According to the American Physical Therapy Association (ATPA), a physical therapist takes a hands on approach that results in a “plan of care that promotes the ability to move, reduces pain, restores function, and prevents disability.”
Therapeutic exercise and functional training serve as the foundation of physical therapy. Patients are helped through massage or the manipulation of joints to increase or prevent the loss of further range and motion.
Physical therapists are well versed in anatomy, kinesiology, and biology. They must pay considerable attention to detail, and have the ability to accurately document treatments and progress, as well as the ability to encourage and educate patients regarding proper follow-up care. Students should complete the Physical Therapy Worksheet to ensure that they have met all requirements. Students should refer to Alfred University's Pre-Health Timeline and Checklist to assist them in career planning.
Accreditation is a must, and most, if not all, physical therapists are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).