Therapy literally means the treatment of any physical problem through medical or physical needs.  By that definition, all direct-care medical professionals are therapists.

Therapy as a group of occupations or educational programs is more specific.  Physical therapists rehabilitate patients who have torn, strained, and stretched ligaments and muscles; their patients range from professional football players to (more often) grandparents who have slipped in the shower.   Occupational therapists work with individuals who suffer from mentally or physically disabling conditions that affect their work and home life, helping to maximize their independence.

Others, like speech therapists and massage therapists, also use specialized skills and methods to help clients and patients deal with physical problems and conditions.

Most types of therapists, like occupational, physical, and speech therapists, are licensed.  These professions generally require a master’s or doctoral degree in their specific field of therapy to qualify for licensing exams and then for entry-level positions.

Therapy programs of many types are offered online by accredited schools and universities.  Some, like physical or occupational therapy assisting programs are vocational diploma or associate’s degree-granting programs that qualify the recipient for entry-level positions as aides and assistants to licensed therapists.

Other master’s and doctoral programs can bestow advanced degrees on already licensed and practicing physical therapists, and ensure the best job placement and salary level.