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Physical Therapist Salary And Career Outlook

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Physical Therapists work with patients suffering from all forms of movement-related dysfunctions. From athletes looking to recover from a sport-related injury to regular folks recovering from serious accidents, physical therapists use their knowledge of the body’s locomotive system to help relieve pain and improve quality of life.

Becoming a physical therapist requires a great deal of dedication, but how much does one make as a physical therapist? And what factors can be optimized to increase this figure? We take a closer look at all of these questions below.

Physical Therapy Salary Overview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the average yearly salary for a physician therapist is $92,920. The mean hourly wage is $44.67.

The same data shows that the top ten percent in the field take home $127,110 annually. As we’ll see below, quite a few factors can influence how much one earns as a physical therapist and what percentile one falls into.

Consequently, a physical therapist can increase their salary with enough time and dedication.

Physical Therapist Salary by Percentile

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who fall into the bottom ten percent of physical therapists based on salary range earn $61,9300 every year. Those in the bottom 25 percent take home $77,750 annually, while those in the top 75 percent take home $101,920.

At the top of the pyramid, in the 90th percentile range, physical therapists can look to earn around $127,110.

Physical Therapist Salary by State

California and Alaska remain the states with the highest median salary for physical therapists. Here, physical therapists earn an average of $100,859 and $98,758 yearly, close to the highest pay in other states nationwide.

The median salary of a physical therapist in Alabama is $90,958, while that of Arkansas is $84,677. In Connecticut, physical therapists earn an average of $95,118 every year.

The median figures for other states hover around the $80,000+ range. For example, in Florida, the median salary is $87,693; in Georgia, it is $85,842; in Colorado, it is $84,853; in Missouri and Nebraska, it is $83,512 and $83,866, respectively.

Increasing your Salary as a Physical Therapist

As mentioned earlier, several factors can affect how much salary you earn as a physical therapist. Understanding and optimizing these factors can help you go from a bottom ten percent or median earner to a top 10 percent earner quickly. Among these factors are:

Medical Facility/Establishment

The establishment or place of employment where physical therapists find themselves is one of the most important factors determining their salaries. For instance, physical therapists in outpatient care centers earn differently from those in local government and child day care facilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that physical therapists in outpatient facilities earn a median salary of $111,410, those in home healthcare services earn $105,510, and those in child daycare services earn $102,050. In contrast, those in local government and nursing care facilities earn $101,290 and $100,760, respectively.


Areas, cities, and states of location go a long way in determining how much a physical therapist earns.

Those located in metropolitan areas earn the highest salaries in the field. Some of the highest-paying urban regions of the country include El Centro, California, with a median salary of $143,500; Modesto, California, with a median salary of $123,370; Visalia, California with a median salary of $119,510; Bakersfield, California with a median salary of $115,170; and Yuma, Arizona with a median salary of $114,920.

Scaling Opportunities

Physical therapists don’t just make money by working for others in local government or outpatient facilities. Physical therapists can earn even more by scaling their businesses through other avenues.

For instance, a physical therapist may choose to practice ownership. They do this by opening their practice, formulating their unique mission and philosophy, and assembling an interdisciplinary team that operates on a smaller, more personalized scale than large hospitals.

Physical Therapists who establish their private practice are raising the ceilings of their potential income to unlimited levels.


Physical therapists in different areas of specialization earn other yearly incomes. Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to discipline for physical therapists.

Some areas of specialization to consider as a physical therapist include women’s health, oncology, geriatrics, pediatrics, sports, cardiovascular and pulmonary, neurology, wound management, and orthopedics.

Teaching & Consultancy

Physical therapists who wish to improve their monthly incomes may also consider consulting, using their knowledge to consult on occupational health, engineering, and billing.

They can also use their experience to become educators either at high school, college, or graduate levels. All of these go a long way in consolidating their possible income.

Physical Therapist Career Outlook

The physical therapist field has a pretty impressive growth outlook. The area is expected to grow by 17 percent in the next ten years, providing job opportunities for more Americans and better pay for those already in the job.

This projected growth percentage is more than double the national average for other occupations in the country.

Reasons for Outlook Projection

The outlook projection for job growth in physical therapy is optimistic partly because the aging baby boomer population is becoming more active at this stage than previous generations. Additionally, advancements in medical technology and an increase in chronic conditions will also cause a surge in demand.

Lastly, metropolitan areas that provide the most significant salary for physical therapists are projected to increase. As such, the generous wage is bound to continue with more physical therapist jobs to be created in the process.