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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Background in Physical Therapy

Published November 19, 2009 7:22 AM by Lisa West
A friend of mine is an MD, and he often does other work using his MD education as a basis for other jobs.  He serves as an "expert opinion" in some court trials, does consultation work for medicine companies, and teaches lectures occasionally.  Although he isn't practicing medicine, he indirectly uses that background in other career opportunities.

The physical demands of a PT job can be strenuous depending on the practice setting.  There are few PTs practicing over the age of 50 (according to a Minnnesota study).  And, like any career, sometimes employees just need a change in what they do.  So what about physical therapists?  How can we use that information in other careers?

Here's a little list of other careers that may benefit from a background in PT--

1. To pursue a career in other medical fields. Some PTs go back to school to become physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, even MDs.

2. Consulting in equipment development. With electrical stimulation devices, lite-gait equipment, and other tools we use often in our practice, developers will often ask for therapist input into making the devices more user-friendly.

3. Business development and management. PTs who later succeed in an MBA program can consult for PT clinics and help with their business plan and implement solutions to problems with billing, patient satisfaction, or employee recruitment. Many PTs are promoted to managerial positions in hospital rehab departments.

4. Teaching. This is an obvious one- almost every professor in a PT program has experience, or continues to practice PT.

5. Prosthetist, orthotists. I toured a company that manufactured prosthetic limbs when I was a student, and one employee was a former PT. He talked to me about how his experience as a PT helped him develop quality products for their clients, and he enjoyed the hands-on work in fabricating the devices.

Can you think of other opportunities where knowledge of physical therapy is beneficial?   Do you know of therapists who go on to use their experience in unique ways?

3 comments

A physical thererapy professional can teach at community centers by educating people about falls and certain behaviours that can lead to pain. Here in Spokane , we offer our clients advice and well as service.

Paul G, PT - assistant December 23, 2009 3:53 PM
Spokane WA

I am now approaching a "certain age" and am returning to school to get my Masters in Public Health. I think a PT perspective is lacking in this area and it will be a great way to continue to make a difference.

Dean Metz, Intermediate Care - Sr. PT, Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust November 19, 2009 3:13 PM
Sunderland, England

Case management and consultation on work comp boards.

Christie ,, November 19, 2009 11:11 AM

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