Why Choose a Physical Therapy Major?

If you’re still undecided as to a major, here’s one that’s well with considering: physical therapy. This major will lead to a career with advantages that will be hard to match in just about any other field you might choose.

Consider the following:

Helping others to heal

Physical therapy is one of the “helping” professions, a career in which you’re quite literally helping others to get well. That can lead to a sense of job satisfaction that is not typically experienced by workers in most fields, or at least not on the same level. You’ll be having a positive impact on a person’s health, and by extension, on his entire life.

If this type satisfaction is something you believe will be necessary in a career, physical therapy is a field you should take a close look at. In addition to the satisfaction factor, there are a number of other benefits that make it appealing as a major and career choice.

Being part of a career field that’s growing

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Physical therapy is a true growth field. The number of physical therapist positions is expected to increase from 2010 to 2020 by nearly 40%. That type of growth opens up tremendous potential. Not only is it easier to find a job in a field growing at that rate, but it’s also easier to find a position that specifically suits your needs, as well as both to advance and to find new opportunities.

That kind of growth will also produce the type of career flexibility that can benefit you for a lifetime. For example, you could take a year off from work to attend to family or personal business, or just a clear your head, and when you come back you can be pretty certain that there will be a job waiting for you.

You can live where ever you want

Physical therapy is one of those career fields that is not specific to location. There are employment opportunities in physical therapy practices, hospitals and surgical facilities, nursing homes, clinics, and even home healthcare. That creates a lot of job opportunities in itself, but a physical therapist always has the option to also open up his or her own practice and become self-employed.

With employment and self-employment opportunities so numerous, it allows a physical therapist to work in virtually any area of the country he or she chooses.

Generous pay

Pay levels for physical therapists vary by region, but generally average about $80,000 per year and this amount is increasing steadily. There are also specialties within the field that pay more, as well as certain areas of the country where pay levels are higher than overall averages.

A flexible schedule

Since physical therapists have so many employment opportunities, and also since demand for practitioners is rising, there is a significant amount of flexibility as to work schedule.

The physical therapist can work either full-time or part-time. They can also do contract work, working for a time and then taking a break in between assignments.

Career requirements

Traditionally, physical therapists have been able to enter the field with an undergraduate degree, but those requirements are steadily increasing.

There is a Masters of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree that can be completed in an additional two years, but increasingly the requirement is for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), that generally takes three years to complete.

Entry into either graduate program requires an undergraduate degree with course work in anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry.

You may also be required to complete a residency requirement that can last anywhere from nine months to three years. Not only does the residency offer practical training, but it’s also where you can develop a specialty within the field.

Universities that offer a graduate program in physical therapy include:

  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Western Ontario
  • Queens University
  • McMaster University
  • Dalhousie University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Manitoba
  • Universite Laval
  • Universite de Montreal
  • Charles University

If you would like to major in a field that offers stability, growth, high income and substantial amounts of job satisfaction and flexibility, physical therapy may well be that major.

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