When choosing between a graduate degree and a doctoral degree, you might consider some of the careers available with a Master's in Physical Therapy. This will help you decide whether you should continue with your studies at the doctoral level or if you can work in an area you like right after completing graduate school. Those with a doctoral degree often make more, but you may find that you can live comfortably with the salary you make in fields open to those with just a graduate degree.
Working as a traveling therapist gives you the chance to travel regularly and work with a range of patients. Instead of spending every day in the same center, you can travel to centers all across the country or those located in your state or around your city. Some traveling therapists also work with patients in their homes and offer therapy in a private setting. You also have the option of working for private companies that offer temporary help. Those companies will send you to treatment centers as needed.
The most common job open to those with a Master's in Physical Therapy is a rehabilitation therapist. These therapists work in rehabilitation centers and help patients recover from injuries and illnesses. They might work with heart attack and stroke victims as well as those recovering from broken bones and pulled muscles. As a rehabilitation therapist, you can pick a specialization in an area like geriatric or pediatric therapy and only work with patients of a certain age. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for physical therapists is more than $80,000 a year.
Not all careers available with a Master's in Physical Therapy require that you work with actual patients. You also have the option of using your degree to help train the next group of therapists. Your graduate degree will qualify you to work in community colleges and vocational schools that offer associate's degree programs that give students a basic idea of how the human body works, which will help them when they enroll in full PT programs. You can also use your degree to work in PT assistant programs that train students on how to assist and help both patients and licensed physical therapists.
Depending on the courses that you take in graduate school, you might decide to use your degree and work as a sports trainer. Trainers work with both professional and amateur players and athletes. At the amateur level, you can seek work as a high school trainer and work with gymnasts and those who play basketball, football, volleyball and other sports. Colleges and athletic organizations also need trainers. Trainers must attend games and practices and meet with the team doctor and other medical professionals to come up with training programs for those players. They also offer treatments and training designed to help athletes recover from injuries.
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Working as a physical therapist requires working with patients to help them learn their limitations and recover from injuries. You can work with specific types of patients and in different types of facilities. Though you might think that all the top careers available with a Master's in Physical Therapy require working in rehab centers, you can also work as a professor or sports trainer.