Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is designed for the student who plans to continue a Bachelor of Science degree at a four-year college or university then apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson, Miss., or other Physical Therapy programs in the surrounding states of Tennessee, Georgia and Arkansas.

Education
The student should be aware that the entrance to all Physical Therapy programs, including the one in Jackson, is highly competitive, and high grade point average is usually required for acceptance. Most Physical Therapy programs are three years beyond a Bachelor of Science degree. It is highly recommended that students who choose this program work closely with their advisers. An Associate of Arts degree is awarded by Northwest upon completion of the curriculum.

Today’s entrants to this profession need a post-baccalaureate degree from an accredited physical therapy program. All States regulate the practice of physical therapy, which usually requires passing scores on national and State examinations.

What should I expect from a career in Physical Therapy?
Physical therapists, sometimes referred to as simply PTs, are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limits their abilities to move and perform functional activities as well as they would like in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physical therapists provide care to people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from, for example, back and neck injuries, sprains/strains and fractures, arthritis, burns, amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, conditions such as cerebral palsy and spina-bifida, and injuries related to work and sports. Physical therapy care and services are provided by physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who work under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose movement dysfunction and use interventions to treat patient/clients. Interventions may include therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy techniques, assistive and adaptive devices and equipment, and physical agents and electrotherapeutic modalities.

Physical therapists often consult and practice with a variety of other professionals, such as physicians, dentists, nurses, educators, social workers, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and audiologists.

How much can I earn? What is the job outlook?