Physical Therapist Job Outlook

Young woman completing personal fitness plan with trainer healthy club

Physical therapy has grown substantially in demand over the past decades. The growth experienced in this sector is in part attributed to more people now appreciate the role that physical therapist play in the rehabilitation process of patients.

Case in point: for patients suffering from immobility issues, they need a physical therapist to diagnose the movement dysfunction; come up with a plan that will ease the pain of the patient while undergoing rehabilitation; encourage enhancement of their mobility function and adjust the rehabilitation plan to ensure that there is continuous improvement.

Cutting this long story short, there is no replacement for physical therapists. Typically, no other health professional is a position to play their role. For these reasons, one can expect a bright outlook for professional physical therapists. And it is!

Professional Physical Therapists: The Job Outlook Numbers

According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for physical therapists is bright. Talking numbers, BLS projects that the employment for professionally trained physical therapist will grow by 34% from 2014 to 2024. Furthermore, the BLS projects that the health industry will employ 282,700 therapists in 2024, which will be a rise from the 210,900 therapists employed in 2004.

The drivers of this growth in demand for physical therapists include;

  1. An Aging Baby-Boomers population – Baby boomers are getting older by the year. This means that a large proportion of the population will be susceptible to stroke, mobility-related ailments, and heart attacks. As a consequence, there will be a great demand for physical therapists to cater fully to this population.
  2. Increased Prevalence Of Life-Style Diseases – The younger generation is increasingly becoming susceptible to lifestyle ailments such as obesity and diabetes. These ailments are known to cause mobility complications, and the expectation is that they will push the demand for physical therapy in the future.
  3. Advanced Medical Technology – Medical technology is constantly advancing, and the expectation is that this trend will remain as it is in the future. In this regard, you can expect more of the trauma patients in the future to survive, thus necessitating the services of physical therapists, inevitably causing a rise in demand.

The combination of the above factors will cause the 34% rise in demand for and employment of physical therapists. However, the number of physical therapists retiring from the field will also determine the demand for newly trained physical therapists.

The Best Sources Of Physical Therapy Employment In The Future

The job opportunities for physical therapists will emanate from various avenues. Some of these settings that will provide employment opportunities include;

Acute Care Therapy – This is where therapists provide their services in the hospitals to patients recovering from trauma, surgery, illnesses, or any other immobilizing ailment.
Extended Care Therapy – Therapy provided to senior citizens living in care facilities.
Outpatient Care Facilities – Outpatient physical therapy, where therapists provide treatment services in their offices, school’s facilities, sports and fitness facilities, work place environments and many more settings.

In conclusion, physical therapists should expect to find employment easily in the future. For those wondering if being a physical therapist is a good career choice, BLS indicates it is!