Career Change To Physical Therapy


Five Skills That Pts Use Every Day

Career Change to Physical Therapy in 2021

As a physical therapist, you play a role in preventive care, rehabilitation and treatment for people affected by chronic conditions, illnesses and/or injuries. Responsibilities such as helping injured or ill people improve their movement or manage their pain involve a host of physical therapy skills, including:

  • Effective and clear communication: To provide effective therapy, physical therapists need to convey treatment plans, listen to patients concerns and motivate clients.
  • Physical stamina: PTs spend a great deal of time on their feet demonstrating proper techniques and helping clients perform exercises.
  • Dexterity: Physical therapists use massage for manual therapy and physically assist their patients with therapeutic exercises.
  • Time management: In addition to treating several patients a day, PTs may complete administrative tasks.
  • Resourcefulness: Physical therapists need to be flexible and able to adapt therapy plans to meet the needs of clients.
  • Pta Programs Can Be Completed Relatively Quicklyand Transfer Credits Can Help

    Taking the time to embark on a new career can feel scary. The good news is, making the switch to a PTA career doesnt have to take years of your life.

    PTAs are required to have an associates degree, according to the BLS, which typically takes around two years to complete. However, the Physical Therapist Assistant program at Rasmussen University can be completed in as few as 18 months.2

    Physical Therapist Assistants Have Solid Earning Potential

    Earning potential is always going to be a major consideration for someone switching careers. Spending your time doing something you enjoy isnt enoughit needs to pay the bills. While that means life as a professional dog walker might be out the window, the good news is you likely wont need to cross physical therapist assistant off the list of possibilities. This position commands a respectable salarythe BLS reports a median annual salary of $58,040 for physical therapist assistants in 2018.1 Those working in nursing care facilities and home healthcare services earned the most.

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    Question: Has Having A Physical Therapy Background Helped You With Your New Career At All

    The quick answer is yes. My physical therapy background helps me currently in two different ways:

    1.) As a professional

    2.) As someone who understands the healthcare landscape

    The skills that were translatable from physical therapy were putting structure around unstructured problems, working well with clients as a good listener, managing people both with colleagues and clients, and working hard.

    Since my current clients are stakeholders in healthcare, I am able to use my experience working at all of the different clinical settings to empathize with end-user experiences . I could envision how a new solution can impact them on a deeper level. Additionally, its helpful for me to connect the dots between payers, providers, patients, life science companies, and regulators.

    Note that what my physical therapy background did NOT help me with, that I have to learn on the job, are PowerPoint and Excel skills, and lots and lots of industry jargon.

    Physical Therapy Assistants And Aides

    Are Physical Therapist Assistants in Demand?

    According to the American Physical Therapy Association , physical therapist assistants, are educated and licensed clinicians who provide care under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Part of a physical therapists responsibilities is to guide and direct physical therapy assistants.

    If youre looking for an entry-level position in the field of physical therapy, consider becoming a physical therapy assistant or aide to gain clinical experience and make professional connections. The position typically requires a two-year associate degree from a CAPTE-accredited program and NPTE licensure.

    Jump to:

    Tips to Start Your Career

    Work Settings & Careers

    Career Outlook & Salaries

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    Personal Interest Or Passion

    One of the best reasons to consider making a career change and pursuing a role in physical therapy is that it can align closely with your personal interests or passions. For many individuals, your passions will change and shift as you go throughout your career. The things you found exciting years ago might not drive you today. The age-old adage used to be that each individual would have seven different roles throughout their professional life, but now that has expanded to twelve.

    With more education resources available at the tips of your fingers, work-skilling programs, and improved job search technologies, more individuals can transfer applicable skills, get up to speed, and change their career in new roles faster than ever before.

    If youre truly passionate about helping others and you seek a career where you can grow and fulfill that interest, you should consider working in physical therapy with Upstream Rehabilitation. Were growing and actively hiring for clinical and non-clinical positions across the United States!

    Here Are Some Questions To Help You Narrow Down What Would Make You Happy In Your Non Clinical Career:

    • I want you take a moment to close your eyes and picture what your ideal day would look like. Write down some key points from your vision.
    • Do you need or want to work remotely? Do you need or want to work fully remote, or would hybrid remote work be a better fit?
    • Do you need to work a full time job, part time or just contract?
    • Do you need to be paid a salary or are comfortable with a salary plus commission?
    • Do you want flexible hours but perhaps have to work evenings or are you better working a straight 8-4:30?
    • Do you want interaction with patients/clients?
    • Do you want interaction with team members/coworkers/interdisciplinary members?
    • Do you want to be on social media and do sales or promotions?
    • Would you be comfortable making phone calls?
    • Do you like to learn new things, especially technology?
    • Are you a self starter or need more structure?
    • Do you need/really want upward mobility?

    Many of these questions will help you know if you want to search remote roles, part time roles, more sales roles, to name a few ideas. Hopefully from this list, you can then move to our search terms and begin your job hunt!

