Professional pediatric physical therapists love their work. The job entails the art and science of improving a patient’s motor skills, strength, range of motion and coordination. Because the role focuses specifically on children, there is particular emphasis on improving physical motion at a time when motor development is ongoing. This article will help you understand the unique benefits of being a pediatric physical therapist, the skills you need, and what the job entails.
Understanding the Pediatric Physical Therapist Role
Physical therapists use physical therapy techniques to diagnose movement difficulties and rehabilitate the non-mobile to restore range of function. These professionals interview children and their families, and then complete physical exams to understand the child’s movement problems. The pediatric physical therapist then designs a specific treatment of exercises and specially designed therapeutic movements to build strength, stability, muscle tone and range of motion in patients. Some of the tasks of a pediatric physical therapist include:
- Physical manipulation of children’s bodies to strengthen them.
- Motor learning and breathing training.
- Play therapy and developmental recreation.
- Designing, fitting, and teaching children how to use prosthetics and orthotics.
- Wound or burn care.
- Adaptation of a child’s lifestyle to their special physical needs.
Becoming a pediatric physical therapist is both challenging and rewarding. What are the benefits of these careers?
Rewards of a PPT
The rewards of becoming a pediatric physical therapist are myriad. First, it’s a role where you can clearly see the improvement in a child’s motor skills. It’s a hands-on approach to helping kids improve their physical endurance, balance and coordination, and as such, is highly rewarding with accomplishments you can literally see every day.
A pediatric physical therapist works hand-in-hand with families and children to promote the child’s independence through an increase in their mobility. This improves the lives of both kids and parents, which is one of the biggest rewards any PPT could have.
Another benefit of a pediatric physical therapist is the flexible schedules and varied work settings these professionals have. PPT’s work in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and other settings that offer both full- and part-time options. Some of these jobs take them into the family home, where they work with a child one-on-one.
As you might imagine, these professionals make a high salary to go with the extensive training they receive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median salary of a pediatric physical therapist is $85,400. Another benefit is that these positions are in high demand by employers around the country.
Upon graduation, pediatric physical therapists have many choices available to them, whether it’s a full-time role in a hospital, nursing home or home health, or they can join a private rehabilitation facility or even start their own practice.
But it’s the work itself that makes the pediatric physical therapist role so rewarding. Some of the benefits of the work include:
- PPTs get to use a variety of creative techniques to help children. Because of the unique nature of the patient – kids – a PPT gets to laugh and joke and take the work of physical therapy and turn it into playtime for the children to improve their outcomes.
- The pediatric physical therapist doesn’t have to choose between treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system or a neurological condition; the children themselves dictate the approach so every day is a new day for learning and growing as a PPT.
We know from experience that pediatric physical therapists are very proud of the work they do. It’s a fun, challenging job that is very appealing to anyone that wants to help children and their families. If this is the kind of position that interests you, contact Therapia to find out more today.