Types of Therapy Jobs

Physical therapists help people recover from injuries.
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Physical therapist was listed as the eighth best job in America in 2012, according to "CNNMoney." They're not the only therapists to make the list, as these professionals likely get satisfaction out of helping others. They also make above-average incomes. If you want to work in one of the therapy careers, you must have empathy, compassion and excellent interpersonal skills. A degree in your specialty is also required, as well as a state license.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists help clients recover from injuries to their backs, shoulders, knees and necks. Your main responsibility in this profession is to help people work through pain and increase mobility in their muscles and joints. To accomplish this, you may stretch their limbs and show them exercises they can perform at home. Physical therapists also consult with doctors on various treatments. Most physical therapists have either masters' or doctorate degrees in physical therapy. Certification is also required in your area of specialty, such as pediatrics or sports physical therapy. These professionals earned average annual salaries of $79,830 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And jobs are expected to increase 39 percent between 2010 and 2020, versus a 14 percent national average, making this a viable career option for you.

Respiratory Therapist

A respiratory therapist helps people with cardiopulmonary problems, which include lung conditions due to asthma, cystic fibrosis or heart conditions. Part of your duties may include measuring patients' lung capacity with various diagnostic tests. You also show patients how to use inhalers and nebulizers, which ease their breathing, and monitor their progress. Respiratory therapists usually have associates' or bachelors' degrees in respiratory therapy. Certification is optional but it can increase your number of employment opportunities. These professionals earned average salaries of $56,250 per year as of May 2011, according to the BLS. This career looks promising, as the BLS expects available jobs for respiratory therapists to increase by 28 percent in the next decade.

Marriage and Family Therapist

As a marriage and family therapist, you help diagnose and treat people and family members with emotional and mental disorders. These disorders can range from depression and anxiety to serious emotional issues. Key factors in treatment are getting people to discuss their problems and advising them how to cope with them. During this process, you may work closely with psychiatrists and social workers to better prepare patients for their futures. You need a master's degree in counseling or marriage and family therapy to work in this field. State licenses are required but not any special certifications. Two years of supervised clinical experience are required for the license. Marriage and family therapists earned average annual salaries of $48,710 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. Employment opportunities are expected to increase by 41 percent in the next decade.

Speech Therapist

Speech therapists evaluate children and adults for speech and language problems. Some of these conditions may be congenital, such as cleft palates. If you work in this field, you may evaluate clients by putting them through various reading and vocal exercises. You may also use standardized tests to determine the severity of speech problems. These tests are then used as starting points for treatments. For example, you may help clients improve their speech by showing them how to strengthen muscles used in swallowing. Speech pathologists usually earn masters' degrees in speech-language pathology. These professionals are then required to become certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The U.S. has 253 accredited colleges and universities with speech-pathology masters' programs, according to the BLS. As of May 2011, these professionals earned average annual salaries of $72,000. This career should have an above average growth rate of 23 percent in the coming decade.

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