Physical Therapy (PT) offers the opportunity to work out of your home or set your own schedule. While you can work for a hospital or medical office, you may find that the flexibility of working for yourself is much more desirable.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, estimated that in 2008 approximately 185,500 physical therapists were employed in the U.S. Around 60 percent of those worked in hospitals, physical therapy clinics or health care practitioner offices. The rest ran businesses out of their homes or traveled to their patient’s locations. How much it costs to start your physical therapy business depends upon whether you purchase tables and other equipment or work out of the offices of others.
Physical Therapy Degree and License
The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy administers the national licensing test for physical therapists. To be eligible to take this test, you must first complete an advanced degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution of higher learning. The cost of the degree can vary, depending upon the college attended and whether you live at home or on campus. At the time of publication, the cost to take the test is $370. States also charge an additional fee for license application.
Choose a location for your physical therapy business. The least expensive start-up option is to lease space from a local health care provider. This also gives your physical therapy business visibility to patients in need of your services and, in most cases, the equipment you need will be on premises. Home offices are another cheaper option. If you choose to lease commercial building space, look for a location with plenty of parking and near doctors’ offices and hospitals.
Purchase or rent equipment for your PT business. If you plan to visit patient’s homes, look for equipment that is easy to set up and take down and that is lightweight. Different equipment is needed for different types of therapy, so this cost can vary. Purchase a computer and software to help track appointments and payments.
Call your insurance agent and find out if your current company offers business insurance for PTs or if your agent can recommend a company that offers liability insurance for your career. If you plan to drive to and from patients’ homes, you will also need to inquire about any changes to your vehicle insurance.
Get the word out about your business with ads in the local paper, flyers, and passing out business cards. Network with doctors , nursing homes, sports specialists and hospitals. Make them aware of the services you offer and ask if they will refer you to their patients.