Physical therapists improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries and disease. Treatment often includes exercise to improve strength, balance, coordination and endurance for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility. Physical therapists also use electrical stimulation, hot and/or cold compresses, and ultrasound to relieve pain, improve the condition of muscles and related tissues, and to reduce swelling. They teach patients to use crutches, prostheses, and wheelchairs to perform day-to-day activities. Most importantly, a physical therapist educates patients and their family members about home care and how to use exercise to speed healing and regain normal function of the body.

A physical therapist can specialize in different areas of the field such as fitness, wellness and sports medicine. They are qualified to work in clinics, rehabilitation centers, acute-care and general hospitals, private and governmental agencies, the school systems with handicapped children, or be self employed.

Educational Qualifications

After completing all pre-requisites at La Sierra University, students should apply to an accredited physical therapy program, most programs offer doctor of physical therapy (DPT) and only a few offer master’s degree programs. After completion, students are required to pass a licensure exam.

Job Outlook

Jobs in the field of physical therapy are expected to grow by 39% through the year 2020

Entering Salary

The national average income for physical therapists is $81,110 and the average income for California is $89,370.

Academic program information adapted from:


Career information adapted from:


  • U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2013). Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from

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