The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is saying that the healthcare industry is the fastest growing industry today. Physical therapy jobs are also expected to grow until the year 2016. This growth is described to be faster than the average rate so that is something that all aspiring physical therapists should look forward too. Because of the rapid growth in physical therapy jobs, this means that there will be more job opportunities for those who graduate with a physical therapy degree.
Physical therapy is a medical therapy that uses different types of methods to treat people who have problems with physical motion, function and mobility. A physical therapist is the main career path for a person with a physical therapy degree. However, you cannot become a licensed physical therapist just by having a bachelor’s degree only. You will need to get a master’s or doctoral degree to be able to practice being a physical therapist. The training will include subjects in anatomy, pathology, physiology and treatment modalities. A physical therapist’s main responsibility is to evaluate patients and develop a treatment plan. And with a master’s degree, a physical therapist can choose a specialization to focus on.
If you do not wish to be a physical therapist, you can be a physical therapy assistant instead. A physical therapy assistant helps the physical therapist in administering and performing the treatment modalities. They assist patients in performing the exercises. Physical therapy assistants also know how to apply massages, heat and electrical stimulation, inform patients and teach them proper usage of assistive devices. To become a physical therapy assistant, a 2-year associate degree is needed. Licensing will depend on your location.
Another physical therapy job that you can pursue is a physical therapy aide. The duties for an aide are more limited. Physical therapy aides help physical therapists and assistants with direct patient care. They are tasked to assist patients, care for them and set up the equipment. Short training programs will suffice to become a physical therapy aide. With the limited training, aides cannot perform any clinical task.
Aside from all these job opportunities, the highest paying ones are when you get your master’s or doctorate degree and choose your specialization. Physical therapy specializations include cardiopulmonary physical therapy, neurological physical therapy, geriatric physical therapy, pediatric physical therapy and orthopedics physical therapy. On the other hand, if you do not want to practice clinically, you can always choose to be a physical therapy instructor or teacher.