Physical Therapists

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Purpose: 98
  • Social: 94
  • Supported: 80
  • Analytical: 64
  • Creative: 62

What Physical Therapists Do

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

Work Environment

Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists entering the profession need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Physical therapists

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life. In addition, physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

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    Job Trends for Physical Therapists

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    This occupation supported 204,200 jobs in 2012 and 210,900 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 3.3%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 36.0% in 2022 to 277,700 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 218,900, compared with an observed value of 210,900, 3.7% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 35.2% in 2024 to 282,700 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 292,400 jobs for 2024, 3.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.