If you are looking for a new career direction, consider physical therapy.
Fitness instructor Maria Pontillo is becoming a physical therapist because it will allow her to continue her passion of helping people through physical activity and it will pay her a decent salary.
The 25-year-old PT student at Florida International University in Miami already holds an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology, but starting salaries for physiologists can be as low as $12 an hour.
“I wanted to earn a decent wage,’’ said Pontillo, who is working her way through PT school as a personal trainer and a dance instructor.
Help is Wanted, Pay is Good
This PT student is looking in the right place. Physical therapists, who help patients regain and improve their movement, are doing well. The median salary for a physical therapist today is $75,000, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Furthermore, there are plenty of jobs available. In mid-July the President’s Council of Economic Advisers listed physical therapy in a report as being among health professions generating large job growth during the next seven years.
The report found that the increased demand stems largely from an aging population that will require care at home, in nursing care facilities, and in in-patient and outpatient settings.
An increased prevalence of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity is also fueling the demand for physical therapists, says Scott Ward, president of the American Physical Therapy Association.
“We expect that as our nation ages the demand will continue to grow," Ward said.