Reports From The US Department Of Labor Show Rising Demand For PTs
While criticized by some as being a fractured or unfocused field, those who understand the field of physical therapy appreciate it as a diverse and multifaceted sector of healthcare. The APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) organizes PT into 19 specialty sections – each of which is further divided into subspecialties that can be made up of thousands of professionals. As the field continues to grow and evolve, the demand for qualified professionals has risen steadily.
The Department Of Labor’s 2012 Report On Allied Health
The US Department of Labor reported very optimistic numbers for the future of physical therapists and other allied health workers – showing job growth by 20-46% in all related fields. The projected breakdown from 2010 to 2020 looks like this:
* Physical Therapists will see a 39% growth in job availability, adding on 77,400 new jobs.
* PT Assistants will see a 46% increase in job growth, adding on 30,800 new jobs.
* Occupational Therapists will see jobs grow by 33%, for 36,400 new jobs.
* Occupational Therapy Assistants will enjoy a 43% job increase, an increase of 12,300
*Speech-Language Pathologists will see a 23% rise – an additional 28,800 jobs.
Additionally, allied health has been recently touted as a rising star in the job market by US News & World Report. In its “Best Jobs Of 2012”, it listed both occupational and physical therapy as two of the top ten jobs of the year. The list was dominated by healthcare and technology and also included medical assistants, pharmacists on the list, with the #1 job in 2012 being registered nurse.
Why PT Jobs Are In Demand In The USA
As the Baby Boomers continue to age, the most experienced physical therapists across the nation have begun reach retirement age, and are stepping out of active practice. Simultaneously, Baby Boomers are entering a period in their lives where increased healthcare services are needed.
On a related note, life expectancies are increasing, and those with chronic illnesses are being sustained by healthcare services that are far more advanced than in the past. While this is excellent news, it also means that these patients will require additional and extended-stay healthcare services, which adds further challenges to an already in-demand sector.
In addition, the professionals who are in active practice across the nation are not necessarily distributed where they are needed most. Because of this, there are areas where the need for more PTs is far more urgent need than in others.
The Role Of Travel Physical Therapists
On the short-term, hospitals and other facilities are addressing their need for physical therapists by bringing in therapists to the areas of greatest need for short-term assignments. This is typically done through an agency, and the assignments last for 8, 13, or 26 weeks. Travel physical therapists provide healthcare facilities the unique ability to bring qualified professionals to where they are needed most – either as a short-term solution, or as a placeholder while a permanent long-term candidate is found.
Under the right agency, travel PTs enjoy the advantages of heightened pay, as well as paid housing and travel fees. They have the unique opportunity to travel for extended periods as part of their career, while advancing themselves professionally through firsthand experience in facilities throughout the country.
Not sure if travel physical therapy is for you? Many will request a sabbatical from their current job, taking a travel position to visit family and friends that live far away from home. They have the security of knowing that a job is waiting for them if they decide that the experience doesn’t suit their needs.