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Physical Therapist Resume Example & Writing Guide

A proven job specific resume example + writing guide for landing your next job in 2022. You can edit this Physical Therapist resume example to get a quick start and easily build a perfect resume in just a few minutes. Just fill in your details, download your new resume & start your job application today!
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Physical Therapist Resume Example & Writing Guide
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Anyone who has ever sprained an ankle, thrown out their back or twisted an arm (literally) is thankful that people like you work in the demanding field of physical therapy. The need for physical therapist is growing rapidly thanks mostly to an aging population who will need to stay mobile well into their golden years. A strong physical therapist resume can open the door to numerous rewarding positions. The goal of this guide along with Resume.io's 250+ resume examples is to help you highlight your best qualities and land the right job for you.

Here's what we'll cover in our physical therapist resume sample:

  • The secrets of writing a physical therapist resume that impresses hiring managers
  • The best format for a physical therapist plus a resume sample
  • How to create a summary that grabs attention
  • The importance of a great layout and design for a physical therapist resume sample

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists help people with physical injuries, illnesses, or disabilities to regain range of movement and help to control pain. They treat people who suffer from loss of motor function due to accidents, illness, or deterioration due to age. Physical therapists use their expertise and experience to determine the actual cause of trauma in patients, and work with them to create a customized plan for rehabilitation.

Physical therapists create plans that involve physical manipulation exercises, stretching, and strength training. Physical therapists and occupational therapists work in a variety of medical settings including hospitals, sports and fitness facilities, nursing homes, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, and schools. An ideal candidate is an experienced and compassionate person with the necessary education and licensure required to practice as a physical therapist. Physical therapists must possess an advanced degree such as a Masters of physical therapy degree or a Doctor of physical therapy degree.

Statistical insight

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S.), the need for physical therapists is expected to grow by 18 percent over the coming decade – much faster than the average of other professions. This growth means that 47,000 new jobs should become available in the field. There's never been a better time to get your physical therapist resume ready!

How to write a physical therapist resume

Here are a few key pieces of information that you'll need to include to write a great physical therapist resume:

  • The resume header
  • The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section

While these sections are common on most resumes, you'll want to tailor each one to show why you're the right physical therapist for that particular opening. The time invested in customizing your resume usually pays for itself when you hear back from hiring managers.

A successful physical therapist resume should showcase the necessary clinical experience, education and licensure required for a position in this field. The candidate’s ability to provide optimal patient care in a variety of health settings alongside nurses, clinic coordinators and other professionals is essential to indicate in a resume. Physical therapists should be adept in working with patients to design and implement customized therapy plans that meet their needs and desires. Physical therapists should be experienced in managing physical setbacks and injuries in accordance with best practices and industry standards.

Expert tip

Just the words "resume scanner" are enough to strike fear into the hearts of any well-meaning job seeker. While these algorithms are in use in many large healthcare systems, that doesn't mean that your resume is destined to fall by the wayside. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) scan resumes for keywords and rank them against other candidates. Here are some tips to make it past this first hurdle and land your physical therapist resume on the hiring manager's desk.

  1. Make sure to read the job description closely and look for any "keywords" – duties, skills, traits or responsibilities that are particularly important to the employer.
  2. Incorporate these keywords into your resume in the appropriate sections making sure never to write something that is untrue about yourself.
  3. Create clear sections with common headings like "Skills" or "Education" so that both the ATS and hiring manager know where to look.

Choosing the best resume format for physical therapists

What's the best format for a physical therapist resume? This is a field determined by experience so the best way to show your expertise is by choosing a reverse chronological resume format. This format allows you to highlight your previous positions that gave you the skills your currently possess. You can also include any internships or educational experiences and mention transferable skills that you would use if you were hired in the physical therapist role. The reverse chronological format starts with your most recent position and works backwards until you've included all relevant roles. While this is not the only resume format, it's considered the best one for traditional fields like medicine.

Expert tip

"How long should my resume be?"

It's a common question that might have a different response depending on where you are in your career. Generally speaking, physical therapists with less than 10 years in the field should aim for a one-page resume (our resume example can show you how to do this.) If you have dozens of accolades and are a leader in your field, you may need to add a second page. However, shorter is almost always better as it keeps the hiring manager's interest and increases the chances they'll read through all your experience.

