For the second year in a row, CareerCast.com ranked physical therapy in the top 20 on their list of best jobs in America.
The annual Jobs Rated report featured physical therapy at number 15 out of more than 200 listed jobs – with rankings based on a number of factors including environment, income, job outlook, and stress level.
These numbers should come as no surprise given the phenomenal growth projection for the PT industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2022 physical therapy employment will increase nationally by 36 percent, with the field adding 73,500 new jobs. Employment outlook for physical therapy assistants is also expected to increase by 29 percent, with an additional 41,000 new jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the steady demand for physical therapy services can be attributed to an aging baby boomer population.
Baby boomers represent a significant – and growing – portion of the U.S. population. In fact, by 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
With age come a number of physical hardships – including heart disease, stroke, arthritis and other serious health conditions. As more of the general population moves towards middle and old age – physical therapy is becoming a popular tool to combat the challenges of aging, significantly increasing the need for physical therapists.
Fortunately, there is significant interest among the younger generation in pursuing physical therapy as a career.
Data from the American Physical Therapy Association indicates that as of year-end 2010, there are 213 accredited physical therapist education programs, 13 developing doctor of physical therapy (DPT) programs, and 33,800 entry-level DPT graduates.
Additionally, between 2004 and 2009, the number of applicants to physical therapist education programs increased, on average, by 110% and actual enrollments increased by 45.3%.
There are a number of opportunities for physical therapists to remain an important part of the healthcare system now – and in future.
And as the physical therapy industry continues to rank high as one of the best jobs in America, the supply of talented, hard-working physical therapists is sure to increase simultaneously to meet the rising demand.