21st Century Careers: Physical Therapy

By Sumedha Kommaraju ('22)

Photo courtesy of Wix

Physical Therapy is a career that has been growing rapidly for the past few years, and the employment rate is only continuing to increase. This career focuses on helping people improve their movement and taking away most of their pain. A physical therapist is required to review a patient’s medical history, while also paying attention to doctor’s notes, and find ways to improve the patient’s quality of life.


After a therapist closely inspects a patient’s movement and mobility, they can figure out the root of what’s causing their problem. Then, after taking into account the patient’s schedule and requirements, a physical therapist needs to create exercises to facilitate health and wellness to get their patient back to normal as soon as possible. However, the job does not end there, as the patient still needs to come back so that the therapist can inspect the patient’s progress, and look into further treatment.


Majoring in physical therapy can provide a person with many opportunities. Over 240,000 jobs are created each year, growing the industry by almost 28%. To receive a bachelor’s degree in this major, it only takes about three to four years. Pittsburgh University, for example, offers many courses that can make getting a job in this field easier.

The in-state tuition, not including any other fees is about $41,796 for all three years. However, for out-of-state students, it can cost around $49,185 for the full three years. While this may seem like expensive, it all pays off if someone starts working at a job. The median salary of 2016 was around $87,000 a year.


The work hours in this job can range from anywhere between part-time and full-time jobs, however most jobs require a minimum of eight hours (full-time) per day. Some of the skills required for this job include compassion and empathy towards patients as well as detail-orientation, physical stamina, resourcefulness, and time management skills.


In an interview with physician’s assistant and physical therapist, Ms. Sushma Kommaraju, the other aspects of physical therapy have become clearer.


She has worked at Genesis Healthcare for nine years, and said, “My favorite part about my job was helping people by keeping them satisfied and happy.”


Not only is physical therapy inexpensive, but it also helps people in an effective way. She also says that she loves to take the pain away from people who are suffering, and physical therapy lets her do that.


If science and math are two strong points in someone’s life, then physical therapy is definitely an option to consider as a career, because it is efficient, pays well, and opens up new opportunities every year.

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