Publications such as CNN and US News and World Report (and a handful of others) consistently list physical therapy as one of the best careers for the future. They often arrive at this conclusion based on the notion that the baby-boomers are coming to retirement age after active lifestyles and will be living longer than any other generation before them, concluding that physical therapy will remain an in demand job for years to come.
On the contrary, when speaking with young adults I usually discourage them from physical therapy (especially if they reside in New York state) because they often graduate with over $100,000 in debt for a job that initially pays only $50,000 and will only pay enough to eradicate their debt if they are interested in a management position or they intend to own their company. Additionally, demand for a service is one thing, but with the insurance companies already cutting back reimbursement (to the average of $45 per visit in NY) and patients often paying 75-100% of their own bill, the demand is not as high as the publications were predicting a few years ago and I do not see this trend changing anytime soon.
So, what do I tell them to do? I don’t, and I shouldn’t. After all, I am still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. I just want them to make an informed choice.