Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Looking for a job as a pediatric physical therapist? Here’s what you should know

Table of Contents

Being a pediatric physical therapist takes a unique skill set and a heart for helping infants and toddlers while they’re developing. Often, it means turning challenging exercises into play. But working with children comes with its challenges. If you have a lot of patience, a natural connection with children and an upbeat personality, pediatric physical therapy could be a great career choice for you.

An aging population is one of the main reasons the demand for physical therapists is expected to steadily increase. The majority of new physical therapists are likely to stick with general PT or specialize in geriatric physical therapy if they’re looking for job security. However, children can develop many of the conditions adults seek physical therapy for, for instance, arthritis or bone disorders. There will always be a need for pediatric PTs. Going into this specialty area may even set you apart from the crowd. 

Before you set your sights on a career as a pediatric physical therapist, it’s a good idea to do some research and try to gain experience working with kids. Keep reading to learn more about what you can expect.

What’s it like to be a pediatric physical therapist?

Pediatric physical therapists primarily work with children who have special needs, developmental delays, or conditions that affect their development of motor skills and coordination. Children with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy often need physical therapy. Like most children, these patients can be incredibly resilient and show up with a positive attitude when they’re engaged with their therapy. If you can meet them on their level and show that you’re trustworthy, they’ll take their cues from you. But if you’re not feeling confident, you may have a harder time getting them to cooperate.

The patients you see and the goals you help them with may depend on the type of facility you’re working in. In a neonatal intensive care unit, you’ll primarily help premature newborns develop muscle tone and range of motion. In rehabilitation clinics, you may help toddlers and young children develop balance, coordination and motor skills. In sports therapy clinics, you may help older children recover from sports injuries.

The type of facility you’re working in will also influence your work schedule. Parents typically try to schedule outpatient appointments around school and their work schedules. If you do any in-home physical therapy, you can expect to work nights and weekends. PTs who work in schools may be able to see all of their patients during the school day. 

What does a pediatric physical therapist do?

Like other types of physical therapy, pediatric PT begins with observing the patient’s movements and evaluating their strength, flexibility and range of motion. Depending on the patient population you’re working with, you might use passive techniques to do most of the “work” yourself. Or you might lead by example and give verbal instructions. You may guide patients through a series of play activities or use equipment like exercise balls to help them develop gross motor skills, strengthen their muscles or correct imbalances. 

Children with sports injuries and other types of injuries may need help rehabilitating affected muscle groups. There’s often a psychological component to rehabilitation as well. If you’re helping children who may need adaptive equipment, prosthetics or custom wheelchairs, you might help them learn to use their new equipment while they’re recovering. You can also connect parents with the right resources to get a custom-fit prosthetic or device. 

Answering questions from both your patients and their parents is an important part of the job. You’ll also provide recommendations and instructions on how to provide care and continue exercises between sessions. You won’t be the only health care professional your patients are working with. You can help provide continuity of care by communicating with their primary care physicians and advocating for them with other care providers.

How does being a pediatric physical therapist compare to other physical therapy jobs?

If you have a way with children and a strong desire to work with them, pediatric physical therapy has some advantages over other specialty areas. Pediatric PTs enjoy a good salary and plenty of job opportunities. You can find work almost anywhere in the country, and you can even travel for temporary assignments. If you have aspirations to start your own practice, you can definitely do so with pediatric PT.

Like any other type of physical therapy, pediatric PT combines applied knowledge of the musculoskeletal system with rehabilitation, wellness coaching and problem-solving. It requires the same amount of education, licensing and experience as other specialty areas. In some ways, working with children can be demanding. When they’re not feeling well, some children may not cooperate or follow directions. Advocating for children with other care providers can be a bit more challenging. Adults are more independent, but with children, you have to coordinate with their parents to ensure that they’re getting the right care between sessions. 

Where do pediatric physical therapists work?

While you can find a standard clinical position as a pediatric physical therapist, there are plenty of other alternatives to consider. Positions like a physical therapist assistant or nonclinical physical therapy jobs may be available. Working in a school for children with special needs or in your patients’ homes creates a very different environment. Outpatient treatment and rehabilitation centers will have a slightly different administrative structure than your typical clinic. Finally, in hospitals and neonatal intensive care units, your patients may have more acute health issues than patients in other settings.

Some of the areas you can work in as a pediatric PT include:

  • Physical therapy clinics.
  • Outpatient treatment centers.
  • Rehabilitation centers.
  • Hospitals.
  • Neonatal intensive care units.
  • Schools.
  • Your patients’ homes.

How can I get a job as a pediatric physical therapist?

To specialize in pediatric physical therapy, you’ll need to complete a clinical residency with this population. You can also decide to pursue board certification in pediatric PT. A fellowship is the highest level of professional training you can receive in this area.

Again, being a pediatric PT requires the same amount of training and education as other specialties. Having experience working with kids can be helpful, though. You can get some experience working with kids during an internship or your residency. But you may want to gain this experience through another avenue first to make sure working with children in a professional capacity is right for you. Volunteering and working with kids through a day care or another position can be a great way to get this experience.

Ready for a new and exciting career opportunity? Alliance PTP can help 

Alliance Physical Therapy Partners firmly believes that partnership means creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Alliance PTP is proud to bring together physical therapy clinics around the nation to help people get the kind of treatment they’re looking for and then exceed their expectations. 

But we realize that our partners can’t serve the people in their communities with exceptional PT without amazing PT team members and admin staff. That’s why we’re always on the lookout for hardworking individuals who want: 

Want to learn more about the current career opportunities available at Alliance PTP’s partnership in care? Check out our Careers page.

Table of Contents

Come work with the best

Wait!

Sign up for our newsletter first!

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Work-Fit
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Biocorrect Custom Orthotics
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Whatcom Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

SSOR Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

SOL Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Rehab Access
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Peak Performance Sports and Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Panther Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Franklin Rehabilitation
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Excel Rehab & Sports
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Excel Sports and Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Continuum Wellness
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Back in Motion Physical Therapy
Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Clinical Marketing & Sales

clinical marketing and sales

Are you a natural at connecting people and making introductions, with a heart that beats for the healthcare industry? Join us in making our clinics well-know and highly regarded among local physicians, past patients, employers and the community.

Get in touch

Name(Required)
Email(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Heading to Our New Career Hub!

Alliance Physical Therapy Partners Logo

Hey there! Just a quick heads-up: You’re now being redirected to lifeatalliance.com, our newly updated home for all things career-related. Don’t worry, you’re cruising along to the right destination. It’s part of our commitment to ensuring you have the best experience possible.

We’ve crafted this space with you in mind – it’s where your professional growth continues with an even richer source of guidance and support.

Central Services

central services

Whether your expertise lies in revenue cycle, marketing, HR, finance or other central service areas, your role will be pivotal to our success.