Best Alternative Jobs for a Physical Therapist?

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Physical therapists play a vital role in helping people recover from injuries and manage chronic conditions by providing rehabilitation and therapeutic exercises. If you are a physical therapist who is considering a change, there are many alternative jobs that may be a good fit for your skills and interests.

Some alternative jobs for physical therapists include working as a healthcare consultant, a healthcare administrator, or a healthcare data analyst. Physical therapists with an interest in research may choose to work as a clinical research coordinator or a rehabilitation specialist.

Those with a passion for writing or teaching may find success as a healthcare journalist or a medical writer. Physical therapists who enjoy working with children may consider becoming a school nurse or a pediatric physical therapist.

No matter what alternative career path you choose, your training and experience as a physical therapist will likely be valuable assets. Many of these jobs require a strong understanding of healthcare and the ability to communicate effectively with patients and colleagues.

With the right training and experience, you can use your background as a physical therapist to pursue a wide range of exciting and fulfilling career opportunities.

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Athletic trainer

Athletic trainers and physical therapists both work in the field of healthcare and have many overlapping responsibilities, but there are some key differences that may make athletic training a good alternative career path for a physical therapist.

One of the main differences is the setting in which these professionals work. Athletic trainers typically work in sports or fitness settings, whereas physical therapists may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. This can be a significant difference for those who are interested in a career that focuses on sports and athletic performance.

Another difference is the focus of treatment. Athletic trainers often work with athletes to prevent injuries and improve performance, whereas physical therapists focus on helping patients recover from injuries or surgeries and improve their overall physical function.

This can be a good fit for those who are interested in working with athletes or those who want to focus more on injury prevention and performance enhancement.

Rehabilitation counselor

Being a rehabilitation counselor can be a good alternative job for a physical therapist for several reasons.

First, rehabilitation counselors and physical therapists both work with individuals who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, helping them to improve their physical function and quality of life.

However, rehabilitation counselors may focus more on the psychological and social aspects of rehabilitation, while physical therapists focus more on the physical aspects. This can be appealing to physical therapists who want to expand their skillset and work with a more holistic approach to rehabilitation.

Second, rehabilitation counselors often work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and community organizations. This can provide physical therapists with more flexibility and opportunities to work in different environments.

Third, rehabilitation counselors may have more flexibility in their schedule and workload compared to physical therapists. Physical therapists often work long hours and may have a high physical demand due to the nature of their work, while rehabilitation counselors may have a more regular schedule and a lower physical demand.

Massage therapist

Being a massage therapist can be a good alternative job for a physical therapist for a number of reasons. First and foremost, massage therapy can be a less physically demanding career for those who are interested in the physical therapy field but may not be able to handle the physical demands of the job on a daily basis.

Massage therapists work with clients to provide relaxation and therapeutic massage, and the work can be performed in a variety of settings, such as spas, clinics, and hospitals.

In addition to being less physically demanding, massage therapy can also provide a flexible schedule for those who may prefer to work part-time or on a contract basis. Many massage therapists are self-employed, which allows them to set their own hours and work with clients at their convenience.

Personal trainer

Being a personal trainer can be a good alternative job for a physical therapist for several reasons. First, personal trainers can work with clients on a one-on-one basis, just like physical therapists do. This allows them to focus on the specific needs and goals of each individual rather than working with a group of clients at once.

Second, personal trainers can work in a variety of settings, including gyms, studios, and even clients’ homes. This gives them the flexibility to work in a setting that is most convenient for their clients and meets their needs.

Third, personal trainers can work with clients of all ages and fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. This allows them to tailor their workouts to the specific needs and goals of each client, just like physical therapists do.

Finally, personal trainers can help their clients prevent injuries and improve their overall health and well-being. By working with clients to develop safe and effective exercise programs, personal trainers can help to prevent common injuries such as strains and sprains and can also help their clients improve their cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility.


Being a chiropractor can be a good alternative job for a physical therapist for a number of reasons.

First, chiropractors and physical therapists both work with patients to improve their physical health and well-being. However, chiropractors focus specifically on the musculoskeletal system, while physical therapists may work with a wider range of conditions and injuries. This focus on the musculoskeletal system can allow chiropractors to develop expertise in this area and offer a unique perspective on treatment.

Second, chiropractors and physical therapists often work in similar settings, such as private practices, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. However, chiropractors may also have the option to open their own practice, which can provide greater autonomy and control over their work environment.

Third, both chiropractors and physical therapists may have the opportunity to work with a diverse patient population and help individuals of all ages and backgrounds. However, chiropractors may have a particular focus on treating patients with spinal or back issues, which can be a rewarding area of practice for those interested in this type of work.

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In conclusion, there are many alternative career paths available for physical therapists beyond traditional clinical work. From education and research to consulting and administration, there are a variety of options that allow physical therapists to utilize their skills and expertise in new and exciting ways.

It is important to carefully consider your personal interests, strengths, and career goals when choosing an alternative job as a physical therapist, as well as the specific requirements and qualifications of the role.

Having a well-written resume is crucial for any job search, including for alternative physical therapist jobs. A resume allows you to showcase your education, experience, and skills to potential employers and gives them a snapshot of your professional background.

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