The Pediatric Physical Therapist Career

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Written By Adrian Cruce






As a pediatric physical therapy professional, you will help children become less painful and more functional through movement. This profession demands patience, empathy, and manual dexterity – qualities that must be combined in equal proportions for success. The pediatric physical therapist career is one that is very interesting for many.

To enter this field, one needs a doctorate degree and internship experience with a supervisory body. Furthermore, licensing will also be required.

Education Requirements

Are You an Enthusiastic Physical Therapist Looking to Change Lives as a Pediatric Physical Therapist? – For physical therapists interested in making an impactful difference for children and families, becoming a pediatric physical therapist could be a rewarding career choice. Anyone interested should begin exploring educational requirements and career opportunities to explore this path to becoming one.

Step one is enrolling in a physical therapy program and completing all required field hours for licensure. While completing your degree program, look for an internship or residency placement at hospitals that specialize in pediatric physical therapy as you complete it. In addition, take elective courses designed specifically for pediatric work that will prepare you to work with this age group.

Pediatric physical therapy professionals can work in various environments, from hospitals and clinics to private practices and schools and community organizations, providing services for children with special needs or disabilities. Many children covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs won’t incur out-of-pocket charges for physical therapy services provided under these programs.

Pediatric physical therapists must possess exceptional communication skills to effectively explain conditions, limitations, and treatment plans to children. Furthermore, they will work closely with their patients, parents, and healthcare providers; certified pediatric PTs typically have completed at least 2,000 direct patient care hours as part of their training prior to sitting for their board certification examination.

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Job Duties

As one of the most rewarding jobs in medicine, serving as a pediatric physical therapist can be immensely satisfying. The rewards are many and varied, such as helping children with disabilities reach their goals with dignity while simultaneously developing valuable skills and experiences. Working in this capacity requires patience, empathy, and exceptional manual dexterity as well as a willingness to work long hours–including evening and weekend shifts if required.

Pediatric physical therapists specialize in diagnosing mobility issues in infants and adolescents suffering from birth defects, head trauma, or other diseases or injuries. Additionally, they help these children adapt to their environment by adapting toys or equipment so that they may use it more easily; interview patients as well as their families before performing several tests to reach an accurate diagnosis.

As a pediatric physical therapist, it’s essential that you possess an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and its structure, along with reading, writing, and communicating effectively with other professionals. Physical endurance is also key, along with being able to handle stress while lifting patients or equipment safely and collaborating effectively with other healthcare practitioners such as occupational therapists and speech pathologists.


Pediatric physical therapist salaries can differ widely depending on location and area of expertise and educational level. According to Payscale, specialists who treat children with specific disorders tend to command a higher salary than PTs who treat other patient populations.

Other factors that can have an effect on how much PTs earn include years of experience, the number of patients they see each week, and the type of facility they work at. Furthermore, they could increase their earnings by switching jobs, moving states, or attaining a higher degree.

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Pediatric physical therapists not only enhance young patients’ range of movement and motor skills, but they can also assist them with reaching developmental milestones and improving their quality of life. Pediatric PTs frequently work with those affected by genetic conditions like Down Syndrome assisting them to build strength safely while increasing coordination.

Patience is key for pediatric physical therapists as they may encounter uncooperative or even angry children suffering from pain or trauma. Furthermore, this job requires stamina and dexterity as well as high levels of stamina and dexterity to perform successfully. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle to avoid burnout and ensure long-term success within their profession is also vital; they will frequently interact with clients so developing strong communication skills is also a must.

Work Environment

Pediatric physical therapy is an enriching profession with numerous career opportunities. Therapists in this field help children with various physical and developmental disabilities enhance their mobility and daily functional skills, creating a positive work environment by encouraging children and families alike to reach their maximum functional potential. Furthermore, clinical duties may include developing and implementing therapeutic exercise plans, conducting evaluations, and collaborating with other medical professionals.

These specialists may work in various facilities, such as schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers; some even travel directly to patient’s homes to provide therapeutic sessions. Furthermore, they may suggest prosthetics, orthotics, custom wheelchair seat systems, and assistive technology equipment as potential solutions.

Pediatric therapists must possess exceptional communication skills in order to create a positive work environment and effectively interact with children and their families. This skill set is particularly necessary when sharing patient goals, outlining treatment plans, or working alongside other healthcare providers. Furthermore, pediatric therapists must possess patience and empathy when working with children of various ages and abilities, in addition to possessing an in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and physiology.

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Are You Thinking About Becoming a Pediatric Physical Therapist? The first Steps Are Undergraduate Degrees (UDAs). A study program such as child development, physiology, anatomy, or neuroscience would lay the necessary groundwork. Furthermore, attending an accredited doctorate program such as that provided by Commission Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).