Physical Therapist Salary

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Depending upon where you work, a physical therapist can earn different salaries. Learn what you can expect to make as a physical therapist.

How much can a physical therapist make?

The BLS states that the top ten percent of earners in the physical therapy career field earn more than $123,350, while the median annual salary is $87,930. Your earning potential throughout your career will depend on variables like where you live and how much experience you have, but it will also depend on your work ethic. The best way to boost your earning potential is to achieve great results with patients and establish a reputable name for yourself. If you can establish a good base of clients who will return to you or recommend your practice to others, you will become increasingly more valuable in your field.

Natural Health CareerMedian Annual Salary*
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides$48,090
Occupational Therapists$84,270
Recreational Therapists$47,860

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides; Chiropractors; Occupational Therapists; Recreational Therapists.

*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there a demand for this career?

There is definitely a demand for physical therapists, and this demand will only continue to grow. A large contributor to this demand is the aging baby boomer population. As this particular generation ages, there will be an increased demand for skilled physical therapists who can help these specific patients adjust to their aging bodies.

In addition to this, medical advancements are allowing greater percentages of trauma victims and newborns with serious birth defects to survive, which creates a demand for rehabilitative care through physical therapy.

Is this a growing field?

Employment of physical therapists is expected to grow by 22% through 2028; comparatively, other occupations are predicted to grow by 5%, making growth for physical therapist jobs much faster than average. Like any career field, however, it’s important to be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

How much competition will I face for a job?

The level of competition you face for a job will be mostly dependent on where you live and the type of health care facility you’re applying to. Trying to launch your own physical therapy practice right off the bat will be extremely tough, as it means you’ll be competing with other therapists with an established clientele.

For less competition, physical therapist jobs in hospitals or health practitioners’ offices are generally more plentiful; you’ll still face some competition, but since the demand for physical therapists in these environments is high and growing, you’re likely to have an easier time getting hired.

What kinds of institutions hire physical therapists?

Physical therapists are in increasingly high demand in multiple work places. You can find work in hospitals, health care practitioners’ offices, home health care services, or nursing care facilities. In addition to these options, some physical therapists choose to launch their own practice, which is no easy task, but can certainly have benefits. If you want to specialize in a specific type of patient (for instance, elderly physical therapy patients), then this will influence where you decide to work.

How do I advance in my physical therapy career?

In order to advance in your career, it’s absolutely necessary for you to stay on top of any continuing education units you need, as well as to stay abreast of physical therapy trends and research. Being knowledgeable in the present and future of your field will keep you ahead of the curve at all times.

In addition to this, your best bet for advancing in your field is to establish a great name for yourself by producing the best possible results for your patients. Your experience and success are what will ultimately help you advance and make you indispensable at any facility you work for.

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