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Physical therapy is the care and services provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, including: examining clients with physical impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities or other health-related conditions in order to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention; alleviating impairments and functional limitations by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions; preventing injury, impairments, functional limitations and disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health, and quality of life in all age groups; and engaging in consultation, education, and research.
Physical therapists provide clients, infants through elderly adults, with services at the preventive, acute, and rehabilitative stages directed toward achieving increased functional independence and decreased functional impairment. Physical therapists interact and practice in collaboration with a variety of health professionals. They educate and inform others about the services they offer and their effective and cost-efficient delivery. Physical therapists are required to be licensed by the states in which they practice. Physical therapy provides excellent employment potential. The field continues to show growth in clinical responsibilities and in new areas of clinical practice. Some examples of settings where physical therapists are employed include: acute care hospitals, rehabilitation settings, private offices, sports medicine clinics, athletic teams, school systems, centers for the disabled, geriatric settings, home health care, industry, research centers, and universities. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) offers a good look at the future of the profession.