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Career and Education Opportunities for Physical Therapists in Vancouver, Washington

Physical therapists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Vancouver, Washington area. There are currently 4,020 working physical therapists in Washington; this should grow 29% to 5,190 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.

A person working as a physical therapist can expect to earn about $34 hourly or $72,420 per year on average in Washington and about $35 hourly or $72,790 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Physical therapists earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in Washington and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Physical therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: treatment coordinator, rehabilitation services director, and pediatric physical therapist.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as a physical therapist. The most common level of education 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 Vancouver 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.
  • 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.
  • Sports Trainer. Evaluate, advise, and treat athletes to assist recovery from injury, avoid injury, or maintain peak physical fitness.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Physical Therapist Training

Pacific University - Forest Grove, OR

Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116. Pacific University is a small university located in Forest Grove, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,135 students and an admission rate of 78%. Pacific University has a doctor's degree program in Physical Therapy/Therapist which graduated forty-five 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Vancouver is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.