Types of Therapy Jobs


The medical field offers several types of therapy jobs. From physical therapy to recreational therapy, therapists specialize to better the lives of their patients. Check with insurance providers to see what types of therapy are covered.

Physical Therapy

It’s common to visit a physical therapist after surgeries, often several times a week. Physical therapists use exercises to strengthen and stretch muscles. They formulate a plan to increase the patient's physical abilities. A physical therapist may have a specialized area, like sports medicine or pediatrics. A physical therapist needs at least a master's degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for physical therapists to increase by 27 percent from 2006 through 2016. Salaries range from $65,150 to $70,920.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapists use pressure to relieve muscle tension and aches. More than 80 types of massages exists; some are targeted for medical purposes while others promote relaxation. Massage therapists spread out appointments to prevent them from developing back strain or a hand injury. Some states require passing the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and attending training. This certification lasts for four years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that most massage therapists are self-employed and that the demand for massage therapists should increase by 20 percent from 2006 to 2016. Wages range from $7.48 an hour to $33.83 an hour.

Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists help those with breathing problems. Respiratory therapists often work with a doctor. They test the blood pH level and lung capacity. Treatment is done with oxygen, medications and ventilators. Respiratory therapists also drain mucus from the lungs and train patients how to use at-home treatments. An associate’s degree is required, along with licensing and CPR training. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand to increase by 19 percent from 2006 through 2016. Salaries range from $47,420 to $64,190.

Radiation Therapists

Radiation therapists treat cancer by operating radiation machines. A radiation therapist works with doctors to locate a tumor's location. Radiation therapists support cancer patients with encouragement. They have to follow safety precautions closely to avoid over-exposure to radiation. An associate’s degree is needed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 25 percent from 2006 through 2016. Salaries range from $44,000 to $92,110.

Recreational Therapists

Recreational therapists help patients regain motor skills and social skills. Recreational therapy also increases self-confidence and self-esteem. Through outings, patients are reintroduced to living on their own or interacting in public. Accident and disability victims are candidates for recreational therapy. A bachelor’s degree is needed. The BLS predicts a 4 percent rise in jobs from 2006 through 2016. Salaries range from $26,780 to $55,530.

Psychological Therapists

Psychologists provide therapy in the mental-health field, working in hospitals, clinics, counseling centers, schools, the workplace and in group of private practice. They sometimes work evening and weekend hours to accommodate clients' work schedules. Practitioners generally need a doctorate degree and varying state licensing or certification. The BLS expects employment to grow 15 percent from 2006 through 2016. Salaries range from $35,000 to about $140,000 for the top 10 percent of industrial-organizational psychologists.

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