Physical therapy job growth will stem, in large part, from aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life than previous generations did. Older persons are more likely to require rehabilitative physical therapy services due to heart attacks, strokes, and mobility-related injuries, so the growing population of aging baby boomers point to increasing demand for physical therapists.
Advances in medical technology have increased the use of outpatient surgery to treat a myriad of injuries and illnesses. Physical therapists play, and will continue to play, an important role in helping surgical outpatients recover more quickly from their procedures.
Medical and technological developments also are expected to allow a larger percentage of trauma victims and newborns with birth defects to survive, creating additional demand for rehabilitative physical therapy care. In addition, the incidence of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, has grown in recent years. The effects of these diseases frequently require physical therapy to help patients manage their diseases, so the increasing frequency of such chronic diseases will further boost the demand for physical therapists.
Job opportunities will likely be good for licensed physical therapists in all settings. Job opportunities should be particularly good in hospital, skilled nursing, and orthopedic settings, where the elderly are most often treated. Job opportunities should be particularly good in rural areas because many physical therapists live in highly populated urban and suburban areas.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor