There Aren't As Many PT Jobs As Before
I just got back from a teaching trip in two larger cities near Lake Erie. I was lucky in that I was able to eat lunch with some of the attendees. Both times the discussion eventually turned to concerns about our profession. They had a different perspective than I do.
In that area, new graduates don't hold out for more money. They accept jobs that pay less, which I was told drives down salaries across the board. Because facilities can hire new graduates for less, they don't want to pay too much more for experience. Anyone who wants to work has to accept what is offered to have a job. I can see that trend spreading nationwide.
Both groups independently brought up the belief there are fewer jobs for PTs overall. They felt the job market is shrinking. I agree. I'm seeing the same thing here. Everyone agrees facilities are using less staff to accomplish the same work. But I think there are also fewer patients.
Censuses are down everywhere in Houston. I was told the same is true in the cities where I was teaching. I'm not sure what the problem is. There are fewer patients in facilities, but is that because there are fewer people requiring services or because payers are limiting stays, or because we have an overabundance of facilities compared to demand? I don't know.
Meanwhile, the supply of PTs is ever-growing. I don't think it is as bad for PTAs. When I check the employment ads, there are still more opportunities for PTAs than PTs. But then you can hire two PTAs for the cost of one PT with experience.
I won't even lay this at the feet of the APTA, although they bear some responsibility. Employment opportunities follow the economy and that is reimbursement-based. There are plenty of people who want PT but aren't able to get it. What is sad it that no one seems to care.