Spend time with Physical Therapy students
Captioned Video
Anne Reilley

"I chose Upstate because the environment was very welcoming and it seemed like a great environment to learn. The faculty are great and willing to help anyone."
— Kristina Wulff

About this Career

Physical therapists work directly with people to enhance movement and foster optimal health and functional ability. Patients/clients include those who have sustained injury or illness, have developmental deficits, have age-related problems, or need preventive care.

Physical therapists examine and evaluate patients to determine functional abilities such as walking, work capacity and community activities. They may examine and evaluate strength, sensation, joint mobility, endurance, pain, reflexes and movement skill of patients.

They plan therapy programs that may include exercises to improve functional abilities by increasing strength, endurance, balance, coordination and range of motion.

Interventions also include:

  • Joint mobilizations
  • Traction
  • Ultrasound
  • Water
  • Heat/cold
  • Electricity
  • Soft tissue mobilizations
Physical therapists work with all systems of the body, including:
  • Muscular
  • Skeletal
  • Circulatory
  • Respiratory
  • Nervous systems
Physical therapists work as members of health care teams in a variety of settings, including:
  • hospitals
  • rehabilitation centers
  • private practices
  • home-care agencies
  • schools
  • research centers
  • universities
  • extended care facilities
  • corporate or industrial health centers
  • sports medicine centers.

Advanced expertise leads to work in administration, consulting, research and education.

DPT-Doctor of Physical Therapy at Upstate

Professional Doctoral Program

This graduate program takes three years and begins in the summer. Clinical assignments are often available outside the Syracuse area, and are scheduled during the summer after the first and second years and during the spring semester of the third year.