Finding your first job as a new Physical or Occupational Therapist may be challenging for the following reasons:
Large numbers of therapists graduate at the same time of year, flooding the job market; in addition therapist new graduates have to compete for a limited number of entry-level positions. Many physical, occupational, and speech therapist job openings require a certain number of years of experience or recruit for a specialty position that requires advanced training.
- Inexperience increases indecision.
However, with the US Department of Labor predicting a 19- 36% increase in demand for therapists by 2022, finding a job as a new graduate is not really that hard. The trick is finding the right job – a job that is a great fit for your location, skills, interests, and lifestyle preferences. Finding the right job requires making difficult decisions. Using a weighted decision-making chart can help you clarify the factors that you care about the most. As you consider your options, keep in mind the following tips for choosing your first job as a physical or occupational therapist.
An ideal first job for a new therapist graduate should have some of these components:
- Supportive Coworkers. A new grad therapist needs other team members who have time to answer questions.
- Variety. A setting with rotations or multiple settings enables you to keep your options open by gaining experience in as many areas as possible. Once you know where you want to focus, you can pursue a specialized setting.
- Access to Continuing Education. Therapy covers such a huge body of knowledge that that new grads will soon find out what skills and research they are lacking. Having access to continuing education via stipends or in-house seminars gives new graduates a means to pursue in-depth learning in an area where they want to become an expert.
- Potential for Promotion. One or two years is all you need to gain the experience necessary for more challenging positions. If your current staff position doesn’t have a challenge that you want to tackle, start looking! One of the blessings of your profession is the multitude of career options.
Although physical and occupational therapist jobs are plentiful, preparing a resume and interviewing may be time-consuming and nerve-wracking! For more in-depth help finding your first job, our New Grad Therapist Job Search Guide will help you research all your options.