Manual therapy is a type of physical therapy that involves the manipulation of soft tissue and joints to relieve pain and improve mobility. Manual therapists are experts in this area of therapy, providing hands-on treatment for a variety of conditions. In this article, we will discuss the profession of manual therapy, including its specializations, tasks and responsibilities, demand, salary ranges, where manual therapists work, important qualities of a successful manual therapist, step-by-step career path, how to become a manual therapist, where to become a manual therapist, and whether or not you can enter the profession with a different degree. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.
- Introduction to Manual Therapist as a profession
- Tasks and responsibilities
- Pros and Cons
- Salary ranges
- Where do Manual Therapists work?
- Important qualities of a successful Manual Therapist
- Step-by-step career path
- How to become a Manual Therapist
- Where to become a Manual Therapist
- Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
Introduction to Manual Therapist as a profession
Manual therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment that aims to improve a patient's overall mobility and function by addressing the root cause of the problem. Manual therapists use their hands to manipulate muscles, joints, and other soft tissues to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. The profession of manual therapy requires extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, as well as excellent manual dexterity and communication skills.
Manual therapists can specialize in a variety of areas, such as:
- Orthopedic Manual Therapy: Focuses on the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, such as back pain, neck pain, and joint pain.
- Neurological Manual Therapy: Focuses on the treatment of neurological conditions, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.
- Pediatric Manual Therapy: Focuses on the treatment of children with developmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.
- Sports Manual Therapy: Focuses on the treatment of sports-related injuries, such as sprains, strains, and fractures.
Tasks and responsibilities
Manual therapists are responsible for:
- Conducting patient assessments and creating treatment plans.
- Performing manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, and spinal manipulation.
- Providing patient education on exercise, posture, and injury prevention.
- Communicating with other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors.
Pros and Cons
- Hands-on treatment can be very effective in reducing pain and improving mobility.
- Manual therapy is a non-invasive form of treatment that does not require medication or surgery.
- The demand for manual therapists is growing, creating many job opportunities.
- Manual therapists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
- The physical nature of the work can be tiring and potentially lead to injury.
- Manual therapy can be time-consuming and may require multiple sessions to see results.
- The profession of manual therapy can be emotionally demanding, as therapists often work with patients who are in pain or experiencing other health issues.
- The level of education and training required to become a manual therapist can be extensive.
The demand for manual therapists is high, particularly in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists (which includes manual therapists) is projected to grow 18 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The salary range for manual therapists can vary depending on the country and the specific job setting. In the United States, the median annual wage for physical therapists (which includes manual therapists) was $91,010 in May 2020. In Canada, the median annual wage for physiotherapists (which includes manual therapists) was $86,071 in 2020. In Great Britain, the starting salary for manual therapists is around £20,000 per year, while experienced therapists can earn up to £50,000 per year. In Australia, the average salary for physiotherapists (which includes manual therapists) is around AU$73,000 per year.
Where do Manual Therapists work?
Manual therapists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, sports facilities, and private practices. They may also work with home health agencies or provide in-home care to patients. The need for manual therapists is increasing due to the aging population and the growing awareness of the benefits of manual therapy.
Important qualities of a successful Manual Therapist
To be successful in this profession, a manual therapist should possess the following qualities:
- Strong communication skills: Manual therapists must be able to effectively communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals.
- Physical stamina: The work can be physically demanding, so therapists must have good physical stamina.
- Attention to detail: Manual therapists must pay close attention to the patient's condition and adjust treatment plans accordingly.
- Empathy: The ability to understand and empathize with the patient's pain and discomfort is essential to providing effective treatment.
Step-by-step career path
The career path for a manual therapist typically includes the following steps:
- Obtain a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as kinesiology or exercise science.
- Complete a master's or doctoral degree in physical therapy.
- Obtain licensure by passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
- Gain experience by working as a physical therapist in a variety of settings.
- Specialize in manual therapy by completing continuing education courses or pursuing additional certifications.
How to become a Manual Therapist
To become a manual therapist in the United States, you must first obtain a degree in physical therapy. This typically requires completing a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as kinesiology or exercise science, followed by a master's or doctoral degree in physical therapy. After completing your degree, you must pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) to obtain licensure.
In some cases, you may also need to complete a residency or graduate program in manual therapy to specialize in this area of treatment. Continuing education courses and certifications are also available to further enhance your skills and knowledge.
Where to become a Manual Therapist
There are many schools and universities in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia that offer programs in physical therapy. Here are five examples of schools in each country:
- University of Southern California
- Duke University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Emory University
- University of Miami
- University of British Columbia
- McGill University
- University of Toronto
- University of Alberta
- Dalhousie University
- University of Southampton
- Keele University
- Cardiff University
- University of Birmingham
- Glasgow Caledonian University
- University of Melbourne
- University of Sydney
- Monash University
- Griffith University
- Curtin University
Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
In most cases, a degree in physical therapy is required to become a manual therapist. However, some countries may allow individuals with a related degree, such as exercise science or kinesiology, to become a manual therapist with additional training and certifications. It's important to research the specific requirements in your country before pursuing a career in manual therapy.