Physical Therapists (PT)

With an aging population that is more physically active than ever before, the need for physical therapy is becoming increasingly important. Physical therapists are now employed more often by nursing facilities, and there continues to be a consistent need from Western Massachusetts employers for qualified PTs.

Physical therapists work with patients to improve their ability to move, relieve pain and restore function to specific areas of the body, especially after an accident, illness or in the case of chronic conditions like arthritis.

Physical therapists:

  • Help people regain or improve physical abilities, including gaining strength, relieve pain, or improve mobility
  • Work with a care team that usually includes a physician, surgeon, or other specialist involved in the patient’s care and treatment
  • Educate and train patients, family members and caregivers on rehabilitation exercises, activity restrictions, and day-to-day care skills

Employment opportunities can be found in:

Education and training requirements

In order to practice, physical therapists must hold a doctor in physical therapy degree, and must also be pass the National Physical Therapy licensing exam. There are several different options for education paths, including bachelor’s degree programs that provide direct entry into advanced degree programs, or as a graduate student into a doctorate program.

Physical therapists are also expected to have:

  • Patience and understanding when dealing with patients, and excellent teamwork skills
  • Physical stamina in order to allow them to move heavy equipment and lift patients or help them turn, stand, or walk
  • A high comfort level working with the elderly, as most growing job opportunities will be related to or include geriatric care

Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 560
  • Education Requirements: Masters degree
  • Entry Level Wage: $34/hour
  • Experienced Wage: $45/hour
  • Learn more at VCN.org