical therapist skill out there. Be strategic.  

Listing 20 skills won’t mean much. Prioritize your authentic strengths. Identify your keywords to assess their relevance. Ask your peers, mentors, and colleagues for insight into your unique skills.  

For best results, list 4-10 skills on your resume. Aim for ¼-⅓ to be soft skills and the rest hard skills.  Here are some of the top hard skills to include in your resume: 

Treatment Planning & Assessment Skills

Organizations are looking for physical therapists who can effectively assess their patient’s needs and make a thorough plan of care. Specifically highlight these strengths by listing skills such as: 

  • Gait Analysis & Training 
  • Patient Education, Empowerment, and Counseling
  • Plan of Care Design or Treatment Plan Development Skills
  • Documentation
  • Progress Monitoring Skills
  • Pain Assessment & Management Skills
  • Care Planning Skills

Equipment & Technology Expertise 

What specific equipment, technology, and software have you worked with? Listing relevant or specialized equipment and technology experience can help qualify you for the role and stand out from the crowd.

  • Telehealth Proficiency
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Skills

Specific Techniques  

Showcase the specific techniques, exercises, and therapies you’ve been trained in, such as: 

  • Manual Muscle Testing (MMT) 
  • Massage Therapy 
  • Posture Rebalancing 
  • Pain Management  

Physical Therapy Specialized Skills 

Address your specialties. These can be skills specific to certain health conditions, certifications, or settings, such as:  

  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation 
  • Strength Training 
  • Outpatient Care 
  • Sports Medicine
  • Pediatric Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviors (PPMAB)

Top Physical Therapist Skills to Include in Your Resume: Soft Skills 

Soft skills can make you an even better physical therapist. Some of the top physical therapist skills and characteristics include:  

Communication Skills 

As a physical therapist, you’ll need to translate your expertise into clear instructions for your patients, their family members, and other care providers. Communication is key — but ‘communication’ as a skill can be too general.  

Emphasize your skills by highlighting your relevant, authentic, and specific communication skills, such as: 

  • Oral communication 
  • Written communication 
  • Teaching and explanation 
  • Active listening
  • Compassionate or Interdisciplinary Communication 

Interpersonal Skills 

Patient relationships are everything. Interpersonal skills represent how you relate to, collaborate, and work with others. Dive deep into your specific interpersonal skills by listing your unique people skills, such as: 

  • Patient-Centered Approach
  • Physician Collaboration Skills
  • Empathy 
  • Patience 
  • Accountability 
  • Motivating  
  • Calm demeanor  

Detail-Oriented 

One of the most critical responsibilities of a physical therapist is to keep and organize patient records. This requires close attention to detail and skills such as: 

  • Critical thinking  
  • Observational skills 
  • Analytical skills 
  • Organizational skills 

Leadership Skills

Anyone and everyone in the healthcare field is a leader. Spotlight your leadership capacity by highlighting your skills, such as:

  • Delegation
  • Prioritization 
  • Goal-setting 
  • Care Coordination  
  • Decision-making
  • Compliance Management 

Start Your Search for Physical Therapist Jobs 

Now that your resume is taken care of, it’s time to put your hard-earned skills to practice by searching for your dream physical therapist job! With CareerStaff, explore opportunities unique to your dreams, goals, and skills.   

Looking for exciting opportunities in the field of physical therapy? Look no further! Discover exclusive physical therapy jobs and contracts across the country, or submit a quick application to get connected with a recruiter today.

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