Full disclosure: My wife is a PT. We started dating when she was in PT school at UCSF. At that time I did not know what “P.T.” stood for, and I could not imagine why anyone would leave a job with Morgan Stanley to become a one. Especially when becoming a PT meant three years of very expensive graduate school. The average PT currently graduates with a Doctorate and over $96,149 in debt. I doubt that any profession has that level of disparity in average debt versus starting salary. According to the census, PTs makes $76,310 per year (not a starting salary, but an AVERAGE salary). I challenge you to find a profession with a higher debt/salary ratio than 1.26!
Even faced with those numbers, my wife wanted to help people and wanted to learn more about the human body. Who can argue with that? So, 14 years later, she has her own successful PT practice, and here I am, building an online physical therapy community.
And, I really do think that now is a great time to be a PT!
If you are a PT, there are at least three big trends working in your favor; Demand, Reform and Technology.
Demand (and Supply)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that PT will grow 39% from 2010 to 2020. Ranking #20 in growth out of 796 categories that the Bureau tracks -from 198,000 thousand PTs in 2010 to 276,000 in 2020. Is there really a farm system in place that can add 77,400 PTs over 10 years? With 211 PT schools and average class sizes of 40 students (according to the APTA) in the US, this could only happen if NOBOBY ever retired. A 1 in 30 annual retirement rate would almost nullify the inflow of new grads. So, either 1) the US will be a net importer of PT jobs or 2) schools will need to get bigger or 3) PTs will need to work longer, or 4) all of the above.
On top of that, I don’t think the BLS is being very sophisticated with their estimates. Their estimates only seem to mirror the growth in the population 65 and older over the same Continue reading