Physical Therapist | Kids Work!


What is a Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists treat patients who are disabled due to surgery, injury or disease. They create rehabilitative programs for the patients to help improve mobility, relieve pain and increase strength. The therapists must have good social and communicative skills to instruct and motivate patients who are often in pain. Physical therapists must test, measure and evaluate patients' progress. Daily duties are physically demanding due to the amount of strength it takes to work with a patient who needs assistance exercising or walking.

Real People Profile

Name: Cynthia Ekman
Workplace: Palmetto Health Richland
Education: Bachelor of Science in exercise science
Bachelor of Science in physical therapy
Favorite Subject(s)
in School:
Biology and science
Dream Job: Work as a physical therapist
Interests: Weight-lifting, teaching aerobics, water-skiing

Real People Q&A

Advice for students interested in my job:
Volunteer in the field that interests you.

What subjects in school will students need to do my job?
Biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, health science

What do I like most about my job:
The best thing about physical therapy to me is working with people, helping them get better and seeing positive results. We work with people of all ages from infants to the elderly. It’s definitely enlightening. The majority of the time you are seeing people get better and that’s just a positive experience that you go home everyday feeling good.

What is the biggest challenge in my job?
Physical therapy is such an up and growing field and there seem to be so many people who need physical therapy and really not enough physical therapists to go around, so we actually have to limit the amount of time we can spend with each patient. That’s a drawback because patients can always use more physical therapy and unfortunately we’re not able to provide that much.

How do you get a job like mine?
Volunteer. Whether at a hospital or a physical therapy center, and stand in the background and decide if that is something you would be interested in, not to mention that you also learn just by observing. That would be one thing you can do.