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Physical therapy is proving to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation. According to labor statistics, physical therapists are expected to experience a 39% employment increase between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than the average for most other occupations. One of the reasons the field is so in demand is because of new and advancing medical technology. More patients are being sent to outpatient surgery, which also attributes to the job outlook for physical therapists. In order to get the most out of a physical therapist career, you’ll have to have the right credentials.

Physical therapists are required to have a postgraduate degree, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. In most cases, it will take you three years to earn your DPT degree. In order to qualify for a postgraduate degree, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and courses in human physiology and anatomy. After graduating, you can apply for a residency program in order to gain further experience before applying to physical therapy jobs.

No matter which state you’re in, you’ll need your license in order to qualify for physical therapy jobs. For most states, you’ll need to have graduated from an accredited program and successfully pass an exam. Other than licensing, you can become certified in specific clinical specialties, such as sports physical therapy or pediatrics.

As of 2011, there are 185,440 physical therapists employed in the U.S., according to labor statistics. In May of 2010, the statistics reported that the average yearly earnings for physical therapists were roughly $76,000. For that year, the lowest ten percent made less than about $54,000 while the top ten percent earned more than approximately $108,000. If you plan on having your own practice or acting as a partner in a practice, you’ll have to not only take care of your own benefits, but the benefits of your employees.

For the best job prospects, physical therapists may want to consider skilled nursing, acute hospitals and any settings that cater exclusively to the elderly population since they are more likely to suffer from more injuries that require the services of a physical therapist. Since most physical therapists live in suburban and metropolitan areas, you might also want to consider positions in more rural areas where there could be more job openings and fewer applicants. For careers similar to that of a physical therapist that don’t require a doctoral degree, you may want to consider becoming either a physical therapist assistant or a physical therapist aide.

Soliant Health provides physical therapist jobs all over the country in healthcare settings such as hospitals, outpatient care centers, rehabilitation centers and long-term care facilities. With Soliant, you’ll enjoy competitive compensation, excellent medical benefits, paid travel and more.