Laura Hickman is a physical therapist at Cass County Memorial Hospital. A physical therapist is a healthcare professional that helps patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. Hickman grew up in Webster City, IA and attended college at Simpson University. She decided to be a physical therapist after she tore both of her ACLs playing basketball. In this profession, there is a wide variety of people to help with ages that can range from two months to 102 years.
To become a physical therapist, a Bachelor’s degree must be obtained before attending physical therapy school. A 3.0 average or at least a C grade in every class is also required. Some physical therapists have specialties such as women’s health, sports physical therapy, orthopedics, pediatrics and neurology.
“To be a physical therapist you have to be compassionate, honest, sympathetic, empathetic, and you have to be physically fit so you can lift people for certain stretches,” Hickman said. A typical work day for a physical therapist can be either 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 10 p.m. to 7 p.m. The average pay in Iowa is about $41 per hour and the yearly wage is $86,850. According to Hickman, Iowa pay is ranked as one of the lowest.