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Working As A Director Of Physical Therapy

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $74,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Director Of Physical Therapy Do

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

Duties

Physical therapists typically do the following:

  • Review patients’ medical history and any referrals or notes from doctors, surgeons, or other healthcare workers
  • Diagnose patients’ functions and movements by observing them stand or walk and by listening to their concerns, among other methods
  • Develop individualized plans of care for patients, outlining the patients’ goals and the expected outcomes of the plans
  • Use exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease patients’ pain, help them increase their mobility, prevent further pain or injury, and facilitate health and wellness
  • Evaluate and record a patient’s progress, modifying a plan of care and trying new treatments as needed
  • Educate patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process and how best to cope with challenges throughout the process

Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders, such as stroke or cerebral palsy; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions.

Physical therapists are educated to use a variety of different techniques to care for their patients. These techniques include exercises; training in functional movement, which includes the use of equipment such as canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers; and special movements of joints, muscles, and other soft tissue to improve movement and decrease pain.

The work of physical therapists varies by type of patient. For example, a patient working to recover mobility lost after a stroke needs different care from a patient who is recovering from a sports injury. Some physical therapists specialize in one type of care, such as orthopedics or geriatrics. Many physical therapists also help patients to maintain or improve mobility by developing fitness and wellness programs to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists work as part of a healthcare team, overseeing the work of physical therapist assistants and aides and consulting with physicians and surgeons and other specialists.

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How To Become A Director Of Physical Therapy

Physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

Education

In 2015, there were more than 200 programs for physical therapists accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). All programs offer a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

DPT programs typically last 3 years. Most programs require a bachelor’s degree for admission as well as specific educational prerequisites, such as classes in anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, and physics. Some programs admit college freshmen into 6- or 7-year programs that allow students to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a DPT. Most DPT programs require applicants to apply through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).

Physical therapist programs often include courses in biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, and pharmacology. Physical therapist students also complete at least 30 weeks of clinical work, during which they gain supervised experience in areas such as acute care and orthopedic care.

Physical therapists may apply to and complete a clinical residency program after graduation. Residencies typically last about 1 year and provide additional training and experience in specialty areas of care. Therapists who have completed a residency program may choose to specialize further by completing a fellowship in an advanced clinical area.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require physical therapists to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state but all include passing the National Physical Therapy Examination administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Several states also require a law exam and a criminal background check. Continuing education is typically required for physical therapists to keep their license. Check with state boards for specific licensing requirements.

After gaining work experience, some physical therapists choose to become a board-certified specialist. The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties offers certification in 8 clinical specialty areas, including orthopedics, sports, and geriatric physical therapy. Board specialist certification requires passing an exam and at least 2,000 hours of clinical work or completion of an American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)-accredited residency program in the specialty area.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Physical therapists are often drawn to the profession in part by a desire to help people. They work with people who are in pain and must have empathy for their patients.

Detail oriented. Like other healthcare providers, physical therapists should have strong analytic and observational skills to diagnose a patient’s problem, evaluate treatments, and provide safe, effective care.

Dexterity. Physical therapists must use their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises. They should feel comfortable massaging and otherwise physically assisting patients.

Interpersonal skills. Because physical therapists spend a lot of time interacting with patients, they should enjoy working with people. They must be able to clearly explain treatment programs, motivate patients, and listen to patients’ concerns to provide effective therapy.

Physical stamina. Physical therapists spend much of their time on their feet, moving as they demonstrate proper techniques and help patients perform exercises. They should enjoy physical activity.

Resourcefulness. Physical therapists customize treatment plans for patients. They must be flexible and able to adapt plans of care to meet the needs of each patient.

