Top 15 Physical Therapist Skills to be best on the Job

By | August 27, 2023
Physical therapist skills
To be effective as a physical therapist, there are certain skills you need to develop.

Top 15 Physical Therapist Skills to be best on the Job

The physical therapist profession requires a great deal of skills, qualities, and some level of education to be the best on the job.

You will need certain skills to be able to perform your duties and render quality services to the public, such as mobility improvement, pain relief, prevention of physical disabilities, maintenance, promotion, and restoration of overall fitness and health.

If you desire to be the best physical therapist that patients queue up to see, here are fifteen skills and qualities you need to develop:

15 Physical Therapist Skills and Qualities to be the Best

1. Interpersonal Skills. Interaction with patients is a common practice among physical therapists. They need the skill to listen to patients whenever they are narrating their problems, so they can explain treatment programs, provide the best therapy, and render motivation when necessary.

2. Fit and Healthy. Physical therapists must work on their physical fitness and maintain a healthy lifestyle for them to be able to help patients perform physical movements during treatment. They need the strength built through exercises to support patients before they regain weight and strength.

3. Science Skills. If physical therapists can study science, it is a big addition to the job. With at least a Bachelor’s degree and emphasis on courses such as biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, a postgraduate professional degree with classes in neuroscience, biomechanics, and pharmacology, physical therapists are good to go with their career. Further programs require coursework in statistics and physics. These skills help physical therapists to evaluate, interpret, reason, analyze and calculate data needed for diagnosing patients.

4. Listening Skills. It is not good for physical therapists to ask wrong questions, or interrupt patients when they are explaining some points. They have to listen to their patients and understand their views first before saying what they have to say. Paying proper attention to the patients will help physical therapists appear valuable and important before their patients.

5. Communication. Physical therapists need the ability to speak in a comprehensible tone, explaining their points in the lowest term that the patients can understand. Effective communication skills are required in the physical therapeutic career to achieve long term and short term goals. It should be both oral and written communication skills.

6. Patient. For physical therapists to display their patient skills, they need to pay thorough attention to the patients they treat, especially when they are suffering from severe pains. These patients have really wasted their time waiting to see you, so you need to reciprocate this by being patient on them.

7. Dexterity. Good physical therapists can use their hands to provide manual therapy and exercises. They are able to set up treatment equipment and arrange things with their hands.

8. Motor Skills. Good motor control, physical ability, and stamina are great essential skills required in this profession. Physical therapists should know how to perform CPR and other activities related to patient care. They must ensure the safety and welfare of patients, especially during work period.

9. Computer Skills. Knowledge of the electronic system should be the priority of physical therapists in this present technology. Demographic information, x-rays, medication regimen, medical statistics and history, laboratory reports, diagnoses and treatment, are all recorded on the electronic platforms.

10. Critical Thinking Skills. Physical therapists should develop the ability to reason, interpret, calculate, analyze, and measure issues in most circumstances. Some problems may require quick resolution and only those with critical thinking ability can assess the situation and provide solution fast.

11. Compassion. Physical therapists should desire to see their patients heal and improve the quality of their life at all times. Patients must be shown great compassion especially during difficult times. Sometimes the physical therapist may not be in the mood to look on the suffering patient, but they ought to try as much as possible to sympathize with the patient and have compassion on them, as this contributes more to their job.

12. Motivational Skills. Physical therapists need the ability to motivate patients to endure pains, work hard and persevere. They should be able to cheer patients up, encourage them to continue and progress effectively. They are the coach the patients see and run to at difficult times.

13. Emotional Health. Patients need to demonstrate emotional health required for making use of their intellectual abilities for mental, physical and emotional demands of the program. They must adapt to efficient performance ability – under stressful condition and change of environments.

14. Information Gathering Skills. Physical therapists should participate in learning required skills for gathering information about a patient in the course of an assessment. This information is possible through listening, reading charts, palpating parts of the body, observing, and use of assessment tools.

15. Decision Making. Making decisions and acting on them is a skill that physical therapists need to possess to be good on the job. They should be able to recognize ugly situations and react in an appropriate timely manner; and also communicate or reason decisions made. Reading and making adjustments are necessary for measuring devices, scales and meters.

Physical Therapist Skills for Resume

If you are writing a resume for a physical therapist job, you can create the skills or core competence section of the resume using the skills and qualities shared above if you have them.

Recruiters will give your resume the attention that you desire when they see that you have highlighted the right skills and qualities to succeed on the physical therapist job.


If you are a physical therapist who wants to be best on your job, the skills and qualities highlighted above can help you achieve the goal if you work on them.

Also, patients who need the services of a good physical therapist should use these skills as a reference point when hiring a physical therapist.

Did you find this post useful? And Do you have other skills you consider important to the success of a physical therapist? Please share them in the comment box below.