21 Alternative Jobs For Physical Therapists (Plus Salaries)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 December 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A physical therapist is a professional helping individuals move parts of their body to improve mobility and manage illnesses and health conditions. If you have earned your degree or are looking for a career change from a physical therapist, there are several related career paths where you can apply your knowledge and skill set. Learning about the various roles to pursue may help you find the right fit for your career goals and passions. In this article, we discuss what physical therapy is, including 21 alternative jobs for physical therapists with the salaries and primary duties for you to explore.

What Is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is within the health care industry and it is a treatment plan to help individuals with their mobility. Physical therapists perform physical therapy with their patients to help them treat their medical conditions or restore their mobility after recovering from surgery or other related health conditions. These professionals may also perform physical therapy on patients to help prevent them from losing their mobility or injuring themselves, such as individuals who play sports.

Additionally, these professionals can perform exams on the patients to provide them with a comprehensive treatment plan to follow at the physical therapy facility or exercises they can perform at home between sessions. As the sessions progress, physical therapists can monitor and track the patient's progress to determine how they are responding to the therapy and adjust the exercises as needed. Often, professionals working in this field have earned their bachelor's degree in physiotherapy.

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11 Alternative Jobs For Physical Therapists

Here is a list of 11 alternative jobs for physical therapists where you may use your transferrable skills from physical therapy:

1. Respiratory Therapist

National average salary: ₹2,80,101 per year

Primary duties: Respiratory therapists are professionals who help individuals with lung diseases or other respiratory issues, such as breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders. They examine patients, consult with physicians to create treatment plans, perform diagnostic tests and treat patients using various methods. Additionally, these professionals monitor the oxygen intake of their patients, manage ventilators and administer medications to the patients.

Related: 16 Types Of Jobs In A Hospital (With Responsibilities)

2. Physical Therapy Aide

National average salary: ₹3,29,948 per year

Primary duties: Physical therapy aides are professionals who assist physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. They help with patient intake, prepare equipment, prepare hot and cold packs to apply to patients, transport patients, observe them and record their responses and overall progress. Some of their other primary duties include performing administrative functions, such as answering phones, scheduling sessions and directing patients' calls. They can also wash linens between clients and help patients navigate from one therapy area to the next during their sessions. Additionally, they can sanitise the physical therapy equipment after each client.

Related: 12 Types Of Occupational Therapist Jobs (Salary And Skills)

3. Exercise Physiologist

National average salary: ₹2,76,656 per year

Primary duties: Exercise physiologists are professionals who use physical activity to improve their patient's overall health. They often work with patients who have cardiovascular or pulmonary issues. Exercise physiologists review a patient's medical history and perform tests to identify their oxygen levels, blood pressure and overall fitness. They then use their findings to create tailored exercise plans for each patient and adjust the strategies required by the patient's needs and abilities.

Related: 10 Non-Athletic Careers In Sports (With Duties And Salaries)

4. Personal Trainer

National average salary: ₹2,44,542 per year

Primary duties: Personal trainers are professionals who create fitness programmes for their clients. They show exercises and routines and help their clients perform these exercises in a way that minimises injury and promotes fitness. Personal trainers also change their exercises to meet their client's needs, track their client's progress and provide their clients with resources to help with their overall fitness and health.

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5. Nutritionist

National average salary: ₹2,95,349 per year

Primary duties: Nutritionists are professionals who use food to promote health and manage various diseases. They determine their client's nutritional needs, counsel them on nutrition issues and educate them on healthier eating habits. Nutritionists also create meal plans for their patients, considering their client's preferences and financial budgets. Some of their other primary duties may include helping patients understand foods that may cause allergies or sicknesses and finding substitutes to help them feel better.

Related: How To Become A Nutritionist: Duties, Salary And Skills

6. Massage Therapist

National average salary: ₹3,90,160 per year

Primary duties: Massage therapists are professionals who treat their clients with deep tissue or joint massages to enhance their overall well-being. They talk to their clients about their related history and previous injuries to better serve them. They massage muscles and sore areas and use oils and ointments to penetrate muscles and joints to provide muscle relief. Massage therapists also help increase circulation to facilitate healing and relaxation. For example, if a massage therapist has a sports player as a client, their sessions may focus on preventing injuries, healing and relaxing their muscles to improve their performance.

Related: 20 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well

7. Chiropractor

National average salary: ₹4,89,659 per year

Primary duties: Chiropractors are professionals who adjust a patient's spine or other body elements to ease pain, increase blood flow and improve mobility. Professionals can help patients with their nervous and musculoskeletal systems, depending on the patient's needs. They evaluate their patients' conditions via a physical examination, analyse their posture, spine and reflexes and use technology, such as X-rays, to help detect the issue. Chiropractors also use spinal adjustments to correct challenges, such as spine misalignments.

8. Audiologist

National average salary: ₹3,80,018 per year

Primary duties: Audiologists are professionals who help patients manage complications from disorders or loss of function. Some of their patients include those with hearing loss or balance problems. They identify their patient's issues, determine the cause and provide them with the right treatment plans. Audiologists also perform diagnostic measures, like patient exams and hearing tests. Using the results from these tests, they develop a treatment plan.

Related: Audiologist Vs. ENT (With Definition, Duties And Salaries)

9. Occupational Therapist

National average salary: ₹2,82,501 per year

Primary duties: Occupational therapists are professionals who help individuals cope with their disabilities and improve their ability to complete their daily tasks and functions. They may instruct their clients on how to use crutches and casts. Occupational therapists evaluate their client's injuries and create a treatment plan to help them get back to work and their everyday activities. If their client works, they may instruct their client's manager on their client's rights and needs as a disabled employee. They may also recommend eating aids or devices to help their patients live more comfortably with their disabilities.

Related: Occupational Therapist Skills: Definition And Examples

10. Physician Assistant

National average salary: ₹3,07,794 per year

Primary duties: Physician assistants are professionals who diagnose illnesses, create treatment plans, prescribe medications and perform patient exams. They also assist with surgeries, order and interpret laboratory tests, interview patients and recommend lifestyle changes to improve a patient's health. During their daily tasks, they can visit each of their patients to see how they are feeling, how they are responding to their treatment and how their vitals are to ensure their health is stabilising or positively progressing.

Related: What Does A Physician Assistant Do? (With Salary And Duties)

11. Speech-Language Pathologist

National average salary: ₹3,61,038 per year

Primary duties: Speech-language pathologists help patients with communication or swallowing disorders. Working with children and adults, they diagnose, treat and prevent these disorders. They create treatment and therapy plans to meet each individual's needs and perform screenings to identify these voice or speech disorders. For example, how they may treat an adult or child with a specific speech challenge is to recommend changing their diet or prescribing a device to help them with their speech challenge. Some of their other duties can include creating lesson plans appealing to their child clients to target their challenging areas while engaging the child.

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10 Additional Alternative Jobs For Physical Therapists

Here is a list for you to consider of additional alternative careers for this role:

  1. Physical therapy entrepreneur

  2. Anesthesiologist

  3. Athletic manager

  4. Health care consultant

  5. Rehabilitation specialist

  6. Rehabilitation assistant

  7. Utilisation review nurse

  8. Medical writer

  9. Physical therapy teacher

  10. Recreation therapist

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location.

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