Overview & Job Duties

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured and/or ill individuals manage pain and improve movement. These therapists are often an important part of rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. According to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), typical job duties include: reviewing patients’ medical history and any referrals or notes; diagnosing patients’ functions and movements by observing them standing or walking and by listening to their concerns, among other methods; developing individualized plans of care for patients, outlining the patients’ goals and the expected outcomes of the plans; using exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and equipment to ease pain, increase mobility, prevent further pain or injury, and facilitate health and wellness; evaluating and recording a patient’s progress, modifying a plan of care and trying new treatments as needed; and educating patients and their families about what to expect from the recovery process and how best to cope with challenges throughout the process. Keep in mind, the work of physical therapists generally varies by type of patient. For example, a patient working to recover mobility lost after a stroke needs different care from a patient who is recovering from a sports injury. Some physical therapists specialize in one type of care, such as orthopedics or geriatrics.

Requirements

To qualify for TN status as a physical therapist, an applicant must possess one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s (Baccalaureate) or Licenciatura degree; or
  • State/provincial license.

Please note: a qualifying degree must be in the same field or a closely related field. Adjudicating officers are instructed to use “good judgment” in determining whether a degree in an allied field is appropriate.

In addition, an applicant must also obtain a Health Care Worker (Visa Screen) certificate from a USCIS-approved credentialing organization. The certification verifies that the foreign national has met the minimum requirements for training, licensure, and English proficiency in his or her field. Keep in mind, the visa screen is required for the initial TN application, as well as for TN visa renewal applications.