Skip to Content

15 Jobs Similar to Physical Therapy

Professional Physical Therapists with patient abnormal muscular symptoms.

Demand for physical therapy services is rapidly growing. This is mainly due to rising obesity levels, an aging American population, and consumers seeking alternatives to opioid pain management and the effectiveness and cost savings of outpatient rehab. This has also led to an increase in various jobs similar to physical therapy.

Learning about them might help keep your options open or even change your career. In this article, we define physical therapy and list 15 alternative careers for physical therapy. Let’s dive in!

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, examine each person and develop a treatment plan to improve their movement, manage or reduce pain, prevent disability, and restore function.  

See also  Temp Agencies Pros and Cons

Work Environment

They mainly work in private offices and clinics, nursing homes, hospitals, and patients’ homes.

Qualification 

To practice as a physical therapist in America, you must pass a state license examination and earn a doctor of physical therapy degree from a commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for a physical therapist is $94,801 as of July 2022. Location impacts how much physical therapists might expect to make. They make most in Hawaii, Nevada, Washington, Alaska, and California. 

Job Outlook 

The employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 21% by 2030. There are about 15,000 openings annually over the decade. Those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers.

Continue reading to learn more about similar jobs to physical therapy.

1. Massage Therapists

Massage Therapists massaging young couple.

Massage therapists treat patients using touch to manipulate the body’s soft tissues. With their touch, therapists help heal injuries, relieve stress, improve circulation, relieve pain, and boost the clients’ overall health. 

Work Environment

Massage therapists work in places like franchised clinics, spas, fitness centers, hotels, and physician’s offices. Some also travel to clients’ offices or homes to give massages. 

Qualification  

You must complete a certificate or diploma degree program from an accredited institution approved by the state. You must also take coursework in body mechanics, physiology, anatomy, medical terminology, and massage ethics during your studies.  

Salary 

The average annual salary for massage therapists is $55 268 as of July 2022. Location impacts how much a massage therapist might expect to make. They make most in Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Alaska, and Massachusetts.   

See also  19 Different Types of Jobs in Psychology (Career Opportunities)

Job Outlook 

The employment of massage therapists is poised to grow to 32% by 2030. Over the decade, there have been about 23,300 openings for massage therapists annually. Those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers.  

2. Occupational Therapists 

An Occupational Therapists at work with elder patient

Occupational therapists assess how various health complications can affect people’s abilities and help them work around the difficulties that affect their daily occupations.  

Work Environment 

They mostly Work in hospitals or private practice settings like nursing homes, schools, and home health services.  

Qualification  

You must earn a master’s degree in occupational therapy. All states require an occupational therapist to be certified and licensed. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for an occupational therapist is $93,820 570 as of July 2022

Job Outlook 

The employment of occupational therapists is projected to grow to 17% by 2030. Over the decade, about 10,100 openings for occupational therapists are expected annually. Those openings are due to the exit of workers from the labor force or transfer to different careers. 

3. Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation Counselor talks with female patient.

Rehabilitation counselors help patients with mental, developmental, physical, or emotional disabilities live independently. They work with patients to manage or overcome social, physiological, or personal effects of disabilities on independent living or employment. 

Work Environment 

They work in senior citizen centers, community rehabilitation centers, and youth guidance organizations. 

Qualification  

You must earn a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. Some openings require a license or certification.

Salary 

The average annual salary for rehabilitation counselors is $72,770 as of July 2022

See also  What Things Should You Bring to An Interview?

Job Outlook 

Employment of rehabilitation counselors is expected to grow by 20% by the end of 2022. Approximately 12,000 slots for rehabilitation counselors are expected annually for over a decade. Those openings are due to replaced workers who either left the labor force or transferred to different careers. 

4. Respiratory Therapists 

Respiratory Therapists with child patient.

Respiratory therapists work under the direction of doctors and perform respiratory modalities that include giving patients oxygen, administering drugs and managing ventilators. 

Work Environment 

Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers, and diagnostic labs. But hospitals hire about 75% of respiratory therapists. 

Qualification 

You’re required to graduate and be awarded a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or a master’s degree from an accredited respiratory therapy education program. Additional, you must pass credentialing exams and obtain licensure in your state. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for respiratory therapists is $106,928 as of August 2022.  

