Occupational, physical therapy are Missouri's fastest growing careers

1 year 4 days 2 hours ago Friday, February 17 2017 Feb 17, 2017 Friday, February 17, 2017 3:00:00 PM CST February 17, 2017 in News
By: Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A new report ranked the fastest growing jobs in Missouri for 2017, and occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy assistant were at the top.

Zippia uses data from the Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to figure out growth in all relevant occupations through 2024. Occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy jobs are growing at a rate of 42 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

"When we work with clients, we don't ask them what's the matter with you, we ask them what matters to you," said Crystal Gately, assistant department head for MU's occupational therapy department.

Gately said the field of occupational therapy is often looked over by people interested in health professions.

"It's usually through some type of career exploration or through a personal experience, either of themselves or with a family member, that they encounter occupational therapy," Gately said.

While occupational therapists require a graduate degree, their assistants need only an associates degree, which they can get from a community college partnered with the Missouri Health Professions Consortium.

"Occupational therapy assistants and physical therapy assistants are able to get out into the profession a little bit faster, and with a little bit less student loan debt. A lot of students are choosing that as their initial entry into the field," Gately said.

Though they require different degrees, occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists work closely together in the field.

"The only difference is the OTs are the ones that create the initial evaluation and intervention plan and oversee the entire treatment process. The OTA works under the direction of the OT," Gately said.

For two decades, MU graduated around 28 students per year. That number has risen to 33 for this spring.

One hundred to 125 qualified students apply for the program each year.

Gately said students are drawn to occupational therapy for the personal interaction between therapist and patient.

"It's really the holistic view that we take with our clients and the individual connections that we have with our clients that students are really attracted to," Gately said.

Students are also being drawn to the field because of the pay. The median salary for occupational therapy assistants is $54,000 per year. For occupational therapists, it's $80,000 per year.

Physical therapy has seen similar growth. At MU, where recent graduating classes have averaged 44 students, the projected number of graduates for the next three years is at 58.

Aaron Myers, a staff physical therapist as PEAK Sport and Spine, said there's a higher need for workers in the physical therapy profession because people are living longer.

"I think part of the reason it's booming is people are staying more active later in life, which is great. But that also leads to overuse injuries and can lead to traumatic injuries, broken bones and things like that," Myers said.

Myers, a graduate of MU, said he became a physical therapist as both a way to remain in the sports field and to give back to the community.

"I think there is a growing desire for people like myself that wanted to stay involved with athletics and helping people and kind of an interest in the health professions field," Myers said. "We want to help people feel better and do better and help them get back to the activities in their life that they're limited in now."

Zippia's report predicts that by 2024, there will be 1,360 occupational therapy assistant jobs and 2,720 physical therapy assistant jobs in Missouri.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The city is considering an additional audit of Columbia. Every year an audit takes place to make sure... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 7:32:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
CENTRALIA - A bill that would give the city of Centralia the opportunity to increase sales tax by a half... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 6:56:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri Senate has endorsed a bill that could boost Medicaid payments for nursing homes.... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 5:47:01 PM CST February 21, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Both the Missouri House and Senate have given initial approval to bills that would create... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 5:43:37 PM CST February 21, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Not all convicted Missouri inmates run from the law, but most run up large costs for the... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 5:09:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in Target 8
JEFFERSON CITY - Nearly six million vehicles cross structurally deficient bridges every day in the state of Missouri. That's according... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 4:21:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - For the first time, a Columbia competitive cheer squad will compete at The D2 Summit Championship at Disney... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 4:07:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri teens are twice as likely to use tanning beds than the average American teen according to... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 4:03:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLBanks) awarded Jefferson City $910,000 to Greenway Village, Inc.... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 3:37:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Back-and-forth winter temperatures have been known to cause headaches, but especially for drivers this year. Potholes are... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 3:36:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri is one of three states that has not outlawed texting while driving for drivers 21 and... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 3:34:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – A local business owner is facing charges of marijuana possession and distribution. Osama Nadir Yanis and his... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 3:05:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Pharmacy specialists outlined ways to address the opioid crisis as they spoke Wednesday in Columbia. Faculty members... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 2:57:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri House is leaning toward making it a felony to purposefully send explicit images without consent,... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 2:55:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia Regional Airport canceled two departures and delayed an arrival Wednesday because of the weather; but not the... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 2:19:00 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The dangers of opioids are forcing police to change the way they test drugs... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 1:39:08 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities say a man and woman from Missouri have admitted to selling male enhancement pills that... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 1:18:08 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield man has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a teenager with a mental disability... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, February 21 2018 Feb 21, 2018 Wednesday, February 21, 2018 12:49:46 PM CST February 21, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 30°
12am 30°
1am 30°
2am 30°
3am 31°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

10:35p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
1:00a
2018 Olympic Winter Games
3:30a
Paid Program
11:00p
Rules of Engagement
11:30p
The King of Queens
12:00a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
2018 Olympic Winter Games
7:00p
Riverdale
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld