What tops your list of considerations for a career path—is it job satisfaction, potential earnings or the opportunity to help others?
One of the first lessons you may have learned from a guidance counselor is to choose a career path with employment opportunities. The high level of demand for physical therapists (PTs) is promising.1
What are the other reasons to become a physical therapist?
#1: Plentiful Jobs Ahead
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), PT jobs are expected to grow by 17% over the next decade, opening up about 15,400 roles annually.1 This is compared to a 5% average projected growth rate for all occupations over the same time period.
#2: Excellent Income Potential
In 2021, $95,620 was the median annual salary for PTs across the U.S., and the highest 10% of physical therapists earned more than $127,110 annually.1
Earning potential is influenced by:
- Job role
- Years of experience
Learn what the highest-paying physical therapy specialty is and the factors that contribute to this.
#3: Help Improve Others’ Lives
Practicing PTs connect with patients to establish a treatment plan, help them learn or relearn tasks and identify ways to modify movement and environments to facilitate their needs. You will empower patients in their daily lives and help them to:2
- Increase independence
- Achieve fitness goals
- Improve strength and function to live active lives
#4: See Tangible Results
Monitoring patient progress is a key part of working with patients. As a licensed physical therapist, you’ll measure and observe improvements to patient functionality, comfort and abilities. A first-hand view of your impact inspires motivation and professional validation.
#5: Your Choice of Work Environment
Physical therapists work in a variety of facilities and industry types, which include:3
- Outpatient physical and occupational therapy (OT) offices and clinics
- Hospital rehabilitation facilities and emergency rooms
- Home healthcare
- An outpatient physician or specialty care (cardiovascular, pulmonary, etc.) offices and clinics
- Rehabilitation and specialty (non-mental health) hospitals
- Skilled nursing and residential care facilities
- Child day care services
- General medical and surgical practices
You can also find PT job opportunities within school systems, sports organizations, corporations, universities and more.
#6: Room to Grow
Once you become a licensed physical therapist, you can move on to specialized roles that appeal to your interests and increase your employability and earning potential. Board certification is available in many physical therapy specialties, including:
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary
- Clinical electrophysiology
- Women’s Health
- Wound management
#7: Stay Physically Active
Do you dread the thought of spending eight hours per day behind a desk? Working as a physical therapist keeps you moving, both between patients and during sessions. Depending on your setting and focus, you can design a daily work life that includes more movement.
#8: Travel and Adventure4
Physical therapy is a career that has an established route for those who want to hit the road and see the country. You can register with a professional agency and become a travel PT for as long (or short) as you like. As a traveling PT, you’ll also have the opportunity to:
- Choose assignments in exciting cities and destinations
- Earn premium pay plus travel and housing allowance
- Try out a new destination before committing to a move
- Gain more experience in multiple settings
Is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Right for You?
A doctoral degree in physical therapy can lead to a career that allows you to build wealth and security, improve the lives of your patients and challenge yourself daily. Is physical therapy a good career for you?
If you’re investigating programs, we invite you to consider the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS)—the largest PT school in the United States.*
At USAHS, you’ll be part of a cohort of peers learning under the mentorship of expert faculty-practitioners. Our DPT options include:
- A Residential program with blended didactic courses plus in-person weekday labs
- A Flex format of online courses combined with in-person weekend labs
From high-tech tools that teach you the intricacies of anatomy to hands-on work in state-of-the-art simulation centers, you’ll develop the skills to work with diverse patients across all ages and conditions. At program completion, you’ll be ready for a career as a practicing PT, or for advanced roles in research, practice leadership, or policymaking.
We’re here to answer your physical therapy-related questions, whether you’re wondering how much PT school is or where physical therapists can work.
Visit us today to learn more about the DPT program, attend a free webinar or start your application.
*Based on total DPT degrees conferred, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data is captured by IPEDS through interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Physical Therapists,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, last modified September 2022, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm
- American Physical Therapy Association, “Becoming a Physical Therapist,” last modified 2022, https://www.apta.org/your-career/careers-in-physical-therapy/becoming-a-pt
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “29-1123 Physical Therapist,” Occupational Employment and Wages, last modified May 2021, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm
- American Physical THerapy Association, “Travel Physical Therapy,” last modified 2022, https://www.apta.org/your-practice/practice-models-and-settings/travel-physical-therapy