Therapy

Therapy is an important part of healthcare that helps to heal people from disorders, injuries, and surgeries and doesn’t necessarily require treatment through medicine. Therapists can practice in different areas including certain parts of the body: physical therapy, occupational therapy, repository therapy, speech-language therapy, and audiology. Jobs in therapy pay well, require minimal to advanced education and provide a good work-life balance. Learn about what a therapist does and what it takes to become one.

Major Areas of Therapy

  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy involves the rehabilitation of areas of the body through physical exercises and treatment. Physical therapy takes place in a number of settings: hospitals, private offices, home health, and nursing homes.
     
  • Occupational Therapy 
    Occupational therapy is the practice of therapeutic methods through everyday activities. It helps people who have injuries or illnesses regain practical and social skills.
     
  • Respiratory Therapy
    Respiratory therapy is used for patients with breathing issues caused by lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, and other diseases and illnesses. Ventilators and other medical equipment are used to administer treatment.
     
  • Speech-Language Therapy
    Speech-Language therapy involves accessing and treating those with communication or speech issues, disorders, and impairments. Treatment for speech issues may include oral and breathing exercises, conversational tactics, and cognitive activities.  
     
  • Audiology
    Audiology is the study and treatment of hearing and balance disorders. Some examples of common disorders treated by audiology are hearing loss, ringing in the ear, central auditory, and balance disorders that can be found in adults and children.

In-Demand Therapy Positions

  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
    Occupational therapists help patients who have illnesses or disabilities do everyday activities. They help them achieve more independence by working with them to relieve pain and make common tasks easier.
     
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
    An occupational therapist assistant will work with the OT in providing the treatment for patients through daily tasks. They will record and monitor the patient's progress and report it to the OT.
     
  • Physical Therapist (PT)
    Physical therapists help people who have injuries and illnesses improve mobility and manage pain. This looks like having patients do physical exercises, tracking their progress, and adjusting treatment. PTs may manage other assistants and aids. They also collaborate with other medical professions like doctors and surgeons.
     
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
    Physical therapy assistants collaborate with the PT to heal the patient recovering from an injury, surgery, or other illness. They work directly with the patient just like the PT does and may even communicate with the family members on the patient’s care plan.
     
  • Respiratory Therapist (RT)
    A respiratory therapist works alongside doctors and other medical professions to assist patients who have trouble breathing or can’t breathe on their own. Sometimes they work in emergency situations. They use ventilators to help treat patients and evaluate their progress.
     
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
    A speech-language pathologist can work with a wide range of patients who have a voice or speech disorders. Speech issues could originate from birth or be caused by a stroke or accident. Speech-language pathologists, access the patient and determine the best care plan for them.  

Average Salaries for Therapy Professionals

Average salaries in therapy can range anywhere from $48,000 to $89,000 a year depending on the level of education required for the position. Here is a list of the median salaries and hourly rates for jobs in therapy:  

Source: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019)

Education Requirements

There is a wide range of education required for aids and assistants vs. therapists. Aids and assistants require minimal education whereas therapist positions require a master’s or doctoral degree.

  • Occupational Therapist (OT)
    Occupational therapists require a Master of Occupational Therapy degree.
     
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)
    Occupational therapy assistants only need an associate degree from an accredited community college or technical school. Most states require a license. However, you can be an occupational therapy aide with a high-school diploma and on the job training.
     
  • Physical Therapist (PT)
    Physical therapists require a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. 
     
  • Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA)
    To be a physical therapy assistant you need an associate degree from a two-year accredited program with a certification or license. Physical therapy aids only require a high-school diploma and on the job training.  
  • Respiratory Therapist (RT)
    You can have an associate degree to pursue a career as a respiratory therapist but some employers may require a bachelor's degree. All states with the exception of Alaska require licensure.
     
  • Speech-Language Pathologist
    A position as a speech-language pathologist requires a least a master's degree and state registration. There are additional certifications such as a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) that are attractive to employers.

Common Therapy Practice Settings

Therapists can work in schools, hospitals, private offices, in-patient and out-patient clinics, home health, and more. They can also travel and take short-term contracts around the country.

Therapy FAQs

What is per diem therapy?
Per diem is Latin for “by the day”. A therapist is hired for a shift when a need arises like filling in for people who go on vacation or during busy seasons such as cold and flu season. These shifts are very flexible. Therapists can choose when and how much they want to work.

What is travel therapy?
A therapist may choose to do travel therapy, which is when they can work for a short period in different settings around the country to help with staffing needs. Travel therapy is a great way to gain a breadth of experience, earn more, and live temporarily in a new place.

What are my part-time therapy job options?
herapists have the option to work part-time (typically less than 30 hours a week) and still receive benefits. Working part-time gives therapists the flexibility to spend more time with their family, go back to school, or simply maintain a better work-life balance.

What jobs can students get while still in school? 
Therapy students have the opportunity to work while in school and gain valuable hands-on experience. Students may work as an aid or assistant which requires only a high-school education or associate degree.

Where can I find therapy jobs?
ProLink Staffing can assist you to find a job in therapy. We source a variety of therapy and other jobs in the healthcare field. Here is a list of other sources to find therapy jobs in your area.