By Melinda Juneau, iStock_000019024634web

Despite high unemployment numbers, there is one field experiencing growth, physical therapists.  It is not a job that anyone can just jump into but the return on the investment is one of the highest in the job market today.  There are some jobs that require extensive training and even after the training is completed, there are no available jobs and the jobs that become open have a long wait list of qualified candidates.

With any high paying job, the list of potential candidates increases but in the field of physical therapy, there is a deficit of trained individuals who can fulfill the positions.  Forbes reports that there are between 13-18% open job positions for this field.  It is not full and the demand is expected to rise.

One of the drawbacks to becoming a certified physical therapist may be the amount of training and education but with higher than average salaries and consistent job growth and demand; there is very little risk in completing the training.

The field of physical therapy is expected to grow 27% between 2006 and 2016, according to and the median salary is around $70,000. 

This is a growing field and it will continue to rise.  The question is why? 

As more Americans get older, their need for physical therapists grows.  With more and more of the elderly living longer, fuller lives, they may still experience problems that require the help of regular physical therapy.  In the past, a severe stroke or injury may have caused death in a patient but with modern medicine, these patients are living through the emergency health situation.  The patient that lives through the stroke is thankful for life but they will need rehabilitative care.  They may need assistance with daily tasks until they can become strong enough to do it on their own.  This is where physical therapists come into play.

Physical therapy can help any person at any age work through a condition that causes them pain such as arthritis, an injury, or an accident that requires a certain muscle group to be worked harder than the others.  They use techniques that help the patient become independent again or to live a pain free life.  This type of service will always be needed as people can’t go about their daily lives in constant pain or unable to move a body part.  The therapy can even be used on children and premature babies who need to develop their muscles and abilities.

The appeal to doctors and even insurance companies is that physical therapy can be an alternative to surgery, constant medications, or even hospitalization for daily help.  The therapy can cause the patient to be on their own and no longer need long term care.  As health care costs rise, the methods for physical therapy have become more concise and even more efficient.

This type of care is in demand even during a recession.   With the exorbitant costs of rehabilitative centers for full-time care or even part-time care, some patients cannot afford that level of treatment. They do respond well to the therapy but may only be able to budget the care level of a physical therapist who visits their home on a weekly basis.

Due to the fact that many physical therapists can work out of a clinic or an office, they do not have a high overhead such as a hospital wing or a doctor’s office setting.  Many will travel to their patient’s home and that can keep their costs low, which creates an even more appealing situation for those in the field.  They can also work at the local hospitals and rehabilitation centers. The majority enter the field to help others and also have a flexible schedule.  As long as there are people who need assistance, there will always be a demand for physical therapists.

If you are a physical therapist who would like some assistance in finding a home base or perhaps you are a facility in need of a qualified physical therapist, Snelling Medical Professionals are here to help.  We are able to connect you to those who will meet your needs and assist you in reaching your goals, whether you are looking for work or looking to hire talented staff.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.