Career as a Therapist
By Diane Turner
Therapists work with a wide array of patients and some of these include the mentally, developmentally, physically and even emotionally challenged. The main duty of a therapist is to help improve the life of his or her patients. This means that they engage in varioustasks including developing and maintaining a healthy environment for the patients. There are various types of therapists as you will learn and we will try as best as we can to give you information on all the different therapy professions.
One thing that all therapists have in common is that they are responsible for patients who have injuries, disabilities and illnesses that require therapeutic activities. A therapist’s main job is to help patients recover and ultimately improve their skills so as to enjoy a better quality of life. Some of the duties of a therapist include: observing the patient and reviewing their medical history. This is done so as to ascertain the best form of treatment. The therapist will then establish a treatment plan based on the patients needs and the condition as well. This treatment plan will have a list of goals to be achieved and a layout of activities that the patient will have to undertake in order to regain some of their natural skills. Since they deal with various types of conditions, their treatment plans vary even with patients sharing a condition. This is because treatment is planned based on a number of reasons and could vary depending on age, gender and even factors such as weight. For example, an older person who is suffering from poor memory will be given suitable activities to help regain some form of memory use while an autistic child will be given activities that are suitable to their condition. The exercises given are mainly to relieve pain and regain lost function.The exercises are to ultimately enhance the patient’s ability and this includes giving arthritis patients exercises such as joint stretches which are not the most comfortable but all the same essential.
A therapist can work in different environments and this includes, at home, private office, hospitals and even in ambulatory centers. Their job is not just restricted to working with the patient but their family as well and this is important because these are the people who spend the most time with the patient. They therefore educate the family on how to accommodate and provide care for the patient and even recommend use of special equipment such as eating aides and wheelchairs. The therapist therefore educatesthe patient and the family on how to use the equipment and ultimately become independent.
If you are interested in becoming a therapist, you need to find out what programs are being provided in your area of specialization. Most areas of therapy will require that you have a bachelor’s degree as well as specific coursework in physiology and biology. A good example is occupational therapy. In this field, you must have a master’s degree and they also must be licensed. There are schools which have dual degree programs and you can earn your bachelor’s and master’s degree after 5 years. Both degrees will require that you acquire practical training and that is provided through supervised fieldwork.
Important qualities you need to have in this profession include: compassion, listening skills, good communication, interpersonal skills and patience as well. Different types of therapists are certified by different bodies and the National Board for Certification ofOccupationalTherapistsis responsible for occupational therapists certification. With this certification you can bear the title, OTR or Occupational Therapist Registered.
Therapist Average Salary
The salary of a therapist currently stands at $83,000. A lot of factorsinfluence the salary of a therapist and these include experience, area of specialization, location, industry of employment and others.
Therapist Salary Factors and Influences
As was mentioned there are various factors that affect the salary for a therapist. At this point we will give you just some of these factors.
We will first begin with the industry of employment and as mentioned earlier therapists can work in various settings. The best paying industry for therapists is home health care and this sector employs 9,590 therapists who earn an average of $86,850. As you can see, that is more than the national average. Nursing care facilities are also good employers and take about 9,970 therapists who earn $83,180. Schools employ about 14,000 therapists and their annual average pay is $68,000.
Location also affects the average therapist salary and the best paying cities include: Elizabethtown, KY with an average salary of $98,000, Las Vegas, NV with $97,450 and Beaumont, TX where therapists take home an average of $93,240.
Therapist Salary Compared To Related Fields
How competitive is the average salary of a therapist compared to other similar professions? Find out below.
Average Salary of an Athletic Trainer: $43,000
Average Salary of a Registered Nurse: $77,000
Average Salary of a Paramedic: $54,000
Average Salary of a Personal Care Aide: $26,000
Therapist Salary by State
Above we mentioned some of the best paying cities for a therapist to work in. Now we give you information on how much you can expect to earn as a therapist in the following states.
Therapist Salary in Nevada: $77,000
Therapist Salary in New Jersey: $88,000
Therapist Salary in Texas: $79,000
Therapist Salary in District of Columbia: $95,000
Therapist Salary Illinois: $88,000
Therapist Salary in California: $83,000
Therapist Salary in Florida: $79,000
Therapist Salary in Arkansas: $82,000
Therapist Salary in Louisiana: $70,000
Therapist Salary in Alabama: $85,000
Therapist Salary in Utah: $73,000
Therapist Salary in New York: $98,000
Therapist Types of Salaries
As you already know, there are various types of therapists. If you would like to become a therapist you need to decide on an area of specialization. Perhaps the following information will help you determine which area of this vast field is best suited for you.
Massage Therapist: Average Salary: $48,000
A massage therapist is often who is called upon when patients need to reduce their stress levels, relax or control pain. These therapists promote relaxation by performing a variety of tasks without the need for medication. Alternate names used to describe them are masseuse and masseur and they are found in healthcare, recreational and beauty industries as well.
Physical Therapist: Average Salary: $84,000
Physical therapists are responsible for evaluating and assessing the patient’s physical needs so as to provide therapy treatment plans. They work on tow with physicians and case managers to ensure that the patient gets the best care.
Occupational Therapist: Average Salary: $82,000
Occupational therapists are responsible for planning and conducting occupational therapy programs for their patients. They mainly help develop and maintain a patient’s ability to perform daily tasks and use adaptive equipment in the process. They are often familiar with concepts and standard practices various medical fields.
Respiratory Therapist: Average Salary: $64,000
Respiratory therapists assist in pulmonary disorder treatment. They are called upon to diagnose and treat disorders affecting the lungs and other respiratory system organs and usually collect and analyze breath specimens, blood, carbon dioxide, sputum and other gasses. They also measure lung capacity to determine whether or not a patient has impaired function.
Enterostomal Therapist: Average Salary: $70,000
Enterostomal therapists care for patients who have incontinence, stomas, tissue trauma and fistulas amongst other conditions. They assess and plan for care based on the patient’s condition and hospital policies. These therapists are usually registered nurses.
Recreational Therapist: Average Salary: $62,000
Recreational therapists are medically approved to plan and coordinate recreational programs for patients. They advocate for physical activities and must be licensed by the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Specialists. They work with and report to physicians.
History of Therapy
The history of therapy in the US is diverse. Occupational therapy can be dated back to 1917 when the first professional associate for occupational therapy was formed. Six members attended the first National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy meeting on March 15, 1918 in New York. These six played a crucial role in highlighting the role of therapy in healthcare. The history is different when it comes to physical therapy and this can be dated back to more than a century ago in 1894 when the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy was formed by nurses in England. The history of therapy as you can see is quite variedand this is largely due to the various areas of therapy which obviously come with their individual history. That said, therapy is now an integral part of medicine and therapists are considered as medical practitioners.
Therapist Salary Outlook – Conclusion
Therapists have a demanding career and their duties clearly indicate this. The good news is that they are well compensated andthe average salary for a therapist is $83,000. It is safe to say that their job outlook looks great and this is because there are various many fields of practice in this profession. Their services are much sought after and the healthcare sector cannot do without therapy. According to BLS, occupational therapists are expected to increase by 33% from 2010 to 2020 and this just goes to show you the massive growth potential in the profession. Whether you choose to get into occupational therapy, respiratory or recreational therapy, you are getting into a good field of employment. The job prospects look great and you can even expect to enjoy an even better therapist average salary in the near future.