Nursing Vs Physical Therapy: Choose Which one is Better for You?

Nursing and Physical Therapy are two of the most common career paths that people opt for in healthcare. Both these options are good and have seen an increasing demand everywhere. When it comes to which one is best, then it largely depends upon the country you are residing in. Apart from that, there are several other factors that you should consider before making the right choice. To help you with making this choice easier, I will describe all the responsibilities, education requirements, advantages and disadvantages of both options. Let’s go through all the information in this article on Nursing vs Physical Therapy to understand the differences.

Nursing Vs Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Physical TherapyThe people who practice physical therapy are referred to as Physical Therapists ( PT ). One needs to have the required education and license for treating their patients. This therapy helps people to regain flexibility, strength and mobility. This is useful for people suffering from bone or muscle problems. People with chronic pain or serious injuries seek a professional physical therapist for the treatment.


In many countries, a person needs to have a doctorate in Physical Therapy to get the license. A total of seven years of education in the university is required, which consists of four years of a bachelor’s degree PT followed by a three-year program for Doctor of Physical Therapy ( DPT).


A therapist is responsible for diagnosing the problem and giving treatment to their patients accordingly. The therapist has to come up with a detailed plan to cure the disease and help their patients.

Job and Salaries:

The jobs in the healthcare sector at a peak given to its increased demand. A PT requires to make a detailed plan for the treatment. They can write the protocols for procedures too for Physical Therapist Assistants ( PTA ) to follow. 

As per the reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a PT starts from $79,860. This can differ from country to country. 


NursingOne of the most preferred profession for someone who wants to be in medicine is Nursing. There is a peak in demand for experienced and registered nurses all around the world. 


The education required for Nursing is more stressful as compared to PT. A person opting for this course should be fine to handle all things related to patient care. Having a nursing or bachelor’s degree of four years is needed for becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). In a lot of places, an associate degree in two years or a diploma in nursing is also sufficient to practice this profession.

You can also do advanced courses or a Master’s degree in nursing. A certified registered nurse anesthetist requires to have a doctorate or master’s degree to get the license.


The core responsibility of a nurse is to take care of the patients undergoing treatment. A nurse coordinates with doctors to plan and monitor the health of the patients. They also help to plan the treatment and take care of patients. This covers all the duties of changing the drips, giving injections, and assisting doctors.

Job and Salaries:

There are many job opportunities for Registered Nurses and experienced ones in healthcare. According to the report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012, the starting average salary of nurses is $40,000 t0 $50,000 annually. These packages increase as the experience increases. You can also get a higher salary if you have a master’s degree and some years of experience.

Now that we know responsibilities and education requirements for both the fields, let us go through the pros and cons of both the professions.

Physical Therapy Vs Nursing

NursingThe salaries offered for experienced nurses are higher than PT and other paramedical professions.The profession requires long hours of shifts as well as off-hour shifts.
There are plenty of job opportunities for the RN as well as certified nurses with advanced degrees.Instead of handling one patient at a time like PT, they have to handle multiple patients at a given time.
Physical TherapyPTs can plan the treatment and can independently in their setup.The schooling for the course requires a huge investment.
The degree courses are comparatively easy and is also easy to find a job for the same.There are less options of courses in this field as one has to complete a bachelor’s degree to practice this profession.

Which one to choose?

Making a choice between these two career options is subjective and largely depends upon the choice of individuals. A person who is comfortable with handling patients, needles and blood can think about Nursing. Whereas if someone is not comfortable with handling ailing patients but still wants to be in medicine can opt for Physical Therapy. Nursing jobs can be more overwhelming and have multiple shifts too. It is better to weigh all the pros and cons of both options before making a final decision.

Can a Nurse become a Physical Therapist?

For practicing physical therapy, one needs to have a proper level of education and also a degree. A nurse can become a physical therapist after obtaining a doctorate in Physical Therapy. Without any degree or training, a nurse cant become a physical therapist. 

Concluding Remarks
Both of these professions, Nursing and Physical Therapists, are noble. I would personally opt for Physical Therapy, as it is relatively easier. It is vital to understand the years of education you will need along with the funds for paying fees. You can choose any profession and excel at it if you are passionate about it. I hope this article gives you a little clarity and all the required information about both the options.

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