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4. Physical Therapist
Physical Therapist
Lichy, a therapist for 10 years, says “every day is exciting and challenging.”
Top 100 rank: 4
Sector: Health Care

What they do: Assess and treat people with physical conditions that limit their movements or ability to perform daily activities. Help with pain management and surgical rehab. Longer life spans and a wave of aging boomers have already created a PT shortage.

What's to like: Few jobs are so rewarding: A stroke patient begins to walk and talk. A tennis player with a sprained wrist gets back on the court. "I love helping patients enjoy life again," says Alison Lichy, 34, who specializes in neurological conditions such as spinal cord injuries at her practice in Alexandria, Va. Entrepreneurial types like Lichy can set their own hours.

What's not to like: The job can be emotionally and physically draining. Practitioners fear that health care reform's emphasis on cost cutting may jeopardize insurance reimbursements.

Requirements: Three-year graduate degree and a state license.

Do Physical Therapists have great jobs, or what?
Physical Therapist stats
Pay
Median pay
(experienced)
$75,000
Top pay $97,000
Opportunity
10-year job growth
(2008-2018)
30%
Total jobs
(current)
210,000
Quality of life ratings
Personal satisfaction A
Job security B
Future growth A
Benefit to society A
Low stress C
Flexibility B
From the November 2010 issue
Notes: All pay data from PayScale.com. Median pay is for an experienced worker (at least two to seven years in the field). Top pay represents the 90th percentile. Job growth is estimated for 2008-18. Total current employment level is estimated number of people working in each specific job

Sources: PayScale.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and MONEY research
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MONEY and compensation experts PayScale.com used Bureau of Labor Statistics growth forecasts for 7,000 jobs, and identified industries with the biggest increases in jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees. Ranked them by 2008-18 growth and pay. More

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