Resume summary example

The resume summary example is the place to offer the most convincing arguments about why you're the right physical therapist for the job. The summary is where you should include your qualifications, most impressive experience and as many powerful action verbs and job specific information as you can. A hiring manager should be excited by what they see in the resume summary and encouraged to continue reading down the page. Physical therapists play a vital part in the rehabilitation and health management of patients, so highlighting your key attributes that prove your qualifications and accomplishments here is crucial.

Below you'll find the summary from our physical therapist resume example.

Adaptable resume example for the summary

Dedicated and experienced physical therapist with over six years of experience evaluating and effectively managing the treatment of patients. A proven track record of accurately assessing the needs of patients and creating appropriate treatment plans to best address their needs. Experience helping patients with physical injuries manage pain and improve their range of movement and rehabilitation process. Adept at identifying the cause of trauma and designing safe and effective physical therapy treatment plans for patients in need.

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Employment history sample

Start your employment history sample with your most recent (or current) position and work backwards until you've added all positions relevant to the physical therapist role. Don't forget to include the employer's name, location, dates worked and job title. Remember to use powerful action verbs and mention job specific accomplishments that prove you are an excellent candidate. The employment history section is the place to add more details about your abilities and to focus on your achievements using numbers and statistics to back them up.

Here's an adaptable text from our physical therapist resume sample.

Adaptable resume example for the employment history 
  • Provided thorough evaluations of patients prior to designing an appropriate and effective treatment plan.
  • Used expertise to determine cause of trauma before proceeding with planning.
  • Performed a thorough examination of patient’s health records prior to treatment.
  • Collaborated with other medical personnel to provide the best patient care possible.
  • Maintained accurate and organized patient documentation.
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Physical therapist resume education example

As with many professionals in the medical field , physical therapists must be trained and licensed. That's why the education section is so important on a physical therapists resume. Make sure to list all degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. Since physical therapists need at least a master's degree, it's not necessary to include your high school on your resume. Don't forget to add information about any ongoing training, memberships or organizations that show you are continuing to educate yourself in the field.

See how to format your education section with this text from our physical therapist resume example.

Adaptable resume example of the education section 

2004-2006 NYU, Master of Physical Therapy NY, NY 2000-2004 Manhattan College, Bachelor of science in Biology NY, NY

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CV skills example

Since your skills are such an important component of your work as a physical therapist, this CV section gives you dedicated space to highlight them. Since the CV skills section often takes more of a bullet point format, it's best to stick to abilities that can be summed up in just a few words. Make sure to balance hard skills (techniques and specialized knowledge you have as a PT) with soft ones (character traits like communication or time management.) A hiring manager looking for a physical therapist is looking for an experienced and educated individual, who is capable of providing patients with a high level of treatment while working closely with doctors and other care providers.

Check out the skills section from our physical therapist resume example:

Adaptable resume example of the skills section
  • Optimal Patient Care Practices
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Patient Education
  • Physical Evaluations
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Resume layout and design

A great resume layout and design can quickly give you the edge over candidates with similar experience and education but a less polished presentation. Hiring managers will notice the effort you put into your professional appearance, so it's a good idea to spend a few minutes making sure your physical therapist resume layout and design conveys the right feel. If you don't have much time to play around with graphic design programs or word processors, you may want to try out a resume template , which can help you create a unique layout without too much hassle.

Do
  • Create a bold header that draws the eye to your name and contact information
  • Make sure your page layout aligns with the tone of the company you are applying to
  • Keep a balance of white space to text to prevent eye fatigue
Don't
  • Overload your resume with too much information – keep only what is necessary to prove your strengths
  • Use more than two fonts or colors on one resume
  • Forget to proofread before you submit your resume

Key takeaways for a physical therapist resume

  • Opportunities abound in this rapidly growing field and a thoughtful resume is the best way to land the best physical therapist position for you.
  • Don't overlook the ATS – make sure your resume contains keywords from the job description placed in the appropriate sections.
  • Use action verbs, numbers and statistics to highlight the results you achieved in previous physical therapist positions.
  • Check out our physical therapist resume example for an idea of how to format the all-important education section.
  • A great resume layout can go a long way in catching a hiring manager's attention and landing you the interview.
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