How Much Does a Physical Therapist Make?

Physical_therapyThe career of a physical therapist has a very positive outlook, with approximately a increase of job market growth throughout the next ten years.

Physical therapists are licensed Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPT). They are an essential for patients who need to rehabilitate themselves when either recovering from an injury or suffering a chronic condition.

They also analyze a patient’s case and develop a therapy plan that will work best for the patient’s rehabilitation.

Physical therapists are an extremely necessary component of patient care, and are heavily relied on by doctors and other healthcare professionals to assist in the improvement of a patient condition, in addition to restoring patient independence.

They use tools for physical exercise, and often the assistance of a PT assistant to improve patient’s physical activity and independence.

If you’re interested in working as a physical therapist, you might like our “How to Become a Physical Therapist” guide.

Physical Therapist Salary

So how much does a physical therapist make?

PTs not only have a positive career outlook, they also currently have a great earning potential in the United States.

The average physical therapist salary is . The lowest earners make approximately $60,390, and the highest earners make up to how_much_does_a_physical-therapt_make$123,350

A PT in the United States has the potential to make a “six-figure” income, although, there are many factors that may contribute to the broad difference between lowest salary and highest salary earned. Factors that affect salary grades involve education, experience, location, employer, and additional certifications, or specialties.

Top 5  Paying States

FlagStateEmployment per
1000 Jobs
Hourly mean
Annual mean
Nevada FlagNevada 1.26$61.49$127,900
Alaska FlagAlaska 1.54$46.32$96,350
New Jersey FlagNew Jersey 1.81$44.42$92,380
California FlagCalifornia 1.14$44.29$92,120
Texas FlagTexas 1.04$44.02$91,560

Top Paying Industries

IndustryPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
Schools and Instruction$46.54$96,810
Home Health Care Services1.97$45.48$94,600
Nursing Care Facilities0.75$42.74$88,890
Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly 0.20$41.92$87,190
Employment Services 0.11$40.72$84,700

Physical Therapist Job Description

What does a Physical Therapist do? Physicians refer patients to a PT in order to assist them in poor health and improve physical activity and help manage discomfort and pain.

Thus, they are a necessity to patient care. A PT work especially with people with chronic conditions or injuries in order to improve independence and physical condition using tools such as exercise equipment, wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches. The job of physical therapists involves seeing a variety of patients that need rehabilitation services.

Each patient has an individualized need of physical therapy that may involve numerous tools and exercises.  

The Types of Patients that PTs Care for

  • physical therapist jobInjured patients
  • Patients with fractures , sprains , or strains
  • Amputation patients
  • Stroke patients
  • Cerebral Palsy patients
  • Arthritis patients

They also see patients with other conditions not listed.

Each of these patients requires a different kind of physical therapy.

Stroke patients will receive a completely alternative physical therapy management plan than a patient injured in a car accident, and each case should be individualized to meet the patient’s needs. In order to meet the patient’s needs, the PT works with the help of doctors, nurses and physical therapy assistants (view PTA schools) to determine treatment plans and help the patient become rehabilitated.

A Typical PT’s Daily Routine Would Involve the Following

  • Reviewing and analyzing doctor recommendation and doctor progress notes
  • Observing patient movements to determine care plans
  • Listening and analyzing patient concerns to implement any concerns into a care plan
  • Diagnosing physical limitations
  • Using exercises and tools to manage care
  • Measuring patient progress
  • Making changes to treatment plans as needed
  • Patient education

This can vary by any specialty of physical therapy.

Daily tasks and treatment methods will vary by the types of patients seen. Specialties can also influence salary potential.

Physical Therapy Specialties

 physical therapy specialitiesCardiovascular / Pulmonary

  • Clinical Electro-physiologic
  • Geriatric
  • Neurologic
  • Orthopedic
  • Pediatric
  • Sports-Related
  • Women’s Healthcare

PTs generally work full time, although as many as 25% work part time, and work in many different environments, including group practices and hospitals.

They most often work in a rehabilitation environment, with physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

The workplace of a PT also varies by specialty.   The outlook for physical therapists is positive in the United States. Due to the rapidly growing aging population in the United States, Physical Therapy is considered a stable career choice in a promising field with growth and earning potential.


How much do physical therapists make
Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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