Physical therapy is a broad medical discipline composed of a lot of sub disciplines and specialties. A lot of people nowadays choose professions in physical therapy because of the good pay, stable job, and great working condition.
According to US News & World Report, physical therapists are included in the 100 best jobs in terms of salary, employment opportunities, job security, and manageable life-work balance. Physical therapists are also one of the top ten professionals who are happy and satisfied with their jobs as ranked by Forbes in 2011 not only because of the good pay but also for the good working conditions for physical therapy professions.
With so many specialties to choose from, anyone who wants to pursue a career in physical therapy will definitely find the career that will be satisfying and suitable for them. One of the certified specialties in physical therapy that are significantly gaining popularity and demand in the healthcare industry is clinical electrophysiology.
Physical therapy in clinical electrophysiology specialty was approved and board certified by the American Physical Therapy Association or APTA House of Delegates in 1982. In June 2010, 146 of the licensed physical therapists employed in the country are certified clinical electrophysiology specialists based on APTA Specialists’ report.
Duties And Functions Of Physical Therapists Specializing In Clinical Electrophysiology
Clinical electrophysiology physical therapy is an advanced discipline combining the concepts of electrotherapy, electrophysiology, wound management, and more. Physical therapists who want to specialize in this field are usually interested in the application of various therapeutic treatments and techniques like electrotherapy in the effective treatment of conditions related to the muscles and nerves.
- Clinical electrophysiology physical therapists promote the use of EMG or electromyography as effective tool for diagnosis and treatment of health conditions related to the muscles and nerve cells, and the specific component that controls them which is the motor neurons.
- Use the best practices and devices in the field of electrophysiology and electrotherapy.
- Electrophysiology physical therapists diagnose and provide effective treatment plans for patients suffering from disorders related to the muscles and nerve cells.
- Physical therapists specializing in clinical electrophysiology also educate patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals handling the patients about the possible and associated risks.
Requirements To Become A Clinical Electrophysiology Physical Therapist
For those aspiring to become a physical therapist specializing in clinical electrophysiology, a person must first be registered and board certified as a physical therapist and must be licensed in the state or country he or she is employed.
Most states in the country require physical therapists to accomplish at least 2,000 practice hours in physical therapy for the past 10 years. 25% of the total practice hours must be earned 3 years before taking the specialization.
Aspiring electrophysiology physical therapists must also perform at least 500 examinations on electroneuromyography and must present evidence for the accomplishments of these exams. Most states also require at least 100 hours of work experience in the field of electroneuromyography. Physical therapists are also required to present their patient reports and testing records.
Specific requirements include at least 6 credit hours on various courses during the graduate and undergraduate education programs such as human physiology, upper extremity and lower extremity, head and neck, thorax, pelvis anatomy, and the spine. Aspiring clinical electrophysiology physical therapists must also earn at least 3 credit hours on path physiology during the graduate or undergraduate education level.
To become a certified specialist in clinical electrophysiology, physical therapists must also pass the specialization exam administered by the ABPTS or American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties for aspiring electrophysiology physical therapist.
Taking certification for a particular specialization is voluntary and not usually required by the board. However, taking specialty certification especially on the chosen specialization like clinical electrophysiology provides advantage both for the healthcare professionals and the patients. Through proper certification, physical therapists can prove that he or she has earned the proper education and training needed for the chosen specialty plus patients can also choose the right physical therapists specializing on their particular condition.
Employment Opportunities And Salaries
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists earn a median income of $76,310 annually or about $36.69 per hour in 2010. The median salary reported by APTA in 2010 is a bit higher which is about $80,000 depending on the physical therapist’s education level, practice setting or specialty, position in the company or institution, work experience, and the geographic location.
Most of the jobs within the healthcare industry expect job growth in the coming years and one of the fastest job growths will be for the physical therapists which is about 39% from year 2010 to 2020. This increase is higher than average compared to the job increase in other professions in the healthcare industry. This profession only has about 0.2% unemployment rate and also experiences some of the best working conditions making the profession in physical therapy a top option for aspiring healthcare professionals today.
Included in the expected job increase will be job opportunities for physical therapists with specialization like clinical elect physiologists. Compared to other specialties in physical therapy like orthopaedics and geriatrics, specialists in clinical electrophysiology physical therapy are not that many.
Their limited number results to higher demands for these specialists especially with the increasing number of people nowadays suffering from disorders, injuries, and other health conditions related to the health of the muscles and nerve cells. More and more aging baby boomers are now entering the stage wherein lots of them acquire various health conditions and mobility related problems that require physical therapy care and treatments involving clinical electrophysiology.
A Good Career In The Future
Clinical electrophysiology cannot be considered as a new specialty in physical therapy since this practice has been around for years now and specific practices like electrotherapy and wound management have been also used by healthcare professionals for years now in treating patients with disabilities and injury-related problems.
However, only few physical therapists pursue this specialty and with the increasing scope of the speciality and its application, more clinical electrophysiology physical therapists are expected to be needed in the coming years. If you are an aspiring student, pursuing a career in physical therapy and earning a specialization in electrophysiology will be a great career option.