Nature of Work
- Identify physical conditions that interfere with a student's educational program.
- Conduct assessments of mobility skills, daily activities, positioning and posture during activities in the school environment, muscle strength, and sensorimotor performance .
- Collaborate with professionals, other education and health professionals, and parents to determine physical therapy goals that will allow the child to benefit from the individualized instructional program.
- Advise on purchase of specialized equipment and modifications to the classroom and home.
- Develop recreation and leisure programs for older students.
- Advocate for environments that are physically accessible.
- A bachelor's degree in physical therapy is the minimum requirement, however by the year 2002 a graduate degree will be required.
- All states require a license to practice. This license is awarded when candidates pass a state-administered national exam.
- Able to work with a variety of people
- Excellent listening and communication skills
Job Outlook and Advancement
- Physical therapists are expected to be among the fastest growing occupations through the year 2006 as the demand for physical therapy services grows. (BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook 1998-99)
- In 1997, school districts employed 4,345 fully certified/licensed physical therapists but had 342 vacancies
How to Prepare for a Career
- Take a strong high school program in the sciences.
- Maintain a strong competitive high school grade point average.
- Volunteer in a physical therapy setting.
- Seek information from the American Physical Therapy Association
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1488
Personnel Issues in School-Based Physical Therapy: Supply and Demand, Professional Preparation, Certification and Licensure (PDF)
Center on Personnel Studies in Special Education