Job Outlook for Physical Therapists

Bureau of Labor Statistics Predictions

Demand for physical therapists is expected to increase according to the 2015-16 Occupational Outlook Handbook, a publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment of physical therapists is predicted to grow 28 percent between 2016 and 2026 , "much faster" than the average growth rate for all occupations. The report concluded that job opportunities will be most promising in acute hospital, skilled-nursing facilities, and orthopedic settings.

APTA Projections

For another perspective, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) developed a model to estimate the number of physical therapists required to meet the healthcare demands of Americans. Their 2016 projections for the year 2025 present three different scenarios for supply and demand for physical therapists based on three different attrition rates, the rate at which physical therapists leave the profession.

In the first scenario with the highest attrition rate, their model projects a shortage of 26,560 physical therapists in 2025. The second scenario projects a smaller shortage of 9,592 physical therapists. The third scenario with the lowest attrition rate predicts a surplus of 8,696 physical therapists. These scenarios suggest that whether there will be a surplus or shortage in the industry depends greatly on the attrition rate, but two out of these three scenarios project a shortage of physical therapists by 2025.

Increasing demand for the services of physical therapy practitioners may also drive up salaries.

Study Physical Therapy at George Fox University

Job Outlook for Physical Therapists

Graduates of the George Fox University's doctor of physical therapy program will be trained to find employment as physical therapists in:

  • Acute care centers
  • Independent outpatient orthopedic clinics
  • Rehabilitation centers/clinics
  • Skilled care facilities
  • Sports medicine clinics
  • Home health settings

Are you a high school student? Learn more about George Fox's pre-physical therapy undergraduate major in Kinesiology, which prepares students to go on to grad school to study physical therapy.