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    What Makes Physical Therapist Assistant A Good Career Choice

    If a majority of people make career changes for the reasons listed above then working a physical therapist assistant is worthy of serious consideration as a new career. Physical therapist assistants are licensed healthcare workers that work under the supervision of a physical therapist. They provide physical therapy treatment to persons across all age groups and in all healthcare settings . For more specific information about physical therapy, you can check out our blog: What is Physical Therapy?

    Annual Salary

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary is $58,520 with an average hourly wage of $28.14. Annual salaries are impacted significantly by the healthcare setting where the physical therapist assistant works, with skilled nursing facilities and home health settings paying the best. Geographical location can also have a large impact on compensation. More specific salary data can be found at:

    Job satisfaction

    Working in physical therapy provides a high degree of job satisfaction. I cant count the number of patients who told me that physical therapy changed their lives. The treatment that PTs and PTAs perform can provide pain relief and restore the quality of life for patients that had little hope before seeking out our services. Making that kind of difference in peoples lives is what being a physical therapist assistant is all about.



    Occupational Employment And Wage Statistics

    Physical Therapy Career Overview | PT & PTA Roles

    The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

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    Top 3 Highest Paying States For Physical Therapists

    Reported by the BLS, the following data is a snapshot of physical therapy salaries from across in the U.S. in May 2019. The salaries reported below are the annual mean wage.4

    #1 Physical Therapy Salary in Nevada $108,550#2 Physical Therapy Salary in Alaska $102,650#3 Physical Therapy Salary in California $99,920

    Reasons To Consider Being A Physical Therapist Assistant

    Whether your current job feels off because of a bad work environment, boredom or not using your natural skillset, theres a good chance that being a physical therapist assistant could be the job that sets your career in motion again. Picture yourself enjoying the benefits of this career to see if its the right move for you!

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    So You Want To Make A Career Transition To Physical Therapy

    So, you want to become a physical therapist. Maybe youre ready for a change in work environments, or perhaps you aspire to make a positive impact on the lives of others by helping them improve their range of motion or manage physical pain. Its not uncommon for people to seek out doctor of physical therapy degree programs in order to make a career transition to PT after working in other fields. Its a way to work directly with patients without going to medical school, and with a PT degree, graduates have the flexibility to work all over the country and in many different settings.

    What might you expect along the way as you switch careers to physical therapy? Heres a look at what earning your DPT entails, the job growth outlook and where PTs work. Taking a closer look at these factors may help you make the decision on whether or not to become a PT.

    Looking For A Career Path With A Good Outlook Stable Pay And Accessible Opportunities All While Bringing Purpose In Your Life You Should Consider A Job In The Field Of Physical Therapy

    Kinesiology &  Sport Review: Advancement in Kinesiology Profession ...

    Physical therapists are licensed clinicians who work hands-on with patients that have sustained an injury or chronic health condition. Through their life-changing services, they help patients from every walk of life recover and live pain-free, boundless lives.

    Physical therapists do this through a variety of means, including prevention , movement experts, hands-on treatment, patient education, and a wide range of injury recovery options. Physical therapists work with people of all ages and in many different settings, such as hospitals, sports facilities, and clinics.

    CORA Physical Therapy is one of the industrys fastest-growing brands and also one of its largest employers, with hundreds of clinics ranging from the southern tip of Florida to the shores of the Great Lakes in Wisconsin.

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    Are You A Burned

    No matter how exciting it is to be a physical therapist, we all have moments where wed rather be doing something else besides treating patients. Thats normal. However, theres an insidious, creeping condition that is affecting more and more physical therapists every day, and its called burnout. I wrote about the physical therapy burnout crisis recently, and I was astounded by the response I received. There are tons physical therapists who are feeling frustrated, drained, and powerlessand its vital that we address this problem head-on.

    This blog was written by Meredith Castin, PT, DPT for The article was published on December 6, 2017 and the original article can be found here.


    While a day or two of feeling offor dreaming of vacationsis nothing to be concerned about, there are plenty of signs that youre dealing with something worse than a case of the Mondays.

    Nine signs that youve hit the point of being a burned-out PT:

  • You truly dread going to work most days.
  • You find yourself rolling your eyes internally when patients complain to you.
  • You mentally check out at meetings, or you spread negativity in the workplace.
  • Youve lost interest in journal clubs, research, and con-ed.
  • You dream of retirement simply because you dont want to work.
  • You cant imagine working as a PT for 5-10 more years, much less 35.
  • When people ask you if you like your job, you have a visceral negative response.
  • You let your APTA membership lapse long ago.
  • Question: Do You Have Any Advice For Those Considering Applying To Pt School That Want To Make Sure Getting Their Dpt Is The Right Career Choice For Them

    If you know you want to go to a physical therapy program, have a financial plan. Consider and evaluate different options like state school vs. private programs. Discuss plans and options with your family and/or financial advisor to optimize your situation. Having a plan and understanding what it means long term has helped me feel comfortable with making a career change and this is empowering.

