Assessing a physical therapist’s earning potential is just one aspect aspiring therapists use when researching and choosing this career path. A licensed physical therapist must have a doctorate in physical therapy (DPT), so analyzing the cost of education against future income is critical in helping prospective physical therapists determine whether choosing this career path is worth their investment.
What is the average salary for a physical therapist?
Like nearly all other career salaries, a physical therapist’s salary is determined by several factors. Typically, the location of employment, years of experience, and types and size of the hiring organization play a critical role in determining a PT’s average salary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a PT’s median salary was $95,620 annually as of May 2021. The highest 10% of PT wages was more than $127,110. Typically, PTs who own their own practice also earn higher salaries than the median wage.
Which industries are hiring the most?
While PTs are not required to have board-certified clinical specializations, some job types, like the ones listed below, become easier to get if the physical therapist has some kind of specialization under their belt. This is especially true for some work settings specific to certain audiences. These may include:
- Cardiovascular & pulmonary
- Clinical electrophysiology
- Sports physical therapy
Which industries are paying the most?
Another critical factor that determines a PT’s salary is where they treat. According to PayScale.com, home care, home health, long-term care, and senior facilities are the top-paying industries for PTs. But the highest wages often go to PTs working in schools, health care, and nursing care facilities. Those annual salaries are $96,810, $94,600, and $88,890, respectively.
Top paying industries for Physical Therapists include:
||Average Annual Salary
|Outpatient Care Centers
|Home Health Care Services
|Child Day Care Services
|Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals
|Skilled Nursing Facilities
Where can PTs make the most money?
Physical therapists can make much higher wages than the average annual $72,990, based on where they work. A US Bureau of Labor Statistics study found that the top-paying states for PTs offered wages ranging between $99,530 and $104,210.
||Average Annual Salary
Most states with largely chronically ill or elderly populations typically offer better PT compensation. Studies also show that PTs in states with a higher cost of living may expect to earn higher salaries to cover their expenses.
How does education level affect PT salary?
Education level is not only necessary in the qualification of having the job, but it also plays a role in your career development. Physical therapy students must obtain doctorate-level degrees to practice. This certification essentially levels the playing field for entry-level PT students.
As the PT’s career grows, so does their experience, which concurrently increases their salary. PTs should continue studying to further their understanding and specializations in their fields of interest to increase their earning potential. This also expands the PT’s latest techniques and maintains licensure.
Like most professions, a PT’s years of experience will significantly influence their dollar value. According to PayScale.com, here’s a breakdown of salaries PTs earn based on their career and experience level:
||Average Annual Salary
|< 1 year
Specialization and Certification
Specialization and certification are statuses attained through the continuation of a PT’s studies. As already mentioned, education is among the factors affecting PTs’ salary rates. A specialized and certified PT might expect to earn from $101,920 to $ 127,110 annually.
A Board-Certified PT has more experience than entry-level PTs and has specialized in certain career paths through advanced learning. As a result, they may earn an average of $77,750 to $ 101,920 annually.
What do PTAs make?
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a physical therapy assistant is $60,740. PTAs rank among the highest paid compared to assistants in other healthcare professions, typically earning more than nursing aides and dental assistants.
The top five states for PTAs offer wages that may range between $7,000 and $11,000 above the national average. As of 2022, California is the highest-paying state for PTAs, followed by Rhode Island, New Jersey, Texas, and Connecticut.
Job Outlook for Physical Therapists
The physical Therapists’ job outlook shows a growth of 17% from 2021 to 2031, with more than 40,000 new jobs. This shows a much faster-than-average growth outlook compared to other professions. Today, the demand for physical therapy services comes largely because of the aging baby boomer population.
Technological advancements in the medical area have also catalyzed the necessity for outpatient treatments as patients opt for at-home treatment programs.
Apply for a Physical Therapy position at Brooks Rehabilitation
With several locations across Florida, Brooks Rehabilitation is proud of our team of motivated, experienced, and compassionate physical therapists. We support our staff with a positive, nurturing work environment and cutting-edge medical technology and training.
Learn more about joining the Brooks team and apply today!