Physical therapists hold about 155,000 jobs.
The number of jobs is greater than the number
of practicing physical therapists, because some
physical therapists hold two or more jobs. For
example, some may work in a private practice, but
also work part time in another health care facility.
Nearly 6 out of 10 physical therapists work in
hospitals or in offices of physical therapists.
Other jobs are in home health care services,
nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers,
and offices of physicians.
Some physical therapists are self-employed in
private practices, seeing individual patients and
contracting to provide services in hospitals,
rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities,
home health care agencies, adult day care programs,
and schools. Physical therapists also teach in
academic institutions and conduct research.
Employment of physical therapists is expected to
grow much faster than the average for all
occupations through 2014. The impact of proposed
Federal legislation imposing limits on reimbursement
for therapy services may adversely affect the
short-term job outlook for physical therapists.
However, over the long run, the demand for physical
therapists should continue to rise as growth in the
number of individuals with disabilities or limited
function spurs demand for therapy services.
opportunities should be particularly good in acute
hospital, rehabilitation, and orthopedic settings,
because the elderly receive the most treatment in
these settings. The growing elderly population is
particularly vulnerable to chronic and debilitating
conditions that require therapeutic services. Also,
the baby-boom generation is entering the prime age
for heart attacks and strokes, increasing the demand
for cardiac and physical rehabilitation. Further,
young people will need physical therapy as
technological advances save the lives of a larger
proportion of newborns with severe birth defects.
Future medical developments also should permit a
higher percentage of trauma victims to survive,
creating additional demand for rehabilitative care.
In addition, growth may result from advances in
medical technology that could permit the treatment
of more disabling conditions.
Widespread interest in health promotion also
should increase demand for physical therapy
services. A growing number of employers are using
physical therapists to evaluate worksites, develop
exercise programs, and teach safe work habits to
employees in the hope of reducing injuries in the
Earnings of Physical Therapists
Median annual earnings of physical therapists
are $60,180. The middle 50 percent
earn between $50,330 and $71,760. The lowest 10
percent earn less than $42,010, and the highest 10
percent earn more than $88,580. Median annual
earnings in the industries employing the largest
numbers of physical therapists are:
- Home health care services $64,650
- Nursing care facilities $61,720
- Offices of physicians $61,270
- General medical and surgical hospitals $60,350
- Offices of other health practitioners $60,130