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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapists in Irvine, California

Physical therapists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Irvine, California area. About 14,800 people are currently employed as physical therapists in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow 30% to about 19,200 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for physical therapists are expected to grow by about 30.3%. Physical therapists generally assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.

Physical therapists earn about $38 hourly or $80,040 per year on average in California and about $35 hourly or $72,790 annually on average nationally. Physical therapists earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in California and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Jobs in this field include: pulmonary physical therapist, physiotherapist, and rehabilitation services director.

There are 112 schools of higher education in the Irvine area, including three within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree to start your career as a physical therapist. Given that the most common education level for physical therapists is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years training to become a physical therapist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, physical therapists assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.

Physical therapists perform and document initial exams, evaluating data to pinpoint problems and decide on diagnoses before interventions. They also discharge patients from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and furnish for appropriate follow-up care or referrals. Equally important, physical therapists have to inspect physicians' referrals and patients' medical records to help decide on diagnoses and physical therapy treatments required. They are often called upon to talk with patients, medical practitioners and appropriate others to develop, implement and assess intervention programs. They are expected to test and measure the strength of patients, their motor development and function, and respiratory and circulatory efficiency. Finally, physical therapists teach physical therapy students as well as those in other health professions.

Every day, physical therapists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for physical therapists to direct group rehabilitation efforts. They are often called upon to conduct and support research and apply research findings to practice. They also formulate, ready and carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain and avoid physical dysfunction in patients. They are sometimes expected to record patient chart prognosis and progress and enter patient data into computers. Somewhat less frequently, physical therapists are also expected to direct and communicate with supportive personnel.

Physical therapists sometimes are asked to participate in community and community agency efforts and help to formulate public policy. and teach physical therapy students as well as those in other health professions. And finally, they sometimes have to discharge patients from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and furnish for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.

Like many other jobs, physical therapists must have a strong concern for others and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Irvine include:

  • Audiologist. Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.
  • Occupational Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to disabled persons.
  • Recreational Therapist. Plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, and arts and crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
  • Speech and Language Teacher. Assess and treat persons with speech, language, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
  • Sports Trainer. Evaluate, advise, and treat athletes to assist recovery from injury, avoid injury, or maintain peak physical fitness.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physical Therapist Training

California State University-Long Beach - Long Beach, CA

California State University-Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-0115. California State University-Long Beach is a large university located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,891 students and an admission rate of 47%. California State University-Long Beach has a master's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty-four students in 2008.

Chapman University - Orange, CA

Chapman University, One University Dr., Orange, CA 92866. Chapman University is a medium sized university located in Orange, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,131 students and an admission rate of 50%. Chapman University has a doctor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty-nine students in 2008.

Advanced College - South Gate, CA

Advanced College, 13180 Paramount Blvd., South Gate, CA 90280. Advanced College is a small college located in South Gate, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 147 students. Advanced College has a less than one year program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Health Fitness Specialist: The ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist (HFS) is a degreed health and fitness professional qualified to pursue a career in university, corporate, commercial, hospital, and community settings.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist: Becoming ACSM Certified as an Exercise Specialistsays a lot about you.

For more information, see the American College of Sports Medicine website.

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LICENSES

Physical Therapist

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Physical Therapy Board of California, 1418 Howe Avenue, Suite 16, Sacramento, CA 95825-3204

Phone: (916) 263-2550
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Physical Therapy Board of California

Physical Therapist Certified (Electromyography)

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Physical Therapy Board of California, 1418 Howe Avenue, Suite 16, Sacramento, CA 95825-3204

Phone: (916) 263-2550
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Physical Therapy Board of California

LOCATION INFORMATION: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.