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Recession-Proof Your Career: High Job Growth Expected for Rehab Therapists

Despite mass company layoffs, job prospects for rehabilitation therapists remain strong. The shortage of health professionals is projected to increase demand for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and therapy assistants up to 27 percent.

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa., Feb 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Workers in the rehabilitation therapy industry continue to experience low rates of unemployment and high demand, particularly in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

Allied Health Research Institute (AHRI), an academic and industry partnership committed to increasing the number of qualified allied health professionals, projects a shortage of 1.5 to 3 million workers by the year 2020. Allied health workers are in clinical healthcare professions other than medicine and nursing and include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and therapy assistants. As the U.S. population continues to age, the demand for healthcare services provided by these professionals is also likely to rise.

Dan Hirschfeld, president of Genesis Rehab Services and AHRI board member, said this shortage translates to an advantage for those looking for recession-proof jobs.

"In the current economy, job security is a motivating factor for many professionals looking to enter the workforce or change fields. Employers are in tight competition for the same clinicians. I don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future," Hirschfeld said.

Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., validates these findings in his newly-released book, "150 Best Recession-Proof Jobs" (JIST, 2008). The rehabilitation therapy industry ranked well overall, including Physical Therapist (6), Occupational Therapist (18), Physical Therapy Assistant (44), Speech-Language Pathologist (54), and Occupational Therapy Assistant (72).

Rehabilitation therapists earn an average salary of $60,000 to $70,000. Therapists are required to obtain a master's degree in order to practice, in addition to maintaining a professional license and/or credential.

Therapy assistants, after receiving an associate's degree and professional license, earn an average salary of $42,000.

More than 300 colleges and universities offer programs in the therapy disciplines, and job retraining can take as little as 18 months. The shortage of rehabilitation therapists has prompted many companies to offer educational benefits and student scholarships to attract new clinicians.

Hirschfeld adds, "In addition to job security, the personal rewards a therapy professional receives from helping someone gain lost abilities is virtually priceless."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers occupational outlooks and job descriptions for rehabilitation therapists.

About Genesis Rehab Services

Genesis Rehab Services (GRS) is a nationally recognized leader in the provision of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology services. GRS serves more than 800 sites in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Through a team of more than 8,000 highly-trained therapists, GRS touches the lives of patients in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics and hospital settings. For more information, visit

    Amy Chmar
    (410) 363-4576

    Jeanne Moore
    (410) 562-5191

SOURCE Genesis Rehab Services
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