Physical Therapists Salary Guide [Average & Range Salary 2021]

Physical therapists Salary Guide

What are Physical therapists?

Physical Therapists are considered to be an important part of the healthcare team as they can provide a customized long-term plan to help patients recover from different medical problems like stroke, traumatic brain injury, accidents involving the spine and many others.

Physical Therapists Duties?

Physical Therapists work hand-in-hand with the rest of the medical team in order to help a patient regain optimum movement and restore normal function to greatly improve overall quality of life. In order to become a physical therapist duly certified and licensed to practice in a state, you would have to undergo education and training.

A PT will use different treatment options, depending on the needs and overall health of a patient. PTs will develop treatment plans that are designed to improve a patient’s mobility while also reducing their level of pain. Treatment plans can include exercises that are designed to improve a patient’s flexibility and range of motion, strengthen muscles and help to restore function to limbs and muscles. These types of treatments can include teaching a patient to use a walker, crutches, canes, wheelchairs or other types of movement aids.

Physical therapists focus on three things:

  • Achieving optimal function
  • Preventing disability
  • Relieving pain.

This is particularly true for people who have undergone accidents, surgery or any other conditions affecting mobility.

Physical Therapist Average Salary

The average annual salary of physical therapist is $86,520

The importance of the profession is fully recognized and they are also well-compensated in terms of benefits and salaries

In order to appreciate this profession even better, here is an overview of  physical therapist salary:

The Physical Therapist Factors differs by:

  • Experience
    The number of years of experience is a major factor in determining the salary of a physical therapist. The more experienced a physical therapy has, the higher the salary is.
  • Credibility
    Different states also have different rates.
  • Location
    It also depends as to where the physical therapist is working. 
  • Practice setting
    Hospitals, schools and industrial companies usually pay more than home care facilities and private clinics.

According to, the average annual salary of physical therapist is $86,520. This rate is actually a higher than the average salary of Americans. The average monthly salary is estimated at $7,210 per month, and the weekly salary is estimated at $1,663. If this is computed based on an hourly rate, it is about $41.59 per hour. The salary rate of a physical therapy also depends on the state where he or she belongs. Currently, the highest paying state is Nevada as the hourly wage can be as much as $55.61 amounting to a monthly salary of $9,639. The second state with the highest rate is Alaska. Alaska’s rate is at $45.65 per hour which amounts to $7,913 per month. Other high-paying states are New Jersey, Texas and California.

Things to Consider in a Physical Therapist Salary

Most people go into the physical therapy field to help people to heal and recover, and that is a great reason to do so, but you must also think about yourself and your own personal needs, such as your salary. Consider all of those student loans that have to be paid along with your current bills, and you will see that you have got to find the best paying physical therapist salary you can find

1. Experience is important

In the physical therapy field, experience actually trumps education when it comes to your salary potential. While it is great to get a good degree from an accredited school, don’t expect to be at the top of the salary range at first. Once you have some years under your belt you will climb that ladder to get to where you really want to be

2. Salaried is not always better

A salary can be good because it is guaranteed, but if you end up working more than your required hours per week your pay does not change. Some people in this type of situation get frustrated and feel taken advantage of. If you feel that this might happen to you, avoid a salaried position and opt for something that pays you by the hour.

3. Higher paying PT jobs

If you are interested in traveling, you might consider trying a position as a traveling physical therapist. The traveling physical therapist’s salary can be quite a bit higher than one working at a facility, and oftentimes expenses are paid for while traveling. However, the highest physical therapist salary comes from working in the areas of health care and consulting. Aside from these variables, geographical location also plays a part in the possible salary, so be mindful of that when deciding where to settle down, as well. Take some time to research your best options and find the best salary.

Physical Therapist Education Requirements

The education requirements of a physical therapy training include a bachelor’s degree and graduation from an accredited physical therapy degree program.

Each state has a different requirement on licensing so you may want to check it out first.

In order to become a PT, there are a number of physical therapist requirements that need to be fulfilled. These physical therapist requirements will include licensure, coursework and internships.

Most states will have similar physical therapist requirements, such as the completion of an accredited master’s degree program and the successful completion of the PT certification exam.

During the master’s degree program a student will also need to fulfill physical therapist requirements for clinical training. The length of the clinical training is typically six months. These clinical internships can take place in hospitals, clinics, private practices, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Often, a student will choose a specialty area and will have their internship mainly in that area.

Physical Therapist Training

As for training, would-be physical therapists are required to undergo a rigorous hands-on clinical experience in a physical therapy setting. This would greatly help you develop the necessary skills to succeed as a physical therapist. If you are well-trained, this already sets you apart from the competition. Remember that there are a lot of physical therapists out there nowadays so you have to stand out in order to be noticed.

Getting the job you want would require you to make the necessary sacrifices. While studying and training to become a licensed physical therapist, you may need to give up some of your precious time inside bars and clubs just so you can stay at home and study. All these sacrifices will eventually pay off once you become a licensed PT. The profession is very rewarding in terms of the financial aspect as well as the level of personal satisfaction that it gives.

Physical Therapist Continuing Education

Obtaining a license to practice is not the end-all and be-all of being a physical therapist. In fact, most PTs choose to participate in continuing education seminars and trainings so that they are kept up-to-date with the current trends in their profession. The additional knowledge can help them better plan treatment interventions for their patients.

Things to Know About the Physical Therapist Certification Test

Physical therapists are professionals who have undergone a lot of hard work just to become a part of the healthcare team. They are the ones responsible in bringing back the mobility of the patients. To practice the profession, it is required that the individuals who already gained a bachelor’s degree should take the physical therapist certification test.

The Federal of State Boards of Physical Therapy is the one who manages the Physical Therapist Certification Test. This test is open to all graduates of a physical therapy program in order to work in a healthcare institution. This examination should be taken seriously as it can make or break the career opportunity of a physical therapy enthusiast.

Physical Therapist Exams

The examination will be done via computer-administered systems.

There will be 5 parts of the exam wherein every part is composed of 50 questions. This totals to 250 questions. Out of the 250 questions, only 200 of which are scored. The remaining 50 questions will serve as basis for considerations on future examinations. There will be a 15-minute break during the examination. A test taker may use the 15 minute break by taking three 5-minute sessions separately.

The passing rate of a PT exam differs from that of the PTA Exam. The passing rate for the latter is 85 percent. These are for the first-time test takers from graduating accredited US PTA schools. The PT Exam, on the other hand, needs 89 percent passing grade to be able to pass.

The examination location is done at Prometric Testing Centers. The fees change annually and the amount is different from one state to another.

These are the things anyone should know about the physical therapist certification. It is good to be prepared for it as the career opportunities are good as well as the rewards.

More Info on Physical Therapist

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