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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapists in Gulfport, Mississippi

Physical therapists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Gulfport, Mississippi area. Currently, 1,430 people work as physical therapists in Mississippi. This is expected to grow 31% to about 1,880 people by 2016. This is better than 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.

A person working as a physical therapist can expect to earn about $34 hourly or $72,590 per year on average in Mississippi and about $35 hourly or $72,790 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for physical therapists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Athletic and Occupational in Mississippi and not quite as good as general Athletic and Occupational category earnings nationally. People working as physical therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: registered physical therapist , licensed physical therapy assistant , and rehabilitation services director.

The Gulfport area is home to six schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can get a degree as a physical therapist. Given that the most common education level for physical therapists is a Master's degree, it will take about six years to learn to be a physical therapist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with 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 Gulfport include:

  • 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physical Therapist Training

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - Perkinston, MS

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 51 Main Street, Perkinston, MS 39573. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is a medium sized college located in Perkinston, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,215 students. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has an associate's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-three 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: Mississippi State Department of Health
Address: Professional Licensure, Festus E Simkins, Director, PO Box 4508, Jackson, MS 39296-4508

Phone: (601) 987-6806
Website: Mississippi State Department of Health Professional Licensure Festus E Simkins, Director

LOCATION INFORMATION: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.