    If you are unsure if becoming a physical therapist is right for you, I would advise you to talk to different professionals. Talk to your family, relatives, friends. Cold message people on LinkedIn that you are curious about and ask for a quick phone call . People can give you in-depth insights beyond what you can find on google.

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    Projected Physical Therapy Outlook

    According to the BLS, employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 18 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

    This growth is due to an aging baby boomer population, a prevalence in chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and advances in technology.3

    Why The Apta Projections And Human Capital Are Important:

    Why I Chose a Career in Physical Therapy

    In this example, we will assume that Jane and Sally are both physical therapists. They went to the same school, have the same work experience, and both work at the same private practice. They are the same in every single aspect except one. Sally decided to pursue a residency and later completed her fellowship while Jane did neither.

    Since Sally has dedicated the time to further developing her human capital by continuing her studies, she is of more value to the private practice relative to Jane. Sally would be looked upon as better skilled and more qualified to perform her job. The private practice can also now advertise and attract clients based on the notion that their physical therapists have better credentials than its competitors. Therefore, Sally creates more value for her employer, which increases the probability of higher pay and less risk of losing her job relative to Jane.

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    Question: Did You Find That Getting Your Mba Helped In Your Career Path

    I found that getting my MBA signaled to others that I can do more than just clinical roles. While physical therapists have skills that can be incredibly versatile, I think others perceptions of you can limit your opportunities.

    Additionally, consulting firms target MBA schools so it helped me get my foot in the door.

    Are There Physical Therapist Assistant Jobs

    It is natural to have concerns when you start preparing for a change in careers that there wont be a job for you when you finally get there. That wont be the case if you choose to become a physical therapist assistant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the need for PTAs will grow by 33% between 2019 and 2029. That gives you plenty of time to complete your training and be sure there will be a job waiting for you.

    There are many reasons you might be considering changing careers. A career as a physical therapist assistant just might provide you the income, satisfaction and flexibility that is lacking in your current job. Remember,

    The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you havent found it yet, keep looking. Dont settle. Steve Jobs


  • 31-2021 Physical Therapist Assistants. . Retrieved December 15, 2020, from
  • Career Change Report: An Inside Look at Why Workers Shift Gears. . Retrieved December 15, 2020, from
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    Question: How Did You Decide On Which Mba Program To Apply To

    Since I was in so much student debt, I decided it would be more responsible to apply to UCLA Andersons part-time FEMBA program. This enabled me to work during the day and take classes 2 nights a week. There were weekend options but I chose Tuesdays and Thursdays 6pm-10pm classes so I can have my weekends .

    Pta To Pt Career Transition

    Physical Therapist Job Change
  • PTA to PT Career Transition
  • Approximately 10% of PTAs explore careers as PTs.

    Becoming a physical therapist assistant is not a steppingstone to becoming a physical therapist. However, approximately 10% of PTAs pursue careers at PTs.

    Traditionally, PTAs remain with their first career choice within physical therapy. PTAs pursuing additional development can participate in APTAs PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways program.

    For those considering the unique transition from PTA to PT, here are some things to keep in mind.

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    Is A Pt Career Right For You

    Is a career in physical therapy the right choice for you and your circumstances? Maybe the higher than average salary appeals to you. Or maybe you are ready for a change from your current career and find the idea of a new field or workplace exciting. In the end, it could be knowing that you may play a direct role in helping patients and clients live better lives that means the most to you. If you want a growing career thats been rated one of the best jobs in the United States, then pursuing or transitioning to a job as a physical therapist may be right for you.

    Non Clinical Physical Therapy Job Ideas

    If youve thought: I dont want to be a physical therapist anymore, read this article. Here are the top non-clinical jobs for Physical Therapists.

    I want you to know that its OK that youre thinking about non clinical jobs for PTs. Youre not the first PT to say, I dont want to be a Physical Therapist anymore. It doesnt matter if youre a new grad PT, have 20 years of experience or if youre into your first year of PT school. You should not feel guilty about changing careers.

    The expectations you had for your Physical Therapy career just arent being met. It doesnt make you a bad PT, nor should you feel like youre a failure.

    Realize this: youve put in a lot of hard work to get where you are. You should be proud of what youve accomplished.

    But if youre experiencing PT burnout or realize that youre ready to move on to a different career, this article is for you.

    A lot of PTs seek alternative careers for many different reasons:

    • Lack of upward growth opportunities
    • Financial limitations: low PT Salary
    • Stressful work environments and high patient loads
    • Excessive mental stress and physical fatigue
    • Back, shoulder, and hand injuries

    Identifying the reasons you want to make a change is important. Your next job may still be stressful, but if upward growth is what youre wanting, dont take on a career that has limited opportunities.

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