Should I Be a Physical Therapist? Pros and Cons

by | Aug 31, 2016 | 0 comments

Whether you are just getting ready for your first year of college, or are thinking about switching careers or going back to school, choosing a path can be overwhelming. So should I be a Physical Therapist?

Should I be a doctor? Or a nurse? Or a radiologist? These are all potentially great careers, but which one is right for you?

Most medical careers require a huge investment of time and money, so it’s important to think things through before you jump in. If you are considering a career as a physical therapist, you should learn as much as you can before you proceed.

Physical Therapy student asking the question So should I be a Physical Therapist?

Should I Be A Physical Therapist?

Only you have the answer to that question, and one way to find that answer is to get as much information about the field of physical therapy as possible. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

  • How much school will I need? How long will it take?
  • Are physical therapists in demand? Will I be able to find a job?
  • What does the average day of a physical therapist look like? Will I enjoy it?
  • How much money does a physical therapist earn in a year?
  • What about scheduling? What kind of hours will I have to put in?
  • What are the working conditions typically like?
  • Who will I be working with? What kind of people get services from physical therapists?
  • Will I get bored? Is the work challenging?

These questions can help you answer the question “Should I be a physical therapist” instead of pursuing a different medical career, such as a nurse or a radiologist.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Being A Physical Therapist?

There are many pros to being a physical therapist. Here are just a few:

  • Less education than other jobs in the medical field, such as physician.
  • Physical therapists are in demand. This is a growing, expanding field with many opportunities.
  • Excellent salary. You can expect to make $50,000 to $75,000 per year or more.
  • High level of satisfaction on the job. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.
  • There are many different settings you can work in as a physical therapist. You can work in hospitals, private practices, rehabilitation centers, sub-acute care facilities, schools, sports centers, wellness centers and more.
  • Reasonable schedules. Unlike doctors and nurses, you won’t have to pull all-night shifts or work 16 hour days.

The list of pros is compelling. If were asking should I be a physical therapist, you may feel confident at this point that the answer is yes.
Teaching a physical therapy student asking the question So should I be a Physical Therapist?

With that said, it’s also a good idea to list any potential cons that may be associated with being a physical therapist.

  • Length of time in school. While getting a degree to be a physical therapist won’t take you as long as it would to be a doctor, you can still expect to spend three years getting your requirements to be a physical therapist. That is on top of a four-year degree. This is a total of seven years. If you decide at some point that physical therapy isn’t for you, you risk wasting years of school and accumulating student debt. If you want to change careers later on, you will have to go back to school for something else.
  • The job is demanding. Make no mistake, the work that a physical therapist does is demanding. You will have to take good care of yourself to keep up with it, as the job does pose some physical demands. This is a big consideration when you are asking yourself should I be a physical therapist.
  • There is a risk of burnout, as there is with any helping profession. You are working with people who have problems and this can take a toll over time.

Are you still asking yourself “Should I be a physical therapist?” Now that you have more information, perhaps you can make a better decision. Continue to learn about what is involved with this career.

Research the top physical therapy schools and find out what their requirements are, and what you need to get accepted. Start meeting people who are already in the field and ask them questions. What do they love about their job? What don’t they like? What are the drawbacks and what do they wish someone would have told them before they started.

Check out this great list of PT resources from BioExSystems.