Sports Medicine Therapist Salary

And other sporting horses

Physical therapists (PTs) support the rehabilitation of patients with injuries or chronic conditions, and in the sports specialty, PTs concentrate on providing therapeutic services to those with athletics-related injuries or conditions, although they typically work with non-athletes as well. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of pursuing a sports physical therapy career.

Pros of a Sports Physical Therapist Career
High salary (2013 mean annual wage for PTs was about $82, 000)*
Good job prospects for physical therapists (36% job growth for 2012-2022)*
Multiple employment options (medical facilities, schools, sports/athletic facilities, self-employment)**
High rate of job satisfaction (about 78% of PTs reported being very satisfied with their careers in 2007)***
Cons of a Sports Physical Therapist Career
Extensive education/training (6-7 years of schooling plus optional sports PT residency)*
Could be difficult to land a job working only with athletes****
Some states require PTs to participate in continuing education to maintain licensure*
Requires physical stamina and ability to work with difficult patients*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **American Physical Therapy Association, ***National Opinion Research Center, ****Sports Physical Therapy Section of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Job Description

When people have injuries or conditions that affect their ability to move, walk or otherwise function physically, they often turn to PTs for treatment. PTs use exercises, special equipment and hands-on therapies like massage to help patients find relief. The goal is to reduce pain while increasing physical ability. A sports PT focuses on using these methods to treat athletes and other individuals who are physically active. In addition to treating patients, sports PTs help them prevent injuries - an important job considering athletes' need to stay active in their sport. These specialists also assess performance so that a suitable training program can be developed.

The job of a sports physical therapist can be rewarding, but it comes with challenges as well. You'll be responsible for moving injured patients and administering hands-on therapies, both of which can be physically taxing. From time to time, you'll also have to work with individuals who are in pain or frustrated with their condition.

Salary and Career Prospects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for PTs in May 2013 was around $82, 000, which was about $36, 000 higher than the mean annual earnings across all occupations. Physical therapy also offers excellent job prospects, with a projected 36% increase in the number of positions available between 2012 and 2022. Opportunities are expected to be good across all specialties, including sports physical therapy. That said, it can be difficult to land a job working solely with athletes. According to the Sports Physical Therapy Section (SPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the typical sports PT specialist only spends about 40% of his or her time working with patients who have sports-related injuries.

It's Interesting

  • The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) promotes sports medicine education, research, communication, and fellowship and includes national and international orthopaedic sports medicine leaders. The Society works closely with many other sports medicine specialists, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, family...

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