Pediatric Physical Therapy: Working With Children With Special Needs

Physical therapy has several specializations. If you love working with children, you are lucky. You can choose to pursue pediatric physical therapy as a career. Being a pediatric physical therapist allows you to work closely with child patients suffering from disabilities, injuries or post-surgery conditions. A pediatric physical therapist’s job is highly fulfilling. You will see the results of your hard work once the child starts being active again and having big smiles on their faces.

The Career Of A Pediatric Physical Therapist

A pediatric physical therapist provides services to kids with special needs. They can work with kids in their homes, in an in-patient or outpatient clinical setting. The typical responsibilities of a pediatric physical therapist include organizing physical therapy plans based on the evaluation and diagnosis on the patient. The pediatric physical therapist creates and implements the physical therapy plan himself. These therapy plans aim to achieve the highest level of function possible for the patient after suffering an injury, illness, accident or surgery. Pediatric physical therapists use equipment, activities and exercises to achieve their goals. They work with other doctors as well the child’s family.

What Do You Need To Be A Pediatric Physical Therapist?

In most states, the required education degree for a pediatric physical therapist is a master’s degree. It can be in the field of physical therapy or occupational therapy. Nevertheless, it will be best to check your state regulations on this as every state’s requirements vary.

Career Outlook For Pediatric Physical TherapyCoursework in a 2-year master’s degree program will include studying theories of physical or occupational therapy as well as the techniques in physical/occupational therapy. Students will also be taught research methods and pediatric therapy. If you want to pursue higher education, you can do so as well. Degree programs in physical therapy are also available online if you do not have time to study the traditional way. After completing your master’s degree, you should pass the national certification exam to be a certified pediatric physical therapist.

As a pediatric physical therapist, you should have personal qualities like empathy, patience and flexibility. Kids can get pretty stubborn too so you should be motivational and encouraging. You should have good communication skills and should be a team player. Bear in mind that you will be working with the kid’s family and the other doctors.

Career Outlook For Pediatric Physical Therapy

There is an excellent career outlook for pediatric physical therapy. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there will be a 27% employment growth until 2016. The median salary of a pediatric physical therapist is around $66,200.


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