The Main Specialties Available To A Physical Therapist

One of the great advantages of becoming a physical therapist is that you can decide to further enhance your profession and skills by specializing in a particular physical therapy field of specialty. Specializing in one area of expertise will not only further enhance career and skills but it will also provide personal benefits in terms of knowledge and higher income. This is why specializing is a common move for most physical therapists in the country.

According to the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties, the board officially recognizes and certifies eight (8) clinical specializations in physical therapy. These specialties are:

  • Orthopedic
  • Geriatrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Sports
  • Clinical Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
  • Women’s Health

Main Specialties Available To A Physical TherapistAccording to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, orthopedic physical therapists have the highest number of population in terms of licensed and certified physical therapist with specialization. Orthopedic is a very good option to specialize if you are a physical theraist because this course is directly related and relevant to the practice of physical therapy. Orthopedic physical therapists handle patients suffering from disorders and injuries involving the musculoskeletal system. Some of the most common conditions they handle are sports injuries, post surgeries and disease involving the musculoskeletal structure, arthritis, and amputations.

Geriatric physical therapists are the next highest population of PT with specializations in the country. Physical therapists focusing in geriatrics provide physical therapy care to adults suffering from disability, diseases and injuries associated with aging. Some of the common health problems they address are osteoporosis, arthritis, hip replacement, balance disorders, joint replacement, Alzheimer, and cancer.

Pediatric physical therapists are PT specializing on treating children with physical disabilities and disorders. They focus on the proper treatment specifically for children since young ones usually have different conditions and needs than adults. They treat children with developmental disorders, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and torticollis. They are also one of the highest populations of certified PT with specialization next to geriatric physical therapists.

Neurological physical therapy is a specialization in physical therapy that focuses on the treatment of disabilities and mobility problems related to disorders in the nervous system. They treat conditions such as stroke, Alzheimer, cerebral palsy, paralysis and multiple sclerosis, injuries in the spinal cord, Parkinson’s disease, and poor balance. Some specialties treat the same conditions like the Alzheimer, balance disorders, and cancer. This is very common for a very broad and vastly applicable discipline like physical therapy.


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