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  • Report Predicts Coming PT, PTA Shortage in US

    A combination of a dip in the "natural rate of unemployment" and changed labor force numbers associated with the aging of the baby boomer population will likely place physical therapy among the professions experiencing a significant labor shortage over the next decade, according to a new study from The Conference Board.

    In its report "From Not Enough Jobs to Not Enough Workers," the corporate research organization analyzes likely labor market trends in North America, Europe, and Asia and finds that the recent global recession has only "postponed" the coming changes through lingering high unemployment rates. Once those rates begin to drop—as they already have in Canada and Germany—the demographic shift in the workforce will begin to take hold and create relatively rapid labor shortages in a majority of the 464 occupations studied in the report.

    According to a press release from the Conference Board, the US will likely see labor shortages in 3 broad areas: health-related occupations, skilled labor, and jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Among the needed health occupations, the report specifically cites physical therapy and occupational therapy as potential areas of labor shortage, with overall need heightened by a greater demand for health care in general among an aging population. The report received coverage from the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek.

    Most of APTA's projections continue to show physical therapy as a growing profession, with projected unmet demand ranging from 13,638 to 27,820 physical therapist (PT) full-time equivalents (FTEs) over the next 5 years depending on the attrition rate of PTs over time. The total number of licensed PTs is projected to rise from about 176,000 to between 203,000 and 232,000 by 2020. The supply and demand data are part of a suite of resources on the physical therapy workforce available on APTA's website.

    Keep up with APTA's work to support PTs and PTAs in the labor market: check out the association's Workforce Education and Legislation webpage.


    • I have a very hard time believing this. I am a licensed PTA in N.E. Ohio and we a flooded with graduates that cannot find jobs.

      Posted by Stephanie DeFranco on 9/3/2014 9:51 PM

    • What other job opportunities or related jobs ate equivalent to pta that I could look into instead of unemployment?

      Posted by Deanna Schulte on 9/3/2014 10:07 PM

    • It's been slow here in Louisiana also and we just graduated another class of PTA 's.

      Posted by Diana Meredith on 9/4/2014 8:18 AM

    • I live in N.E Ohio and found myself unemployed as a L.P.T.A. I agree with the above article. I graduated from Stark State in 1993 and I have witnessed a lot of changes in the world of therapy. Another change is coming, so I found myself returning to college to earn my Bachelor's of Science in Healthcare Management. In the meantime I would suggest that the home health workforce could use some help. Google your local home health care services to find a job, you my have to work for 3 companies at a time. If you are adaptable, kind, organized and self-motivated you can make the job your own. Good Luck and keep your chin up, things will get better by 2020.

      Posted by JoAnn Kontur on 9/4/2014 12:34 PM

    • The article does not include PTA's which doesn't surprise me. Who is to say what is going to happen in the next 10 yrs. it gets harder and harder for PTA' s to find work.

      Posted by Trish on 9/4/2014 2:27 PM

    • Perhaps this is an ideal time for some of the experienced PTA's to further their academic achievements ?

      Posted by Lewis Grove on 9/4/2014 9:50 PM

    • There are plenty of jobs here in mass .... No schools here for PTA ...

      Posted by Stephanie m on 9/3/2015 8:34 PM

    • I have BA in history and a teaching certificate. Jobs are few and far between in high schools, so I have decided to get an AAS as a PTA Am I making a mistake?

      Posted by Dee Williams on 10/23/2015 12:11 PM

    • We are very slow here in my area of Virginia. I have 4 PRN jobs and a full time job and I'm still not working 5 days a week. I would like to go back to school, but at this time I still have loans from my previous education.

      Posted by James Smith on 11/21/2015 8:36 PM

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