Employment Outlook

  • Employment opportunities for physical therapists remain robust. The need for PT’s is expected to increase into the foreseeable future as the US population ages, chronic conditions increase, and the demand for physical therapy services grows. The Bureau of Labor suggests that with changes in restrictions on reimbursement from third party payers, there will be an increase in demand for service. Improvements in medical technology will also increase the manner in which PT’s are able to provide service to individuals with movement dysfunction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2011 report) forecasts a 30% growth in employment of physical therapists from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations (http://www.bls.gov/oco; accessed 08-08-2011). The average annual starting salary for a physical therapist ranges from $55,000 – 75,000.

    A 2009 workforce study completed by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) on job vacancy rate noted a 10% vacancy rate in acute care/ hospital facilities, 11.2% in private practice settings, and 18.6% in skilled nursing facilities (http://www.apta.org; accessed 08-08-2011). The APTA also notes a 0.2% unemployment rate among physical therapists, noted as the best employment conditions since the enactment of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Physical therapists ranked 4th in a list of the 100 “Best Jobs in America” featured in the November 2010 issue of CNNMoney.com.

    Graduates of the DPT program who choose to work in the field of physical therapy enjoy a 100% placement rate.