Biofeedback Therapist Job Description, Career as a Biofeedback Therapist, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training:— Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college.
Salary: Median— $57,000 annually
Employment Outlook:— Excellent
Biofeedback therapists are physical therapists who use the biofeedback form of treatment technique to help patients improve their health by gaining control over involuntary things like muscle tension and heart rate. Individuals adopting the biofeedback process can gradually learn to change physiological activities in their bodies. This non-invasive form of treatment improves the overall health and performance of the person.
Biofeedback therapists attach electrodes or sensors to the patient’s body. These instruments measure breathing, heart function, skin temperature, muscle activity, and brainwaves. A reading, or feedback, is then displayed on the instrument. This feedback is used by the therapist to bring about changes in the internal bodily functions of the patient. Biofeedback therapists also help patients become more attuned to the signals given out by their own bodies. Once aware of the symptoms, patients can learn what triggers these, and learn the techniques to help their bodies relax.
Biofeedback therapy is particularly helpful when a person is suffering from chronic problems like migraine headaches, digestive system disorders, high or low blood pressure, epilepsy, Raynaud’s disease, cardiac arrhythmia, or paralysis. Biofeedback therapists can help people suffering from pelvic floor disorders to regain bladder control, improve concentration in patients diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and relieve stress-related disorders in individuals.
Education and Training Requirements
Individuals wishing to pursue a career in biofeedback therapy should ideally possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the field of health care. It also helps to attend classes in anatomy, psychology, respiratory therapy, exercise physiology, occupational therapy, and counseling. This should be followed by specific biofeedback education, physiology coursework, and clinically supervised training. Counselors, medical doctors, and even psychologists can take up the profession of a biofeedback therapist.
Biofeedback therapists should opt for certification in their field. Although this is not mandatory, it lends a certain degree of credibility that can prove to be of great help in the future. Various certification programs in biofeedback therapy are offered by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). In order to become certified, one must attend training seminars, complete the stipulated class hours with a BCIA-approved mentor, pass a test, and pay the certification fees.
Biofeedback therapists can also choose to become licensed practitioners. Requirements for licensing depend on the state one wishes to pursue a career in. However, in the absence of a license, one can choose to work under a licensed health care practitioner.
Getting the Job
Biofeedback therapists are mostly employed in hospitals, private organizations, and clinics. Employers prefer candidates who are certified biofeedback therapists. Openings for this position are advertised in newspapers and through job portals on the Internet. Many biofeedback therapists’ associations also offer information on employment opportunities for professionals in this field.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Biofeedback therapists can advance in their career by opting for certifications in specialized areas like General Biofeedback, Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction, and Neurofeedback. These certification courses are offered by the BCIA. Since these treatment methods cater to different disorders, experience in multiple fields can greatly add to the scope of work. In addition, with such varied expertise, one can also branch out of professional organizations and start his or her own practice.
Biofeedback therapists need to attend seminars and training sessions regularly in order to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field. Through these trainings, one can learn how to use electrodes and biofeedback machines, and teach people effective relaxation methods.
Employment opportunities for biofeedback therapists are expected to increase significantly in the next few years. Hospitals with acute-care settings and rehabilitation centers are likely to recruit a large number of biofeedback therapists. Job opportunities will be excellent for licensed and certified professionals.
Biofeedback therapists enjoy excellent working conditions in terms of both environment as well as work hours. They are mostly employed in well-equipped health care facilities where the surroundings are clean and relatively peaceful. Work schedules of biofeedback therapists are normally standard 40-hour weeks. However, they may have to travel to the homes of patients frequently.
The downside of the job is that it can become both physically and mentally demanding since biofeedback therapists are required to constantly deal with patients suffering from chronic and debilitating medical conditions.
Where to Go for More Information
Biofeedback Certification Institute of America
10200 W. 44th Ave, Ste 310
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-2840
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
10200 West 44th Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-1488
Salary, Earnings and Benefits
According to reports published in 2009, the median annual earnings of biofeedback therapists in the US are $57,000. Individuals just starting out in the profession, or ones without certification, are likely to earn between $28,000 and $38,000 per year. With adequate training and experience, biofeedback therapists can earn as much as $90,000 annually.
Biofeedback therapists employed in health care settings enjoy benefits like paid sick leaves, annual vacation leaves, flexible working hours, as well as medical and life insurance coverage.
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