Therapy typically entails a type of treatment that is repeated or recurring regularly for a period of time to cure a patient of a physical or mental ailment. Dictionary.com defines therapy as: "the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process."
What therapy careers are available in healthcare? Typically a person who provides any type of therapy is called a therapist. Just as there are many types of therapy, there are also many different types of therapists. Learn more about these roles in therapy careers, most of which require graduate level degrees from an accredited program at a university.
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Physical therapy, as its name implies, provides relief or cure for a patient's physical ailment. The patient may be recovering from a surgery, or may have been involved in an accident or trauma. Also, physical therapy can be used for patients with degenerative diseases or other conditions that weaken their physical condition.
A healthcare professional who provides physical therapy is called a physical therapist. Becoming a physical therapist requires a graduate degree in an accredited program. However if you are interested in physical therapy careers but cannot obtain a master's level degree, you could also explore related options as a physical therapist assistant or physical therapist aide.
Occupational therapy helps people perform basic life tasks necessary for independent living. Clients of occupational therapists include people recovering from strokes or traumatic brain injuries, as well as people who may have other mental conditions that otherwise limit their abilities to function fully without the help of occupational therapy.
Speech therapists, also known as speech language pathologists (SLPs), are trained to help children and adults in need of speech improvement, whether it's caused by a physical or mental condition. Speech therapists often work in schools to help kids who may be developmentally delayed or who have lisps or other speech impediments. Speech therapists may also work with adults who need help re-learning speech after a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other condition affecting their speech.
Respiratory therapy is one of the therapy careers that does not require a graduate degree. However, job outlook is better for respiratory therapists who have at least a bachelor's degree (four year college degree), while some respiratory therapists have only an associate's degree. Most respiratory therapists work in hospitals, as most of their patients are fairly ill and are having difficulty breathing, when the respiratory therapists use apparatus, machines, or physiotherapy to help alleviate patients' breathing difficulties.
Radiation therapists work primarily with cancer patients. Radiation therapists are the health professionals who administer the radiation prescribed by the oncologist to help shrink or eliminate the cancerous tumor. Radiation therapy is another therapy career that requires only an associate's degree or bachelor's degree. The pay range is in the mid- to high-$60,000s and the job outlook is strong, with over 25 percent growth projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Dance therapy is yet another form of therapy used to treat a variety of physical and emotional conditions. Dance Movement Therapy requires a master's degree, and is an excellent career for people who love the art of dance and the science of medicine.
Massage therapy entails the use of touch, and massage, to treat stress, muscle aches, and a variety of other problems. Massage therapy does not require an advanced degree, and this career is unique in that many massage therapists are self-employed and contract their work out by appointment, which requires good business skills.
Music TherapyAccording to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy "is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals."
Psychotherapy, and Behavioral Therapy
Psychotherapy is a type of therapy often employed by mental health professionals such as psychologists or psychiatrists
, to help treat a variety of mental conditions such as depression or anxiety.