Are you looking for an exciting, flexible career where you can meet new people and learn new skills all the time? Are you wondering about the benefits of a career in physical therapy?
There are plenty of reasons to start a career in physical therapy. Perhaps, for example, you have excellent interpersonal skills and an interest in medicine. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-on way to put your knowledge of kinesiology to work.
There are plenty of reasons to consider the many career opportunities in physical therapy.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Job Flexibility
These days, work/life balance is one of the main reasons folks choose their professions. Physical therapists rarely work typically 9-5 shifts and often have their pick of working schedules.
For example, you may prefer a shift that starts at 7 and ends at 3 and coincides with your children’s school schedule. Or maybe you’re a late sleeper who prefers to work into the evening.
Some physical therapists enjoy being able to work part-time during certain times in their lives. If you find that you’re working other jobs or raising a family, you can find a physical therapy schedule that will allow you to work 2-4 days a week.
Beyond your hours, physical therapy allows you to work in a variety of environments. There are plenty of opportunities to choose from, as well as the chance to transfer your skills from one type of place to another.
For example, a physical therapist might work in a nursing home or hospital. Or you may prefer to visit patients in their homes or work alongside other physical therapists in private practice. Some physical therapists work in gyms, schools, or rehab centers.
If you like the idea of being able to change working environments throughout your lifetime, it pays to get on your way toward a career in physical therapy.
2. Staying Active
Some of today’s professions come with the concern of a sedentary lifestyle. Those who spend most of the day sitting are more at risk for health problems like obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
Individuals who sit too much burn fewer calories, lose muscle strength, and may even have less effective immune systems. They need to make a real effort to get moving if they want to stay healthy.
With a profession like physical therapy, however, this is much less of a worry. In fact, physical therapists are on their feet for 75% of the workday.
As a physical therapist, you have the opportunity to practice exercises along with your patients, allowing your body to move in new ways. You’ll also become an expert in how the muscles, joints, and nerves of the body move.
If you want a profession that won’t come with the risk of a couch potato lifestyle, consider a future in physical therapy.
3. Good Salary And Benefits
Physical therapists earn good salaries, with those working in home health, geriatric care, and long-term care facilities earning the most. The state you practice in will also determine your salary. For example, in Nevada PTs can earn over $120,000 per year.
Your level of experience and education will also determine how much you can make as a physical therapist. Most professionals also enjoy good health benefits and perks like life insurance and paid time off.
4. Opportunity To Work For Yourself
Most physical therapists don’t venture out on their own at the onset of their careers. They are busy gaining the skills and experience necessary to make them experts in their fields. However, some look forward to opening their own practice one day.
Working for yourself means that you can control your own workload, including the types of patients you will specialize in. You will be able to make important decisions about your practice’s day-to-day business operations. And you’ll be able to determine who you hire and have a say in the type of service they provide.
If the flexibility and freedom of working for yourself appeal to you, a career as a physical therapist is something you can look forward to.
5. You Can Specialize
Not all physical therapists do the same thing. Carving out a specialty for yourself can make you more marketable and respected.
For example, maybe you can specialize in orthopedics or geriatric care. Or maybe you are interested in oncology or women’s health. Deciding on a specialty during your education and training can really help you fine-tune your preparation.
Preparing For Your Career In Physical Therapy
Before becoming a physical therapist, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. You may do coursework in physics, biology, or kinesiology.
Next, you’ll need to complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy at an accredited program. During the second year of the program, you will participate in a white coat ceremony and enter the clinic for supervised hands-on rotations.
After graduating, you should begin physical therapy board exam prep and get ready to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. You can then apply for a license to practice within your state.
Some physical therapists choose to complete a residency program and earn board certification. Most continue their education through professional development well into their careers.
If you have an interest in movement, the human body, and helping people heal, a career in physical therapy holds lots of promise for you. With so many opportunities and types of work available, you could be on your way toward an exciting future in no time.
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