Physical Therapists

AUTOMATION RISK
CALCULATED
0.0%
risk level
POLLING
19.8%
Based on 579 votes
LABOR DEMAND
GROWTH
16.9%
by year 2032
WAGES
$97,720
or $46.98 per hour
Volume
229,740
as of 2022
SUMMARY
JOB SCORE
9.0/10

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Automation risk

0.0% (Minimal Risk)

Minimal Risk (0-20%): Occupations in this category have a low probability of being automated, as they typically demand complex problem-solving, creativity, strong interpersonal skills, and a high degree of manual dexterity. These jobs often involve intricate hand movements and precise coordination, making it difficult for machines to replicate the required tasks.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some very important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Assisting and Caring for Others

  • Social Perceptiveness

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Finger Dexterity

  • Manual Dexterity

  • Negotiation

  • Originality

  • Persuasion

User poll

19.8% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted there's a minimal chance this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 0.0% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Physical Therapists will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?






Sentiment

The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)

Growth

Very fast growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Physical Therapists' job openings is expected to rise 16.9% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.

Wages

Very high paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Physical Therapists' was $97,720, or $46 per hour

'Physical Therapists' were paid 111.0% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Volume

Greater range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 229,740 people employed as 'Physical Therapists' within the United States.

This represents around 0.16% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 643 people are employed as 'Physical Therapists'.

Job description

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

SOC Code: 29-1123.00

Resources

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Comments

Leave a comment

(No chance) says
Physical therapists understand how the body feels manually and sensation wise in a way machines can't replicate.
Jan 05, 2024 at 06:56 AM
D Dourney (No chance) says
Hands on soft tissue mobilization to patient tolerance is that something AI can feel? Joint mobility with contract relax techniques is that something AI can be used for
Mar 20, 2023 at 11:30 AM
John B. (Low) says
This is interesting to think about. Short answer - I say no.

Long answer - while I agree with the previous commenters that 'Someone needs to be there', who is that someone? Is it just a PT Assistant and a chatbot that comes up with the plans and the assistant guides the exercises? You need to consider reduction in job scale (thus salary) here not just elimination.

I say no overall because the way I think about it is people will pay for this service (mainly the care/psychological aspect and not just the exercises that they could find on google already). I have been in this situation myself. This isn't a fast food restaurant where people just want their food and don't care how it is made. I think if the therapist is good at the care, patient management, psychology, and any additional 'experience' aspects in addition to knowing the technical stuff they will be fine.
Mar 02, 2023 at 04:00 PM
John (No chance) says
Yes, there are apps developed that provide exercise protocols. However, these exercise protocols are superficial. These treatment protocols aren't magic bullets that fit every single patient with the same diagnosis.

I am a physical therapist. We don't treat injuries based solely on reported impairments. We view each injury holistically. If AI can treat chronic pain patients better than us therapists, then that would be a nice day.

Plus, would you rather have a robot treating and instructing you to exercise? I don't think so. Physical therapists also face patients who are in their worst state. Imagine being treated by robots like Darth Vader. Yes, that might sound profitable for some hospitals, but ask any patient if they would like to be handled solely by robots.

We're not just patting your backs or asking you to lift some weights. We see you as more than just your back problem. We don't just zap or pat your backs.
Jan 21, 2023 at 10:12 AM
Jenis (Moderate) says
It would be physios doing the diagnosis and robots doing the techniques
Nov 10, 2022 at 02:39 AM
Nada wael (Low) says
Because it is a medical field that needs diagnostic skills, understanding and communication with the patient
Jul 16, 2022 at 01:05 AM
Physiotherapy Clinics Edmonton says
Robots are not new to the medical environment. They are used in a variety of ways, such as telepresence, surgical assistance, rehabilitation, medical transportation, sanitation, and disinfection, and dispensing prescriptions.
May 02, 2022 at 03:11 PM
Anonymous says
Frederick is right, physical therapists do more than just pat someone on the back a bunch. They also have to diagnose the problem. And the pat on the back is a really important procedure where that pat on the back does something special to the body to maybe recover or relieve some pain. The procedures they have to use in some instances can be very difficult.
Jan 07, 2021 at 01:35 PM
Pablo Santurbano (Low) says
I think that there is a small risk, because it is possible to develop an app with the best treatment protocols evidence based.

Furthermore, in most health problems that physios treats, exercise is the most recommended intervention. And many exercises can be done without a professional supervision. This scenario could allow a patient to download an app that facilitates to conduct a self treatment.
Mar 08, 2020 at 01:43 PM
mike says
physios are just a pat on the shoulder isn't it? Robots can do that
Feb 27, 2020 at 01:55 AM
To (Uncertain) says
There are already algorithm based apps being used in sports rehabilitation, nothing is impossible
Feb 23, 2020 at 07:13 PM
Frederik (No chance) says
I've had the chance to meet several physiotherapists with whom I've had in-depth discussions (not personal injury-related). I'm a prospective physiotherapy student myself.

If all physiotherapy was, was prescribing exercises, then it would definitely have a huge chance of being replaced by automation soon. Look at the field of radiology for a good example of this phenomenon—technology is getting exceedingly good at finding and diagnosing illnesses without human help. But the work physios do is diverse. Yes, prescribing exercises is a part of the job, but hands-on manual therapy is just as important. The variety of work within the field of physiotherapy is enormous as well. Physios may specialise in everything from working with athletes to patients with neurological disorders.

Physiotherapists undergo training in tangential fields, such as psychology, in order to be better able to understand their clients. After all, the goal is really to help patients in the best possible manner! Great physios also act as psychologists, guiding their patients through the mental challenges of rehabilitation and overcoming injury or illness (which may take place over the course of several months). Just like in occupational therapy (physiotherapy's sister), human-to-human interaction is a huge part of the job. This isn't something that can be replaced by a robot, at least not easily...

You never know fifty, one hundred years down the line. Just look at the difference between 2020 and 1970, 2020 and 1920. Honestly though, physiotherapy is absolutely safe considering the current situation of technological development. It will be one of the fastest growing, in-demand occupations in the next few decades.
Nov 26, 2019 at 03:45 PM
jeff (No chance) says
no chance
Jul 09, 2019 at 08:45 AM
Sarah (No chance) says
Physical therapists can't always be replaced by robots. Someone has to be there to help out.
Jul 02, 2019 at 08:57 PM

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