Job Outlook 

The employment of respiratory therapists is poised to grow to 25% by 2030. Over the decade, there have been about 11,000 openings for respiratory therapists annually. Many of those openings result from replaced workers through exits from the labor force or transfer to different careers.  

5. Exercise Physiologists

A female patient undergoing Physiologists.

Exercise physiologists develop exercise and fitness programs that help patients recover from chronic illnesses and improve flexibility, body composition, and cardiovascular function. 

Work Environment 

Many exercise physiologists are self-employed and work full-time. Work settings include clinics, fitness centers, physical therapy offices, and local, state, and private hospitals. They also serve professional athletic teams. 

See also  What are the Worst Parts of Being a Teacher?

Qualification                                                               

You must earn a bachelor’s degree. Degree programs include science and health-related courses like nutrition, kinesiology, anatomy, biology, and clinical work.   

Salary 

The average annual salary for exercise physiologists is $55,657as of July 2022

Job Outlook 

The employment of exercise physiologists is poised to grow to 13% by 2030. About 1,600 slots for exercise physiologists have been projected annually over the decade. Many of those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

6. Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Sportsman and his trainer at gym.

Fitness trainers and instructors provide instruction and training for fitness programs groups or individuals. 

Work Environment 

Fitness trainers and instructors mainly work in facilities like health clubs, yoga studios, and recreation centers.  

Qualifications 

Many fitness trainers and instructors have a high school diploma. But, many recruiters now require that trainers earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field like exercise science or kinesiology.  

Salary 

The average annual salary for fitness trainers and instructors is $44007 as of July 2022

Job Outlook  

Employment of fitness trainers and instructors is poised to grow to 39% by 2030. About 70,000 openings for fitness trainers and instructors have been projected annually. Those slots are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

7. Dietitians and Nutritionists 

Dietitians and Nutritionists discussing some information on a laptop.

Dietitians and nutritionists provide nutrition counseling in disease and health, develop, manage, and implement nutrition care systems, and evaluate and make changes in standards of quality food and nutrition care services. 

Work Environment 

They mainly work in settings like cafeterias, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals and for local and state governments. 

See also  What to Expect in a Panel Interview

Qualifications 

You must earn a bachelor’s degree and supervised training through an internship. Many states require dietitians and nutritionists to be certified and licensed. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for dietitians and nutritionists is $182,000 as of July 2022

Job Outlook 

The employment of dietitians and nutritionists is poised to increase by 2.3% in 2022. About 6,000 openings for dietitians and nutritionists are expected annually over the decade. Many of these slots are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

8.  Chiropractors

Chiropractors with female patient.

Chiropractors treat patients with health complications of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which include tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and nerves. 

Work Environment 

Most chiropractors work in a group or solo chiropractic practice. Most of them are self-employed. 

Qualification  

You must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C) degree, pass a series of examinations administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. You also must secure a license in the province or state you plan to practice. 

Salary

The average annual salary for chiropractors is $157,774 as of July 2022.   

Job Outlook 

Employment of chiropractors is expected to increase by 4.3% in 2022. About 1,700 openings for chiropractors have been projected annually over the decade. Many of those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

9. Audiologists

Audiologists with elder patient on his clinic.

Audiologists are health care experts who use social skills, creative problem-solving, and technology to diagnose and treat balance, tinnitus, hearing, and other auditory disorders. They help people with these disorders better connect and communicate with the world around them.  

See also  9 Different Types of Civil Engineering Jobs (Career Opportunities)

Work Environment 

Most audiologists work in healthcare facilities like physician’s offices, hospitals or audiology clinics. Some work for school districts or travel between facilities. 

Qualification 

It would help if you mainly had a doctor of audiology degree (Au.D.). All states require audiologists to be certified and registered. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for audiologists is $88,467 as of July 2022

Job Outlook 

The employment of audiologists is poised to grow to 17% by 2030. About 850 openings for audiologists are projected annually over the decade. Many of those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

10. Speech-Language Pathologists

A female Speech-Language Pathologists teaching a child patient.

Speech-language pathologists diagnose, treat, and help to prevent swallowing or communication disorders in adults and children. 

Work Environment 

Some speech-language pathologists mainly work in schools, while others work in healthcare facilities like hospitals. 

