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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Physical therapist career and educational opportunities abound in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are currently 9,300 working physical therapists in Pennsylvania; this should grow 25% to 11,600 working physical therapists in the state by 2016. 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%. 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 earn approximately $34 per hour or $70,950 annually on average in Pennsylvania. Nationally they average about $35 per hour or $72,790 annually. Physical therapists earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in Pennsylvania and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. People working as physical therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: pulmonary physical therapist, sports physical therapist, and staff physical therapist.

There are five schools within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can study to be a physical therapist, among eighty-three schools of higher education total in the Pittsburgh area. The most common level of education for physical therapists is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years studying 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 Pittsburgh 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 Safety and Health Inspector. Review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. May be employed in the public or private sector.
  • 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

Duquesne University - Pittsburgh, PA

Duquesne University, Administration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15282. Duquesne University is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 10,106 students and an admission rate of 76%. Duquesne University has a bachelor's degree and a doctor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated twenty-eight and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.

Chatham University - Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University, Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15232. Chatham University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,133 students and an admission rate of 71%. Chatham University has a doctor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated fifty-nine students in 2008.

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Pittsburgh, PA

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, 4200 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus is a large university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,562 students and an admission rate of 56%. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus has 2 areas of study related to Physical Therapist. They are:

  • Physical Therapy/Therapist, doctor's degree which graduated 46 students in 2008.
  • Kinesiotherapy/Kinesiotherapist, less than one year which graduated 30 students in 2008.

Wheeling Jesuit University - Wheeling, WV

Wheeling Jesuit University, 316 Washington Ave, Wheeling, WV 26003. Wheeling Jesuit University is a small university located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,304 students and an admission rate of 66%. Wheeling Jesuit University has a doctor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated thirty students in 2008.

Carlow University - Pittsburgh, PA

Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3165. Carlow University is a small university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,234 students and an admission rate of 60%. Carlow University has a bachelor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist.

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 State
Address: Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, Physical Therapy Board, PO Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105

Phone: (717) 783-7134
Website: Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Physical Therapy Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.