23 January 2015
The healthcare industry experienced major changes in 2014 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. With more people insured than ever before, hospitals and care providers are experiencing an increased demand for a variety of health professionals, and this demand is only expected to grow. One sector in particular that is expected to thrive is physical therapy—in fact, according to a Forbes article, physical therapy was labeled as one of the best healthcare jobs to have in 2015, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 36% growth in this field through 2022. What is it about physical therapy that makes it a top job in healthcare? Well, stats like these helped CareerCast compile their list of the best healthcare jobs in 2015, which were based on jobs with: promising income and hiring outlook; pleasant work environment; low stress environment; and modest physical demands. Robert Tulman, a Staffing Manger on The Execu|Search Group’s Travel Therapy division, believes that whether you help an oncology patient regain their strength, or work with an athlete to heal a strained muscle, the genuine relationships you can build in this field are hard to find in other healthcare specialties. “Many of the physical therapists we work with often cite their relationships with their patients as one of their favorite parts of the job,” says Rob. For both young and seasoned healthcare professionals considering a career in physical therapy, here are 3 reasons why Robert sees it as one of today’s best jobs in healthcare. 1. More opportunities for entry-level positions There are very few healthcare facilities that are open to hiring new graduates since most specialized roles require at least 2 years of experience. For example, while Nursing is a very secure healthcare profession, certain hospitals still want to see clinical experience in a chosen area of specialty in order to be considered. As a result, a new graduate is more likely to experience difficulty finding entry-level opportunities because of how competitive the current market is to get real world experience. On the other hand, most healthcare facilities are open to hiring entry-level PTs. “Since your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree gives you a combination of classroom study and hands-on clinical training in hospitals or nursing homes, this makes you a more desirable candidate who is capable of making an impact in the workforce immediately,” says Robert. 2. Great work-life balance “A great aspect of being a physical therapist is how flexible your time commitments can be with different types of patients,” highlights Robert. In other words, there is no set 9-5 schedule to abide by; you could work in a school from 8am-3pm, and still have the option to work with adults in the evening. This flexibility allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance because you aren’t on-call, or taking care of a patient that requires continuous observation and monitoring. “Since you create your schedule and have the ability to choose the types of patients you see, this not only allows you to have a very rewarding work-life balance, but this also allows your daily tasks to change depending on the person you are working with,” says Robert. 3. Continued education opportunities Finally, as a physical therapist you have the opportunity to work in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, or other practice settings, which allows you to explore different healthcare facilities with a variety of cultures and patient populations. “You are never stuck to one path; you can work with pediatric, adult, or geriatric patients in a number of locations,” says Robert. To further improve your skills, physical therapists can also utilize travel assignments as continuing education opportunities to gain more exposure to various facilities across the country.