Physical therapists play a very essential role in patients recovery from disabilities because of accidents or disabling conditions like arthritis. According to various experts, disability problems and other health issues needing the service of physical therapists are expected to increase for the next years due to the rapid increase in population and the growing number of aging baby boomers.
Physical therapists work in a variety of healthcare settings like in clinics, hospitals, private institutions, and in schools. Salaries may vary from geographic location, position, experience, and more.
General Salary Scale
According to the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual income of licensed physical therapists in the country is $78,270 in 2011. The highest paid 10% earn annual average income of about $110,670 while the lowest 10% receive annual average income of approximately $54,710. To put it in an hourly wage level, physical therapists can earn as much as $37.64 per hour with the highest earners receiving about $53 for their services per hour.
Based on salary reports, the lowest paid physical therapists are mostly entry level PTs earning about $55,000 or less for their first years in the profession. The highest paid physical therapists today earn as much as $120,000 or more every year. Aside from the relatively high income, physical therapists working in hospitals and medical facilities also receive medical insurances and additional benefits making the profession definitely well paid and fulfilling.
When it comes to salary level, physical therapists are some of the highest paid healthcare professionals in the health industry together with Chiropractors, registered nurses, radiation therapists, and acupuncturists. Currently, over 185,000 PT jobs are filled but aspiring and future physical therapists do not have to worry for their future employment since there will be more than 77,000 job openings or 37% projected employment growth for physical therapy positions for the next 10 years based on the 2020 BLS data.
Best Paying Cities For Certified Physical Therapists
According to the US News, the highest paying cities for physical therapists in the country are found in Texas, Iowa, and Alaska. When it comes to salaries offered, McAllen, Texas tops the list.
- McAllen, Texas
Physical therapists working in McAllen receive the highest annual pay with annual median salary of approximately $122,160. Licensed PTs in this city earn about $43,890 higher compared to the annual average income received by PTs in the country.
- El Paso, Texas
Another high-paying city for physical therapists in Texas is El Paso. The average salary offered for physical therapists is approximately $105,400. PTs employed in this city earn $27,130 more than the average salary of PTs in the country.
- Fairbanks, Alaska
The annual average income of PTs employed in Fairbanks, Alaska, is about $104,250. That is $25,980 more than the annual overall average income of physical therapists working in the country.
- Midland, Texas
Physical therapists working in Midland, Texas earn an annual average income of $102,270, about $24,000 higher than the overall annual average income of PTs in the country.
- Sioux City, Iowa
Sioux City in Iowa is the fifth highest paying metropolitan area for physical therapists in the whole country paying licensed PTs an annual average income of $101,770. That is $23,500 higher than the overall annual average income for the profession.
Other top paying cities for physical therapists are Chowchilla City in Madera County, California, Sherman in Texas, Las Vegas in Nevada, San Angelo in Texas, and Reno in Nevada.
Best Paying States For Physical Therapists
When it comes to highest paying states for physical therapists, Nevada tops the list. Other states offering the highest salaries for PTs are Texas, Alaska, New Jersey, and District of Columbia. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2001 Report, Nevada is the top paying state for physical therapists offering an hourly mean wage of $47.03 with an annual mean income of $97,810.
Alaska is the second highest paying state for physical therapists offering an annual average income of $91,990 or $47.03 mean wage per hour. Third highest paying state is Texas where physical therapists can earn annual average income of $90,500 or about $43.51 per hour. Fourth and fifth on the ranking are the states of District of Columbia and New Jersey, respectively, where physical therapists are paid annual average income of $89,300 and $88,270.
Best Paying Industries
Aside from geographic location, the specific industry and the work setting also affect the salary scale received by physical therapists. When it comes to industry, some of the highest paying industries for physical therapists are the management, scientific and technical consulting services industry, the home health care services, and nursing care facilities.
- Management, Scientific And Technical Consulting Services
Physical therapists working for these specific industries are paid a total annual mean wage of $91,020 or hourly mean wage of $43.76. This figure is higher than the annual average income of physical therapists employed in the country.
- Home Health Care Services
Physical therapists employed in the home health care services are paid an annual mean wage of $89,150 or an hourly mean wage of $42.86. Aside from being second for highest paying industries, home health care services industry is also one of the top industries with highest concentration of employment for physical therapists next to health practitioner offices and clinics, and specialty hospital industries.
- Employment Services
The employment services industry offer an annual mean wage of $84,610 for physical therapists or about $40.68 mean wag per hour.
- Nursing Care Facilities
Physical therapists working in the nursing care facilities can receive annual mean wage of $83,220 or $40.01 per hour.
- Community Care Facilities For The Elderly
With the increasing population of aging baby boomers, healthcare services like physical therapy have become more in demand resulting to higher pays for licensed and certified PTs. This industry offers an annual mean wage of 82,840 or about $39.83 per hour.
With these figures, physical therapy profession is not only a fulfilling job but it can also be a well-paid job especially if you land a job in the right place and the right industry. But aside from the location and specific industry, other factors you need to consider in order to gain higher income are longer work experience, and advancement in education and training.