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The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.

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In Brief...

Uses highly skilled, hands-on techniques to diagnose, prevent or treat underlying conditions and problems


  • Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.


  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

In Summary - Physical Therapist

Career Sectors

Physical Therapists typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Health & Fitness
Leisure, Sport & Fitness
Allied Health Professionals
Medical & Healthcare

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The Work - Physical Therapist

A Physical Therapist is a variant of the occupation of Physiotherapist.

In some countries, the two job titles of Physical Therapist and Physiotherapist are interchangeable and both are qualified physiotherapists. In Ireland, however, the situation is different and these are two distinct and seperate occupations.

Physical Therapy concentrates exclusively on the use of manual (or hands-on/holistic) techniques, whereas Physiotherapy incorporates electrical modalities, such as interferential, ultrasound, tens, laser and other non-manual treatments.

The Physical Therapist develops skills in the treatment of soft tissue/sports injuries, an area Physiotherapists do not train in until post graduate study.

Physical therapists are trained with a view to a longer client consultation incorporating a more holistic approach and treatment, which by virtue of its hands-on nature is more client-centred.

Physiotherapists can be found working within the public health service, however, Physical Therapists must look to private practice for employment and are primarily self-employed practitioners.

Entrants to Physical Therapy come from a very wide variety of backgrounds and professions, with an interest in sport being a frequent theme.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
  • Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
  • Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
  • Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
  • Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
  • Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
  • Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Interests - Physical Therapist

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


Communication skills are rated as important for this career area.

Entry Requirements - Physical Therapist

The B.Sc. in Applied Health Science, Level 7 NFQ, with an option to continue to a Level 8 Hounours Degree is the recognised academic qualification available through the IPTAS [More].

IT Sligo offers Health Science and Physiology [SG435] a 3 year Level 7 Degree programme which equips graduates to work in areas such as sports development, physical activity, health promotion and health research as well as for progression to further studies in dietetics and human nutrition, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, radiography, podiatry, physical education, sports science, biomedical science, nursing and other health-related disciplines.

Related courses include:

QQI (QQI) Progression Route

Coláiste Íde, College of Further Education in Finglas offers a one year pre-university course in Physiotherapy, which is a Level 6 on the NFQ. This is a new programme designed for post Leaving Certificate students who wish to prepare for entry into a selection of European universities.

Title of Course: Sports and Leisure Management – Pre University Physiotherapy             

6M5147 Level 6 Sports, Recreation and Exercise

See also Physiotherapist

Physiotherapist V Physical Therapist

Confusion sometimes arises, especially for students trying to choose college courses, between the occupation and professional titles of 'physiotherapist' and 'physical therapist'. In most other countries the terms are interchangeable, however, in Ireland they refer to two different levels of qualification and clinical expertise.

According to The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists, the professional body representing physiotherapists in Ireland,  Chartered Physiotherapists have a four-year full-time degree and 1,000 hours of clinical placement in public health services as part of that degree programme and also have expertise in musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory and neurological conditions. In Ireland, a Physical Therapist does not have training in neurological conditions and work outside the public health system. There are also varied levels of training. In general, their clinical practice is limited to musculoskeletal conditions.

CORU, the Health and Social Care Professional Council which is the State organisation that manages the official register of healthcare professionals is currently in the process of setting up the register for physiotherapists in Ireland, and will have to decide whether both physiotherapists and physical therapists will be included and, if so, what the minimum educational qualifications and clinical experience for the profession will be.

Last Updated: February, 2015

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