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Become A Physical Therapy Internship

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Working As A Physical Therapy Internship

  • 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

  • $80,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Physical Therapy Internship 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 Physical Therapy Internship

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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Physical Therapy Internship Jobs

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Physical Therapy Internship Career Paths

Physical Therapy Internship
Physical Therapist Outpatient Physical Therapist Case Manager
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Therapist Case Manager
Patient Care Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Therapist Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Assistant Massage Therapist Therapist
Lead Therapist
5 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Account Executive Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Consultant Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Personal Trainer Instructor Administrator
Nurse Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Assistant PRN Registered Nurse Supervisor
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapist Assistant Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapy Aide Registered Nurse Registered Nurse Supervisor
Managed Care Director
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Clinical Manager Nursing Director
Director Of Clinical Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Clinical Manager
Clinical Operations Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Pharmacist Technician Pharmacist
Outpatient Pharmacist Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Assistant Administrator Nurse Manager
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant PRN Speech Language Pathologist
Therapy Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Staff Physical Therapist Clinical Manager Clinical Director
Director Of Rehabilitation
7 Yearsyrs
Physical Therapy Aide Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Occupational Therapist Lead Therapist Clinical Director
Rehabilitation Services Director
8 Yearsyrs
Outpatient Physical Therapist Clinical Supervisor Clinical Director
Rehab Director
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Physical Therapy Internship?

Physical Therapy Internship Demographics

Gender

Female

50.5%

Male

36.2%

Unknown

13.3%
Ethnicity

White

56.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.4%

Asian

12.9%

Black or African American

10.9%

Unknown

4.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.7%

Hindi

7.1%

French

6.0%

Mandarin

5.0%

Gujarati

4.5%

Chinese

3.4%

Cantonese

2.6%

Italian

2.6%

Russian

2.4%

Tagalog

2.4%

Portuguese

2.4%

Marathi

2.1%

Arabic

1.8%

Vietnamese

1.6%

German

1.6%

Swedish

1.3%

Hebrew

1.3%

Ukrainian

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Japanese

0.8%
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Physical Therapy Internship Education

Schools

University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences

10.5%

University of California - Davis

9.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

7.9%

Brigham Young University

6.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.2%

South University

5.5%

Mississippi State University

5.0%

Loma Linda University

4.9%

Arizona State University

4.7%

MGH Institute of Health Professions

4.5%

Emory University

4.2%

University of Indianapolis

3.8%

University of Rhode Island

3.7%

Georgia State University

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%

Nova Southeastern University

3.5%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.4%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

3.3%

University of the Sciences

3.1%

Michigan State University

3.1%
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Majors

Physical Therapy

35.4%

Kinesiology

30.0%

Biology

5.1%

Medical Assisting Services

3.5%

Health Sciences And Services

3.3%

Exercise Physiology

2.9%

Psychology

2.7%

Physics

1.9%

Business

1.8%

Health Education

1.7%

Public Health

1.6%

Health And Wellness

1.6%

Athletic Training

1.5%

Rehabilitation Science

1.4%

Occupational Therapy

1.2%

Nursing

1.1%

Health Care Administration

1.0%

Physiology And Anatomy

0.8%

Chemistry

0.7%

Medicine

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.8%

Doctorate

19.1%

Masters

14.1%

Other

10.2%

Associate

6.4%

Certificate

1.6%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$80,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$47,000
Min 10%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$80,000
Median 50%
$135,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
Cheboygan, MI
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
0.6 years
How much does a Physical Therapy Internship make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Physical Therapy Internship in the United States is $80,438 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $47,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $135,000.

Real Physical Therapy Internship Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Physical Therapist (Intern) El Centro Regional Medical Center El Centro, CA Mar 16, 2010 $90,002
Physical Therapist Intern Foreman Medical Staffing Dallas, TX Sep 23, 2015 $83,480
Physical Therapist Intern Alliance Rehabilitation, LLC Fairfax, VA Oct 01, 2011 $75,000
Intern Physical Therapist Gleneida Medical Care, P.C. Carmel, NY Jan 03, 2011 $70,000
Physical Therapy Intern Signature Payroll Services, LLC Louisville, KY Jan 15, 2010 $66,000
Physical Therapist Intern Lake Ridge Physical Therapy, LLC Woodbridge, VA Jan 02, 2011 $58,240 -
$60,000
Physical Therapist Intern Lake Ridge Physical Therapy, LLC Woodbridge, VA Jan 30, 2011 $58,240 -
$60,000
Physical Therapist Intern JOJO Rehab Therapy, Inc. Saint Petersburg, FL Jan 10, 2016 $55,389
Physical Therapist Intern JOJO Rehab Therapy, Inc. Saint Petersburg, FL Aug 09, 2016 $55,389

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Top Skills for A Physical Therapy Internship

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Patient Care
  3. Treatment Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Document and analyze patient treatment status and progress physical therapy interventions according to the latest evidence based practice.
  • Corresponded with medical doctors and orthopedic surgeons for enhanced patient care and provide updates on functional capability.
  • Determined any needed physical therapy treatment plans in consultation with physicians or by prescription.
  • Prepared and presented 30-minute in-service to fellow clinicians on examination and management of individuals with altered mental status.
  • Learned several correct rehabilitation techniques using ultrasound and massage.

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Top 10 Best States for Physical Therapy Interns

  1. Alaska
  2. New Mexico
  3. Alabama
  4. Nevada
  5. Mississippi
  6. Michigan
  7. Wyoming
  8. South Carolina
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Connecticut
  • (53 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (307 jobs)
  • (99 jobs)
  • (194 jobs)
  • (513 jobs)
  • (43 jobs)
  • (464 jobs)
  • (219 jobs)
  • (232 jobs)

Top Physical Therapy Internship Employers

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