Pros and Cons of a Career as a Physical Therapist

Many people quickly add physical therapist to their list of possible career choices, usually because they enjoy helping people and because a physical therapist salary is desirable to most.  But, before deciding to undertake this challenging feat, it may be important to think about the various pros and cons related to a physical therapist career.


  • High level of education.  You will gain advanced knowledge in many areas of health and science.
  • Excellent job opportunities.  Physical therapists are in high demand.
  • Working in a career that helps people.  Many people find the human service professions to be very rewarding as they have the ability to watch patients progress and get better.
  • Excellent salaries.  In 2009, the average physical therapist salary was approximately $75,000.
  • Opportunities for interaction with people.  People in physical therapist careers will not be “stuck behind a desk” all day and will usually get to be very active.
  • Can often find part-time work.  This makes it ideal as a career for those who wish to have plenty of time to devote to having a family.
  • Wide variety of work settings.  Physical therapists can find careers in clinics, hospitals, schools, home care, nursing homes, private practice and other settings.
  • Wide variety of client types.  Physical therapists can work with children, adult or geriatric populations, focusing on development, rehabilitation, restoration, sports medicine, chronic conditions or other needs.


  • Extended time required for education.  Completing the rigorous course work can take at least five years.
  • Cost of education.  Finishing school with student loans is very likely, and a large portion of your physical therapist salary during the first few years of employment will go toward repaying the loans.
  • Little opportunity for career change later on.  Those in physical therapist careers are unlikely to be able to switch fields without additional education, unless they are able to move up in their clinical situation, perhaps to a management position.
  • Health care reform.  Many insurance companies are covering less of the cost of physical therapy, meaning that the physical therapist salary potential may be affected as they may earn less for working with patients with certain insurances.
  • High degree of “burn out,” as it can be a demanding medical position in some settings.  It is not uncommon for those in the human service fields to become overwhelmed by job demands and slow progress of patients.
  • Physical work requiring a decent level of physical fitness.  Physical therapist careers are not for those who are in poor health.
  • Excessive paperwork responsibilities.  All health care providers are required to keep detailed notes and logs of patient care and treatments.  Progress notes, insurance forms and other paperwork can keep a physical therapist very busy.

As you can see, becoming a physical therapist can be a difficult decision.  While there are clearly many advantages and disadvantages to physical therapist careers, they are mainly personal choices.  Once you weigh the pros and cons of pursuing this occupation, the decision may be far easier and you may find yourself in a highly rewarding and lucrative career.

If you need more information about the physical therapy field or help finding a  physical therapy job, visit By choosing physical therapist job search engine over another general job search engine, you can minimize the stress and the unnecessary time wasted sorting through irrelevant information and job listings.

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