Physical therapists help and treat wide variety of patients. They can help patients of various age groups including infants and senior citizens. They also help those disabled due to accidents, lower back pains, heart disease, arthritis, fractures, cerebral palsy, and head injuries. The general job of a physical therapist is to provide services that will restore the normal function of the patient. They can also introduce methods to improve mobility and movement.
Physical therapists are important especially in helping patients to have relief from pain and limit the permanent physical disabilities of an individual. So, if you want to maintain, restore and promote overall fitness and health, a physical therapist is the one fitted for the job.
Job Outlook For Physical Therapy Careers
The job outlook for physical therapist is very excellent. The employment rate for physical therapists from 2010 up to 2020 is expected to increase by 39%, which is much better than the increase of employment rate of other occupations. Physical therapists are currently experiencing the best employment rate with the unemployment for physical therapist today just around 1.1 percent. The increased demand for physical therapists continues to grow because of the continuing growth of our population especially that of the adult and old age group needing physical therapy care.
Reasons Behind The Increased Demand For Physical Therapists?
One of the key reason why physical therapist job outlook is continuing to grow strong is because of the aging baby boomers who wants to stay active and physically fit late in their life as compared to the past generations did. The older person on the other hand requires the rehabilitative services of physical therapists due to strokes, heart attacks and impaired mobility due to old age and injuries.
Another reason would be the advancement in the medical technology, which triggers the increase usage of outpatient surgery in treating countless illnesses and injuries. Medical and technological advancements is also predicted to increase the percentage of the survival rate of newborns with inborn defects and trauma victims thus increasing the demand for rehabilitative physical therapy care which can be provided by the physical therapists.
In addition to that, the case of chronic diseases like diabetes has increased over the years. The effects of these chronic diseases require frequent physical therapy treatment so that patients can manage their diseases. The increasing rate of these chronic diseases also increases the demand for more physical therapists.
Variety Of Job Settings That A Physical Therapist Can Choose From
- Outpatient Clinics – Outpatient clinics offer comprehensive care, sports medicine rehabilitation, pediatric care and more.
- General Medical Facilities and Hospitals – Many hospitals offer opportunities for specialization for their physical therapist such as wound care, orthopaedics, geriatrics and acute care.
- Home Health Care Services – Physical therapists can also work and provide physical therapy services at their patient’s home. Depending on the agreement of the patient and the physical therapists, the PT can either conduct regular visits or stays in the house of the patient and offers his or her physical therapy services exclusively.
- Rehabilitation Hospitals – Physical therapists work along with a team of other therapists such as speech, occupational and recreational therapists in order to provide a comprehensive therapy for the patient.
- Nursing Care Facilities, Long Term Care Facilities and Skilled Nursing Facilities – Nursing care facilities provide the highest care for adults outside of the hospitals. The type of care offered in this setting includes custodial care, which means helping the patient in all types of tasks including getting up from bed or going to the bathroom.
- Assisted Living And Adult Care – Physical therapist provides their services in a community where the adults needs some help with some of their daily activities. It is a good place for people who want more personal care services than what they get at home.
- Corporations – Physical therapists can also work in a corporation by providing health and wellness to its employees.
- Veterinary Clinics – Veterinary clinics also require physical therapists because pets also need a physical therapy treatment or rehabilitation.
- Sports Teams – Physical therapists are very important from small leagues up to the professional leagues. They are employed to improve the conditions of the players and athletes.
- School Systems – Schools and universities employ physical therapists because there are also disabled student that goes to schools. A physical therapist at school is essential especially when helping students recover from accidents or injuries from school activities.
Earning Expectations For Physical Therapist
There are more than 190,000 physical therapists that are licensed in the US today. The annual median salary for physical therapist is $76,310, which may vary depending on the years of experience, position, training acquired, degree of education, practice setting, and geographic location. The best paid that belongs to the top ten percent of the physical therapists earns approximately $110,000 while the bottom 10% made an annual income of approximately $54,710. The highest wages are earned by physicians that work in hospitals and offices.
Pursuing A Great Career As A Physical Therapist
In order for you to practice as a physical therapist, you will need to have a master’s degree and a state license at the minimum. Many students now take a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy which is longer compared to earning a master’s degree. The study for doctorate degree in Physical Therapy can take up to three years while master’s degree in physical therapy may only last for 2 years. A continuing education is also required in order for a physical therapist to stay certified and retain his or her license.
If you are on your way to becoming a physical therapist, bear in mind that internships or on-the-job training programs are important for students to know which areas they like and do not like. It can help students to later on decide which specialization in the field of physical therapy they will pursue. It is important that physical therapist enjoy their work settings in order for them to have growth in work.
Finding a job as a physical therapist is not a hard task because of the increasing demand for physical therapy services. Along with the increasing numbers of medical facilities and advancement in medical technology, pursuing a career as a physical therapist will bring you many job opportunities, higher salary level and better job satisfaction in the future.