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Average Yearly Salary
$74,000
Show Salaries
$59,000
Min 10%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
LifePoint Health
Highest Paying City
Los Gatos, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Director Of Physical Therapy make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Director Of Physical Therapy in the United States is $74,960 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $59,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $94,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Director Of Physical Therapy Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director of Physical Therapy Transformative Medical Health NYC PLLC May 01, 2015 $187,830
Physical Therapis Adarna Home Health Care Services, Inc. Mar 09, 2011 $125,220
Director of Physical Therapy Virginia Healthcare Services of Fredericksburg LLC Aug 18, 2016 $117,686
Director of Physical Therapy Martin Hospital Corporation Nov 11, 2013 $114,004
Director of Physical Therapy Wilbarger County Hospital District Jul 20, 2010 $110,000
Director of Physical Therapy Refit Physical Restoration LLC Dec 21, 2015 $104,350
Physical Therapy Golden Oaks Holdings, LLC Mar 01, 2010 $102,263
Physical Therapy Golden Oaks Holdings, LLC Feb 25, 2010 $102,263
Director of Physical Therapy Transformative Health LLC May 15, 2014 $96,000
Clinical Director of Physical Therapy Be Pain Free Pt Inc. Dec 09, 2016 $93,600
Physical Therapy Woodmere Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center Sep 01, 2012 $89,741
Physical Therapy Woodmere Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center Sep 02, 2012 $89,741
Physical Therapy Synergy Care, Inc. Sep 21, 2012 $89,031
Director of Physical Therapy Professional Health Group, Inc. Mar 13, 2012 $74,027 -
$90,000
Director of Physical Therapy Professional Health Group, Inc. May 05, 2012 $74,027 -
$90,000
Physical Therapy Atlas Rehabilitation, LLC Aug 27, 2012 $73,045
Physical Therapy Atlas Systems, LLC Aug 13, 2012 $73,045
Physical Therapis Atlas Systems, LLC Mar 17, 2014 $73,045
Physical Therapis Interfysio LLC Sep 12, 2014 $73,045
Physical Therapis Atlas Healthcare, LLC Dec 04, 2014 $73,045
Therapeutic Physical Therapy PC Therapeutic Physical Therapy PC Sep 19, 2015 $73,045
Physical Therapy Access Therapies, Inc. Oct 01, 2011 $66,784
Physical Therapis Atlas Healthcare, LLC Nov 18, 2014 $66,784
Physical Therapy Itrace Foundation Inc. Sep 24, 2014 $66,450
Physical Therapy Performance Medical Services Sep 07, 2013 $65,000
Physical Therapy North America Rehab Services Inc. Nov 29, 2013 $64,780
Physical Therapy Genesis Eldercare Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Mar 01, 2010 $64,760 -
$41
Physical Therapy Management Health Systems, Inc. Jan 04, 2010 $64,697
Physical Therapy Management Health Systems, Inc. Jun 17, 2013 $64,697

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Top Skills for A Director Of Physical Therapy

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Patient Care
  3. Outpatient Clinic
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created physical therapy department in chiropractor office by designing layout of clinic, establishing operating policies, and procuring equipment.
  • Developed and implemented policies and procedures to ensure efficient department operation and quality patient care, including Performance Improvement initiatives.
  • Planned, supervised and treated 120 patient/week outpatient clinics.
  • Evaluate and provide treatment to adult population in inpatient rehabilitation setting.
  • Worked with Chiropractors, Nutritionists, and Acupuncturists to develop integrated treatment plans.

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Top 10 Best States for Directors Of Physical Therapy

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Delaware
  3. Michigan
  4. Connecticut
  5. California
  6. New Mexico
  7. Wyoming
  8. New Jersey
  9. Nevada
  10. Washington
  • (500 jobs)
  • (48 jobs)
  • (500 jobs)
  • (222 jobs)
  • (1,830 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)
  • (41 jobs)
  • (446 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (360 jobs)

Director Of Physical Therapy Demographics

Gender

Female

51.7%

Male

42.0%

Unknown

6.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.1%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

8.3%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.6%

Hindi

13.2%

Russian

10.5%

Gujarati

7.9%

Swedish

5.3%

Japanese

5.3%

Filipino

2.6%

French

2.6%
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Director Of Physical Therapy Education

Schools

Northeastern University

12.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

7.6%

Temple University

6.8%

New York University

6.1%

Nova Southeastern University

6.1%

Loma Linda University

5.3%

Utica College

5.3%

Touro College

5.3%

University of Central Arkansas

5.3%

State University of New York Stony Brook

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.5%

University of the Sciences

3.8%

University of Connecticut

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of Indianapolis

3.8%

Texas Woman's University

3.8%

University of the Pacific

3.0%

University of Kentucky

3.0%

Saint Augustine's University

3.0%

Pennsylvania State University

3.0%
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Majors

Physical Therapy

65.3%

Kinesiology

5.7%

Business

4.7%

Medical Assisting Services

3.9%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Health Sciences And Services

2.5%

Education

1.9%

Occupational Therapy

1.6%

Physics

1.6%

Nursing

1.2%

Rehabilitation Science

1.2%

Athletic Training

1.0%

Counseling Psychology

1.0%

Chiropractic

1.0%

Somatic Bodywork

1.0%

General Studies

0.8%

Liberal Arts

0.8%

Psychology

0.8%

Clinical Psychology

0.8%

Health/Medical Preparatory Programs

0.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.2%

Masters

22.7%

Doctorate

22.2%

Associate

9.9%

Certificate

3.4%

High School Diploma

3.2%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.4%
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Updated May 18, 2020