Have you been thinking about a career change? Continuing your education and becoming a physical therapist could just be the change you need. What is involved in becoming a therapist and is it worth your time?

Job Opportunities

Many people do not realize the physical therapists have a broad range of employment opportunities. If your local hospital is the only employer, you imagined for this specialty you are missing out on a number of options.

Schools- assist disabled children
Hospice- improve quality of life
Research- improve information and create new programs
Nursing Facility- assist elderly
Sports- injury recovery
Physical Fitness Centers

Income and Growth

As you can see physical therapy is a field with many different job potentials, but before searching for a physical therapy school, you may want to know a little more about income potential and job growth. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the 2010-2020 is much higher than all other occupations at 39%. This is due in part to the fact that baby boomers are aging and staying active later in life.

What can you expect to earn as a therapist?

Top 10% – more than $ 107,000 annually
Bottom 10% less than $ 53,620 annually
Median- $ 76,310 annually

As to be expected there is quite a range between the bottom earnings and the top, but in comparison with many other job fields the potential is fantastic.

School

Before you can apply for current physical therapists positions, you will have to continue your education. Most accredited programs require applicants to first obtain a bachelor's degree, although there are some programs in which graduating high school seniors can participate.

In order to sit for your licensing exam you must have graduated from an accredited program, of which there are 212 programs approved by CAPTA. Which school you attend will will course depend on your location and specific needs. Every state in the union except Alaska and Hawaii has an accredited program.

Pros and Cons

Working in this field has its pros and cons:

Pros:

No shortage of jobs (now or in the future)
Less stress than other medical field positions
Flexible schedules may be possible
Long hours are uncommon

Cons:

Frequent bending and kneeling
Acute care can mean working around infectious diseases
Hospice care can be emotionally taxing
Private practice can have a high demand for meeting productivity quotas

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a career that involves helping people and has a good long-term outlook, becoming a physical therapists is a good option. Over the next decade or so positions in this field are going to grow faster than most career options. Job security, personal fulfillment and decent wages all add up to a very attractive opportunity.