Beyond considering costs, Maher also recommends prospective students get as much exposure
to the variety of settings in which physical therapists work in order to better understand
the scope of the profession before choosing to pursue physical therapy as a career.
“Physical therapy can be a physically demanding career depending on the setting, as
much of what we do requires a great degree of lifting, bending and demonstrating a
variety of exercises and tasks,” Maher explained.
She also encourages prospective students to make an inventory of their skills and
“Physical therapists work with individuals across the lifespan from those with life-changing
impairments to elite athletes,” Maher said. “Being empathic and compassionate are
essential, as is the ability to communicate effectively with individuals of all ages
The ability to solve problems, think critically and self-reflect are also essential
for success as a PT student and as a physical therapist, she added.
Once a prospective student has determined if a career in physical therapy would be
a good fit for their skills and interests, assessing salary can be a next step in
the decision-making process.