Job Family: Health Care Practitioners Physical and Occupational Therapists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Coast Guard

Photo 1: Therapist checks patient's leg mobility. Photo 2:
Therapist checks patient's hand injury .

Short Description
Physical and occupational therapies are programs of treatment and exercise for patients disabled from illness or injury. Physical and occupational therapists plan and administer therapy to help patients adjust to disabilities, regain independence, and prepare to return to work.


What They Do
Physical and occupational therapists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Test and interview patients to determine the extent of their disabilities
  • Plan and manage individual physical or occupational therapy programs
  • Consult with doctors and other therapists to discuss appropriate therapy and evaluate patients’ progress
  • Administer exercise programs and heat and massage treatments
  • Counsel patients and their families to help create a positive attitude for recovery

Helpful Attributes
Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to communicate effectively
  • Desire to help others
  • Interest in developing detailed plans and treatments
  • Patience to work with people whose injuries heal slowly

Training Provided
No initial job training is provided in this occupation.

Work Environment
Physical and occupational therapists work in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and other medical facilities.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian physical and occupational therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and community mental health centers. They perform duties similar to those performed by military therapists. Civilian physical and occupational therapists often specialize in treating a particular type of patient, such as children, the elderly, the severely disabled, or those who have lost arms or legs (amputees).

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