Qualification 

You must earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Moreover, you must complete a clinical fellowship and pass the Praxis Examination in speech-language pathology. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for speech-language pathologists is $96,000 as of June 2022.

Job Outlook 

The employment of speech-language pathologists is poised to increase by 3.1% in 2022. About 15,000 openings for speech-language pathologists have been projected annually over the decade. Many of those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers. 

11. Oncologists

Serious Oncologists being at work.

Oncologists are doctors who treat cancer and provide medical care and attention to patients diagnosed with cancer.  

Qualifications        

You must earn a bachelor’s degree from a registered medical institution which takes four years to complete, and about five years in residency and internship programs.  

See also  18 Different Types of Jobs for Dentists (Career Opportunities)

Salary 

The average annual salary for oncologists is $323,766 as of August 2022.  

Job Outlook  

The employment of oncologists is projected to grow to 8.2% by 2030. About 5,000 openings for speech-language pathologists have been projected annually over the decade. Many of those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers.

12. Geriatric physicians

Geriatric physicians staring at automatic manometer.

Geriatric physicians diagnose and treat various health conditions affecting older adults, including depression, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc. They can also offer preventive care services like screenings for cancer, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 

Work Environment 

Geriatric physicians work in outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals. They might also visit patients in their homes. 

Qualification 

You must earn a bachelor’s degree, followed by medical school and a three-year residency in the family or internal medicine. After residency, you might practice for a while or apply to a geriatric medical program. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for geriatric physicians was $210,038 as of June 2022.   

Job Outlook 

By 2025 about 30,000 geriatric physicians will be needed. The large baby-boom generation is entering old age, and the number of senior citizens in the US is expected to increase. So, the demand for geriatricians might increase because more people seek care and treatment for age-related illnesses. 

13. Nurse Practitioners 

Nurse Practitioners outside of her office.

Nurse practitioners work directly with patients and can diagnose and manage the most common chronic illnesses. They can perform physical examinations, order and analyze diagnostic tests, provide education and counseling and write prescriptions. 

See also  7 Different Types of Jobs for Experienced Hairdressers and Stylists

Work Environment 

They mainly work in health facilities like clinics, physicians’ offices, managed care organizations and hospitals.  

Qualification 

You must earn at least a master’s degree in one of the advanced practice registered nurses’ roles and pass a national licensing examination. 

Salary 

The average annual salary for nurse practitioners is $89,200 as of June 2022.

Job Outlook 

Overall, the employment of nurse practitioners is poised to grow to 45% by 2030. About 30,000 openings for nurse practitioners have been projected annually over a decade. Those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers.    

14. Dental Assistants 

Female Dental Assistant in clinic.

Dental assistants set up dental exam tables, help during cleanings and fillings and hold dental tools like mirrors and suction tubes while the Dentist works. They also keep track of administrative duties such as stocking supplies, scheduling patients, and billing insurance providers or patients. 

Work Environment 

Dental assistants mainly work in a dentist’s office. 

Qualification  

You must graduate with a diploma or certificate in Dental Assisting.  

Salary 

The average annual salary for dental assistants is $653,000 as of June 2022.   

Job Outlook 

The employment of dental assistants is poised to grow by 11% by 2030. About 45,000 openings for dental assistants have been projected annually over the decade. Many of these openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different occupations.  

15. Nurse Anesthetist

Close-up shot of Nurse Anesthetist.

Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice nurses holding a master’s degree and have specialized in training and administering anesthesia to patients undergoing childbirth, surgical procedures and other medical procedures that cause intense pain. 

See also  10 Jobs Similar to Park Ranger

Work Environment 

Many nurse anesthetists mainly work in hospitals like trauma hospitals, research and university hospitals, emergency hospitals, and rural and community hospitals. Other top employers of nurse anesthetists are outpatient care centers and offices of other health practitioners like optometrists and chiropractors. 

Qualification 

To become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, you must earn a master’s degree and national license. 

Salary 

The median annual salary for certified nurse anesthetists is $200,762 as of June 2022. This salary varies depending on certifications, education level, years of experience, and additional skills. 

Job Outlook

The employment of certified nurse anesthetists is expected to grow to 12.6% by 2030. About 2,900 new job opportunities are projected annually over the decade. Those openings are due to replaced workers leaving the labor force or transferring to different careers.