Lymphedema is a chronic debilitating condition involving fluid retention and swelling, usually in the arms or legs, due to a compromised lymphatic system. Lymphedema therapists are usually licensed physical or occupational therapists with a specialty in treating this disorder.
A lymphedema therapist helps patients decrease swelling and control pain with exercises, massage, compression techniques and other therapies.
Lymphedema therapists with 1 to 4 years experience are earning about $29.50 per hour median salary as of 2009, according to the PayScale salary survey website. Those with 10 to 19 years experience generally make about $33 per hour, or about $69,000 annually.
Physical vs. Occupational Therapist
Average salary for all physical therapists in 2008 was about $36 per hour or $74,000 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Average salary for all occupational therapists was about $32.50 per hour or $68,000 annually.
Lymphedema therapists can become certified for better employment opportunities and higher salaries. Registered nurses with this certification also are qualified lymphedema therapists.
Full-time lymphedema therapist positions include benefit packages with paid vacations and holidays, insurance, a 401(k) plan or other savings plan and tuition reimbursement for further education.