Physical therapists help improve the function of people with movement and mobility problems, often lessening the need for surgery or pain medication. Physical therapists treat a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, stroke, cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. They work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, schools, early intervention programs and other settings.
Physical therapy is a rewarding career that appeals to people who enjoy physical activity, service to others and one-on-one therapeutic relationships. According to a study by the NORC at the University of Chicago, physical therapy is one of the happiest jobs.
The median wage for physical therapists was $86,850 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The career outlook for physical therapists is strong. The number of physical therapist jobs is projected to grow by 28 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs are expected to be particularly plentiful in settings where older adults are treated, such as acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.