Have you ever broken a bone or had an injury that caused a joint to freeze up? If so, chances are your doctor prescribed some physical therapy at some point in your recovery. The saying “no pain, no gain” is ever so true when a physical therapist is pushing you to your limits, however, for a proper and speedy recovery, their help is tremendously appreciated.

Physical therapists who presently have a license to practice must now, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, hold a doctorate degree by the year 2020. If your previous education is lacking the doctoral accolade, you may be interested in participating in an online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy (tDPT) program to comply with the new occupational guidelines. Once established with the proper credentials, what sort of career and salary can you expect? Let’s consider a few options.

The most obvious choice for you would be to continue in your practice as a licensed physical therapist. The job growth outlook for a physical therapist is expected to rise by 15% between now and 2032, therefore, providing job security. Physical therapists help people of all ages and with all sorts of limited abilities, whether from an age-related illness or an injury. In this capacity, a physical therapist can earn between $97,720 to upwards of $128,830 per year, depending on experience.

Why is there such a need for physical therapy? People of today are living longer, however, although active, they are still susceptible to many illnesses such as, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Those with mobility issues are susceptible to falls and other injuries related to chronic diseases. A physical therapist is tasked with getting their patient’s movement back through rehabilitation and future accident prevention.

But, what else can you do with your online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy degree? Would you like to specialize in a particular area? Do you enjoy working with children? If so, perhaps a career as a pediatric physical therapist is for you. In this position, you can work with children of all ages; any age from infancy to adolescent teens. Treatment can help children with physical handicaps or heal from injuries or developmental issues. The average salary for a pediatric physical therapist can range from between $70,537 to $88,963 annually, however, the average is $82,338 per year.

On the other end of the spectrum, do you enjoy working with the elderly? As a geriatric physical therapist, you will work with aging patients as they deal with health problems such as strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis or broken bones from a fall. A physical therapist, in this capacity, usually works within a nursing home or outpatient setting. Some companies hire geriatric physical therapists to do home visits, as well. The average salary for this position ranges from between $35,500 to $153,500 annually, with an average of $97,174 per year.

Would you like to focus your attention on sports-related injuries? As a sports physical therapist, you will be responsible for rehabilitating athletes who have been injured while playing sports. Depending on your job description, you may work with professional players, high school or semi-pro athletes, as well as, the average dad who thinks he is Michael Jordan… but proves he is not! The average pay for a sports physical therapist is $87,674 annually.

There are other specializations in physical therapy for you to consider, as well. Other concentrations may include areas of study in women’s health, cardiopulmonary, neurologic, clinical-electrophysiologic and orthopedics. In addition, related careers include an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or a career as a chiropractor.

We have compiled a list of our choices for the Best Online Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree Programs.