A Physical Therapist’s Job
Physical therapy is a fast growing field. As the Boomer Generation ages more people find themselves with major and minor injuries that lead to impairments and disability. They need dedicated people to help them recover and gain back their quality of life. A physical therapist will help people restore function, improve and restore mobility, relieve pain and limit or prevent lasting physical disability from trauma or disease. Therapists are hands on in their work, working closely with patients to improve fitness and promote healthier living.
How to Become Certified
Educational requirements vary from country to country and even state to state. In the United States, there are two levels of certification in most places. A few others have three. There are physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and finally, physical therapy technicians. A physical therapist often holds a doctorate in physical therapy while some few have a master’s degree. At a minimum, a four year degree is required for this title. Physical therapist assistants in the United States will have an associate degree in applied sciences. Physical therapy technicians and aides work under a physical therapist. They are required to be certified in those locations that permit them.
A Career Path for a Physical Therapist
A fully educated physical therapist is the culmination of the career track in this field. It is known as working at “the top of their license”. Typically, those who choose to work in this field stay in this field. They can further their education toward more advanced therapies and gain specializations in diverse fields like woman’s care or sports treatments. Physical therapist assistants can enter doctoral and masters level programs to become fully trained therapists. Physical therapy technicians can also further their education to the level of assistant or full therapist if desired.
Areas of Employment for a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists have many fields of specialization and work in many arenas. Some work with children, others the elderly. Many work in their own private practices. Others work as part of a team at hospitals or with a sports team. In essence, where and with whom the therapist works is based on what they have chosen as their field.
A Physical Therapist’s Salary and Compensation Information
A fully trained physical therapist can expect a comfortable lifestyle. In the United States, he or she can expect to earn an average of 76,310 dollars a year. This works out to an hourly wage a bit above 36 dollars an hour. A physical therapist assistant will earn less. Their salary averages out to roughly $38,000 up to 51,000 thousand dollars a year. This breaks down into an 18 dollar an hour wage up to 24 dollars an hour. Physical therapy aides and technicians earn the least, making an average of $24,000 a year for an hourly wage of nearly 12 dollars an hour.
Physical therapy is a very broad field with different areas of specialization. Salaries will vary across the field simply because of the different skill sets involved or different educational backgrounds. Willingness to relocate can affect one’s salary too. Many hospitals and clinics do not keep a physical therapist on staff. Or, if they do keep one on staff, they occasionally need a different skill set for a certain patient. Highly skilled and experienced therapists may become traveling therapists to fill these needs. They work temporary assignments for an average yearly wage of 113,500 dollars a year.
Physical Therapist Job Outlook
Physical therapist salary comparison by state
New Hampshire (NH)
New Jersey (NJ)
New Mexico (NM)
New York (NY)
North Carolina (NC)
North Dakota (ND)
Puerto Rico (PR)
Rhode Island (RI)
South Carolina (SC)
South Dakota (SD)
Washington DC (DC)
West Virginia (WV)