11 Reasons To Become a Physical Therapist

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published February 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Video: Becoming a Physical Therapist

Are you interested in a career as a Physical Therapist, but not sure how to start preparing for it? In this video, we break down the skills and education needed, average salaries and give 5 additional tips to help you land a job in the healthcare industry!

A physical therapist helps people recover from injuries and health conditions that impact patients' movement and pain levels. Becoming a physical therapist can be a rewarding experience with lots of room for personal and professional growth. In this article, we outline 11 of the reasons to become a physical therapist.

Read more: How To Become a Physical Therapist

Why be a physical therapist?

Here are 11 reasons to consider a career as a physical therapist:

Help athletes

Sports physical therapy is a popular branch of physical therapy that allows you to help rehabilitate athletes' injuries. Many physical therapists find satisfaction in the process of helping athletes heal and continue playing sports.

Related: 10 Popular Sports Medicine Careers

Assist people recovering from injuries

Physical therapy can also help people recover from debilitating injuries that affect their quality of life, such as chronic pain from a car crash. Physical therapists can work with patients to manage the symptoms of these injuries, often with gratifying results. This profession can have a deep impact on patients' lives, which makes it a great job for people who want to perform acts of service through their profession.

Patient relationships

Physical therapists can spend more time with patients than some other medical professionals, like emergency room doctors. Physical therapists form relationships with patients while helping them on their journey to recovery. This can create a fun work environment and also help establish trust with the patient. People with extroverted personalities may find greater job satisfaction through a career in physical therapy.

Read more: 8 Best Jobs for Extroverts

Staying active on the job

Physical therapy is a job where it's easy to stay active. Physical therapists can perform exercises with their patients, which has the twofold benefit of encouraging their patients to exercise and providing exercise on the job for the physical therapists. Clinics for physical therapists often have exercise machines like treadmills that physical therapists can use during their breaks to fit in a quick workout.

Variety of practice settings

Physical therapists can work in many places, including small towns, larger cities and rural areas. This type of freedom enhances the number of job opportunities for physical therapists. It can also give you a chance to experience helping different types of patients with different conditions and backgrounds. This variety can help you stay energized and satisfied within your profession.

Opportunities for travel

Many companies offer physical therapists the ability to travel while they work, and there are even programs that help physical therapists gain certifications to practice in other countries, making physical therapy a job you can take around the world. Beyond the benefits of travel, this is a great way to find out what types of physical therapy practices are most interesting for you. Travel opportunities for physical therapists are often high-paying, which can allow you to pay off education loans while also seeing the world.

High salary

Most physical therapists are full-time employees, with jobs that include benefits like healthcare and a 401(k) plan. According to Indeed, the average base salary for a physical therapist is $82,787 per year. This salary can increase with more experience and with the development of a physical therapy specialty.

Flexible schedule opportunities

Many jobs in the medical profession require unpredictable schedules that can include late nights and early mornings. However, physical therapists typically work during normal business hours. This can help you have a better work-life balance while also participating in the medical field. While the job may require you to work over occasional holidays and weekends, work during these times usually comes with better pay and flexible scheduling, like exchanging a working Saturday for a Wednesday off work.

Many job opportunities

Physical therapy can be a secure job choice as an aging population finds itself in need of more physical therapy. The job outlook for a physical therapist is projected to grow 18% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, physical therapists enjoy the ability to work in a variety of settings, like hospitals, private practices and nursing facilities, which gives them many opportunities for jobs.

Ability to specialize

Physical therapists have many choices if they want to specialize in a specific type of physical therapy. In addition to sports physical therapy, here are a few of the options for physical therapy specialties:

  • Orthopedics: Orthopedic physical therapy is a popular specialty that involves treating bone, muscle and joint injuries.

  • Pediatric: Pediatric physical therapists can provide physical therapy services to kids with conditions like scoliosis or developmental delays.

  • Geriatric: Geriatric physical therapists can help older people prevent falls or address degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, improving their quality of life.

  • Oncology: Physical therapists within this specialty can help treat health issues that arise from cancer or manage pain for cancer patients.

  • Women's health: Women can experience unique health issues that require physical therapy. Physical therapists within this specialty can help with specific issues that affect women, like pregnancy and osteoporosis. They can also more generally serve women throughout their lives.

Read more: 9 Physical Therapy Certifications for Specialization

Professional development

There are many opportunities for physical therapists to grow throughout their careers. Here are a few things physical therapists can achieve:

  • Private practice: You could open your own private practice for physical therapy. This would allow you to be your own boss while continuing your career in physical therapy.

  • Management: A seasoned physical therapist could manage a team of more junior physical therapists. You could coach people to become better physical therapists in a management position.

  • Surgery: A foundational knowledge of physical therapy can help you train to become an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons help fix bone, muscle, ligament and joint injuries through surgery. Surgery requires more schooling, but it may appeal to physical therapists who are interested in gaining a deeper knowledge of how to help patients heal their injuries.

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