Physical Therapy: Career Outlook
Whether you’re curious about becoming a physical therapy aide or a doctor of physical therapy, it’s useful to study the career outlook for the field. The good news: the physical therapy career outlook might be even better than the outlook for all healthcare professions.
Let’s start with the bare data. Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected all fields in the United States to grow by 14%. That is, 14% more people will be employed in 2020 than were employed in 2010 in the whole country. Physical therapists (doctors of physical therapy) are expected to see an employment spike of 39%, a whopping 25% more than the average for all fields. Can it get any better than that?
Yes. Employment for physical therapy aides is projected to grow by 45%! That’s a huge number, and it’s in the top 10% of fields when we consider job outlook.
Why is the physical therapy career outlook so high? There are a few reasons.
A generation ago, physical therapy was somewhat unpopular among many doctors and even more patients. Some considered it a “fluffy” kind of medicine, and for others, it was just too expensive. Many insurance providers didn’t pay for physical therapy services, so only those patients who could afford to hire physical therapists out of pocket or had the best insurance would visit them.
In recent years, the benefits of physical therapy have become so obvious that doctors, patients, and insurance companies simply can’t ignore them. Physical therapy is prescribed as a treatment for injuries as well as chronic diseases, and it can even help otherwise healthy people get much more out of their exercise (and be healthier in the long term).
In addition, the field of healthcare is growing quickly. Much of this growth is happening because of technological advances in medical treatments, but a large part of it is also due to the aging population. As the baby boomer generation retires and grows older, its members demand more healthcare services in general. Physical therapy is an especially popular treatment for many of the conditions and diseases that come with aging (e.g. arthritis, Parkinson’s). Older people need more treatment, and much of that treatment is physical therapy; this creates a huge demand for physical therapists.
Also, the recent changes in government healthcare provisions have made physical therapy services more accessible for many people (including the elderly, who benefit from Medicare). This also contributes to the physical therapy career outlook.
The physical therapy career outlook for physical therapy aides is expected to grow even more than for physical therapists because as physical therapists get busier and occupy larger offices, each therapist may need more than one aide around. Physical therapy aides help physical therapists make the most of their time by setting up equipment, helping patients perform their exercises, answering phone calls, greeting incoming patients, and doing administrative tasks.
Though physical therapy aides are trained on the job in many ways, physical therapists often prefer to work with people with prior training. Persuaded by the impressive physical therapy career outlook? Ask about our physical therapy aide training program today.