Who Are Physical Therapists?

People with injuries and debilitating illnesses have a crucial need for physical therapy to help improve their mobility, quality of life, and find ways to cope and manage their condition. Physical therapists diagnose a patient’s dysfunction or condition and then help plan their treatment and goals. With special exercises, stretching maneuvers, hands-on therapy, and medical equipment, physical therapists can help increase a patient’s mobility and ease their pain.

Future Outlook for Physical Therapists

Over the next seven years, the physical therapist profession is expected to grow by 39 percent, making it the fastest growing profession in the medical industry. Most physical therapists work in physician’s offices and clinics, but many find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, and in home health care services. Some physical therapists even work as athletic trainers, which can be a very high paying job. With Americans living longer and taking a more proactive approach to their health, physical therapists will always be needed to help improve the quality of life.

A doctorate degree is held by most physical therapists and is the recommended route. However, master’s degree programs are still available, but talk with area hospitals and offices to learn their stance on the education level.

Physical Therapist Salary

Physical therapists earn a very lucrative salary and have one of the highest paying jobs in the entire medical profession. As of 2012, the average physical therapist practicing in the United States earned over $76,000 per year. Since 2009, the average salary for physical therapists has risen nearly 5%, indicating that even in the slow job market that America had, physical therapists was still a safe and lucrative career.

The top 13 percent of all physical therapists earn more than $100,000 a year, especially those who own their own practice. Some physical therapists go on to teach at colleges in conjunction with their normal physical therapy job. This route doubles the opportunities and chances for greater pay.

Best States for Physical Therapists

The great thing about physical therapists is that they are always in demand and can find employment almost anywhere. Like with other healthcare professions, the western states are often the highest paying and most opportunistic states. California, Nevada, and Texas offer some the highest salaries and most employment opportunities, especially in the big cities. Out west, most physical therapists earn $90,000 or more per year.