A Career in Physical Therapy
The healthcare industry is exploding with opportunity. According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics, physical therapy is expected to grow 30% in the next ten years, significantly outpacing other industries in this recessed economy. An expanding Medicare based population helps fuel the need for more physical therapists with each passing year. Knowing this, is physical therapy a good career? Do physical therapists enjoy their jobs? Do physical therapists have great job flexibility and satisfaction? Well according to the experts, the answer is yes.
CareerCast ranked physical therapy its #2 most all around satisfying profession, accounting a culmination of income, stress level, occupational hazard, physical demand, and hours worked per week. This offers some insight into the field, but there are other factors taken into consideration before selecting a career. Every career seeker is looking for common factors such as high income, long vacations, and excellent benefits. The physical therapy industry is an excellent opportunity to develop a successful career while promoting personal satisfaction from a job well done.
Physical Therapy Career Flexibility
A career with great flexibility is desired in today’s economic environment. Many occupations have rigid work schedules that leave no room for an individual’s unique situation. Getting bored with the same “routine,” having changes in the family dynamic such as a newborn, or perhaps moving due to a spouse’s promotion can significantly impact a career. Physical therapy offers a great deal of flexibility allowing to work to adjust with changes in life. With job growth around 30% in the next ten years, employers are encouraged to provide their employees with this flexible arrangement.
One particular aspect of flexibility in the physical therapy profession is the number of house worked each week. There is no such thing as “emergency physical therapy” so don’t worry about calls at midnight to move a knee. Most therapists work 40 hours a week while others work part time, often around family schedules. Weekend work in hospitals allow therapists who prefer this schedule to work when others are enjoying the weekend. As the market demands more physical therapists, the flexibility of hours will only increase as employers scramble to address increased patient loads.
If boredom with a career is concerning, physical therapists have an opportunity to work in a variety of settings. Sports, pediatrics, geriatrics, neurology, home health, and acute trauma are just a few. Out of school, therapists have the opportunity to enter any of these fields and fulfill their personal interests. If a certain area of treatment no longer stimulating, a solid education in physical therapy will allow transition to another segment within the industry.
While many occupations are restricting, an education in physical therapy allows crossing into other industries. Physical therapists gain an in-depth understanding of how the body moves, without the assistance of expensive equipment or blood samples. Fields of study including ergonomics, biomechanics, athletic training, and strength training are intricately studied by physical therapists. PTs can create an ideal office workspace to reduce risk of injury, instruct a better golf swing, provide sports training services, or own a personal training gym.
Career Satisfaction Being a Physical Therapist
At the end of the day, whether or not a job is satisfying can make all the difference. Making hundreds of thousands a year and having 8 weeks of vacation is great but if every moment at work is a physical and emotional drain then overall satisfaction is lacking. Physical therapy offers a complete package of keeping the body healthy while fulfilling the mind’s need for respect and gratitude for a job well done.
Physical therapy has a balanced mix of lifting, sitting, and moving improving the body’s strength and stability. Lifting larger, off balanced people requires therapists to stay physical fit and use proper body mechanics at all times. Therapists are very hands on, working their whole body in a controlled manner throughout the day. A physical therapist has a chance to move throughout the day without being overworked, such as laborers in construction or machinery. An active and balanced occupation reduces common ailments such as back pain and tension built from sitting at a stressful computer.
There are very few professions where a kind gesture is offered these days. Customer service representatives get screamed at for a product they may have never seen. Bank tellers are lectured on how the “bank” is destroying the fabric of America. Even construction workers get honked at by frustrated motorists waiting in traffic.
Physical therapy is not like that. People arrive scared, helpless, and in pain and leave with a new take on life. Physical therapists have the opportunity to be genuinely appreciated for the work they do, something that is not common in today’s working world. This intrinsic satisfaction allows a physical therapist to come home each day with a positive outlook on life, knowing they made a difference while being appreciated for their hard work.
A Career in Physical Therapy
Physical therapists have a career with great flexibility and overall high satisfaction. Combine this with great job growth over the next decade and physical therapy becomes an excellent health care opportunity. Want to learn more? Check out the American Physical Therapy Association to find out what it takes to become a physical therapist.