The Facts About A Physical Therapist Salary

The salary of a physical therapist varies by region. For instance, a PT who is working at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center could earn as much as $120,000 annually. Meanwhile, a PT who is working at West Virginia’s rural areas could earn a minimum of $25,000 every year.

How much does a PT earn?

Though there are more than 62,000 physical therapists employed in the offices of other health practitioners, they are not included in the list of the top industries with the highest PT salary. The sectors included in that list which gives out top pay include Scientific, Management as well as Technical Consulting Services. These departments only employ 80 people within the US and professionals working within these fields earn approximately $91,000 every year. Meanwhile, a PT who works in a health practitioner’s office receive a salary of $75,000 each year. Take note that the sector which provides a high salary for physical therapist is Home Health Care Services as it gives out as much as $86,500 annually.

Top-paying states

physical therapist pay

The physical therapist salaries vary by state and level of experience

The top States who are granting the highest salary for physical therapists are the following: New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware, Texas and Maryland. The average salary for physical therapist in Alaska is $92,700 per year. Meanwhile, PTs in Maryland receive approximately $84,900 annually. In New Hampshire, there are 2.16 PTs for every one thousand workers. This is followed by Massachusetts with as much as 2.15 PTs employed for every one thousand workers.

Those who began their careers as entry-level physical therapists could further advance their careers by engaging in continuing education workshops and courses. Doing so allows them to accumulate the needed experiences and skills. Take note that this could also equate to an increase in your physical therapist salary. There are a few PTs who go through board certification in order to be certified in a specific clinical specialty such as Sports Physical Therapy as well as Clinical Electrophysiology.

Is it only about the salary?

Unfortunately, there are many people who merely focus on the salary of a physical therapist. Though it is a fact that it is essential to know the average salary of a PT, it is not the sole thing you have to concentrate on. There are many people who enter the field due to financial reasons  only to find out later that they want to do something else. Some even resort to working in a job that pays less because they are not at all happy working in the physical therapy field. This is mainly due to the fact that they concentrated on the salary which came with the title and not the actual responsibilities the job entails.

Responsibilities of a physical therapist

Essentially, a physical therapist helps people gain their mobility and overall health. They also assist accident victims as well as those experiencing fractures, head injuries, lower back pain, cerebral palsy, heart disease and arthritis. To be able to earn your keep as a PT, you need to help people improve their physical mobility and prevent further pain and disabilities.

Job outlook for a physical therapist

The need for physical therapists is seen to grow by as much as 30% from the year 2008 – 2018. Modifications to any restrictions on physical therapy reimbursements by 3rd party payers will help patients have access to physical therapy services and so increase demand. Plus, the increase in the elderly population will help drive growth for PT services. Specifically, the elderly population is very much vulnerable to debilitating and chronic conditions which require therapy. Plus, the baby-boom generation is entering the age where strokes and heart attacks are imminent thereby increasing demand for physical and cardiac rehabilitation.

Plus, developments in medical and technological tools allow a good number of newborns and trauma victims to survive thereby producing demand for rehabilitative care. Additionally, growth could result in the further use of evidence-based practices permitting the treatment of a large number of disabling conditions which were considered previously untreatable. Plus, the Disabilities Education Act assures that individuals have access to physical therapy services as well as other rehabilitative and therapeutic care. Demand for PTs will also continue in schools.

Most PTs are employed in outpatient offices, hospitals, nursing homes and home health. There are also self-employed physical therapists who have their own private practice. Therapists who are self-employed work with numerous patient populations via the referrals of regular physicians or contracts with other companies or organizations. Health insurance is set to change with patients paying more for their own health coverage and taking more responsibility for their health. It helps that patients are now more conscious about the health care system and are no longer satisfied to be passive recipients. This is mainly due to increased co-pays and the change to health plans with high deductibles and flex health savings accounts plans. More patients are now seeing themselves paying for services which were previously covered by a minor co-pay.

Job outlook is good for licensed PTs in all settings specifically in orthopedics, skilled nursing and acute hospital settings. Job prospects are also favorable in rural regions since a lot of PTs have the tendency to cluster in highly-dense urban and suburban areas. Take note that 80% of physical therapists practice in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, outpatient offices, sub-acute facilities, extended care, homes, schools, education or research centers, hospices, occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities. The unemployment rate for PTs is a mere 1.1%. Believe it or not, physical therapists are currently experiencing the most excellent employment conditions.


It is highly likely that you now have a good sense of what is the salary of a physical therapist. It is obvious that the average physical therapist salary is high. But the intangible benefit is being able to help people live their best lives. Therefore, interpersonal skills is a must-have. Truly, the job satisfaction is rewarding in all aspects. If you are considering to pursue a career in physical therapy, now is the best time to take the next step towards your bright and blossoming career.

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