Home page

Physical and Occupational Therapy Specialists


Physical and occupational therapy consists of treatment and exercise for patients disabled by illness or injury. Physical and occupational therapy specialists assist in administering treatment aimed at helping disabled patients regain strength and mobility and preparing them to return to work.

What They Do

Physical and occupational therapy specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:

Physical Demands

Therapy specialists may have to lift and support patients during exercises and treatments.

Special Requirements

No information available.

Helpful Attributes

Helpful attributes include:

Helpful School Subjects

Helpful school subjects include:

Helpful Fields of Study

No information available.

Work Environment

Therapy specialists work in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers.

Services offering this career:

Hiring Practices

To serve in the military, a person must be at least 17; the maximum age for enlistment varies. To enlist, a person must pass a physical exam and an aptitude test. An enlistee must also meet military standards of discipline and be a US citizen or permanent resident alien.

This position is for enlisted personnel.


The military is competitive with the civilian world when it comes to pay and benefits. All branches offer the same basic pay and benefits.

Pay depends mainly on rank or grade as well as length of service. Bonuses and the situation in which the person is serving (for example: flight duty, sea duty, hazardous duty) also affect pay. 

Cost-of-living increases usually occur every year, based on inflation. The military also pays allowances for food, clothing, and housing. All these factors combined are called Regular Military Compensation (RMC). They should all be considered when comparing military pay to civilian pay.

There are two main parts to RMC: basic pay and allowances. There are also additional incentives for special abilities, training, or hazardous duty.

Check out the RMC Calculator to calculate your RMC based on your inputs.

Training Provided

Job training consists of 11 to 31 weeks of classroom instruction, including practice in applying therapy techniques.

Course content typically includes:

Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses.

Civilian Counterparts

Civilian therapy specialists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and community health centers. They perform duties similar to military therapy specialists. Civilian therapy specialists often specialize in treating a particular type of patient, such as children, the severely disabled, the elderly, or those who have lost arms or legs (amputees).

Related Civilian Careers

Employment and Outlook

In peace time the services have about 500 physical and occupational therapy specialists. In times of military action the number may be different, depending on the type of specialties required. Each year the services need new specialists due to changes in personnel and the demands of the field. After job training, therapy specialists provide routine therapy care under the direction of supervisors. With experience, they work with patients with more serious problems. Eventually they may advance to supervisory positions.