Finding true physical therapy entry-level jobs can be difficult. Most of the jobs in physical therapy require advanced degrees. However, there is one job that you can do with only an associate’s degree, and that is the job of physical therapist assistant. As a physical therapist assistant, you would work directly underneath a licensed physical therapist, assisting him or her with a variety of different responsibilities. You may do some hands-on work with patients, such as showing them various exercises or supervising their exercises, providing you are doing so under the watchful eye of your supervisor. Many people find great fulfillment as physical therapist assistants. Some, however, eventually go on to pursue other positions within the industry.
Those who earn at least a masters degree in physical therapy and who go through an accreditation process can go beyond entry-level jobs in physical therapy and become actual physical therapists. These professionals work in a number of settings including private practices, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and more. Their main goal is to repair physical or movement problems or to prevent those problems from occurring in the first place. They emphasize healing and health through approved exercises and movement activities and are sometimes called upon to help individuals learn to walk and move with the use of temporary or permanent prosthetic devices.
Physical therapists and their assistants don’t hold the only physical therapy jobs however. There is also a large demand for qualified chiropractors. These practitioners diagnose muscular, skeletal, or nervous system conditions and problems and offer up forms of treatment or prevention for such problems. There is some debate over the legitimacy of chiropractics, but if you believe in its abilities—as many people do—you could go into business for yourself by opening up your own practice or being employed in the practice of another health care organization.
With any of these jobs, you could potentially find yourself employed through a prestigious and well-known organization. Some of the top and most sought after employers in the industry include the Mayo Clinic, Children’s Memorial of Chicago, the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute, Stanford Hospital, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and John Hopkins Hospital, among others.