Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who specialize in helping individuals improve their mobility, manage pain, and recover from injuries or surgeries through personalized exercise and treatment plans.

Employment of physical therapists in the United States is projected to grow 17% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

When considering a career in physical therapy, one of the most crucial factors to ponder is the potential earnings.

Going ahead, we will delve into the various nuances of exploring the average salary of a physical therapist, factors influencing pay, regional variations, career growth prospects, and uncommon ways to boost income.

Factors Influencing Physical Therapist Salaries

There are several factors influencing the physical therapist salary in the United States. We will discuss them one by one:

Qualification and Experience

Qualifications and overall education play a vital role in determining a physical therapist's salary.

Those with advanced degrees, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), tend to earn higher salaries compared to those with bachelor's or master's degrees. Also, physical therapists who are skilled in-home care earn 15.5% more than the average base salary.

Additionally, experience is a key factor; therapists with more years in the field often command higher pay.

Geographic Location

Geographical location significantly impacts physical therapist salary levels due to variations in cost of living, demand for physical therapists, and state-specific regulations.

States, such as Nevada and California, with higher living costs and greater demand for healthcare professionals, generally offer higher salaries.

Practice Setting

Physical therapists can work in various settings, including hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes, and schools.

Compensation may differ based on the practice setting, with industries such as Outpatient Care Centers and Home Health Care Services often offering higher salaries than nursing homes.


Physical therapists can pursue specialized certifications in areas such as sports therapy, geriatric care, pediatrics, and neurology.

Additional qualifications such as Home Health and CPR Certification can lead to a 13% and 6% hike in physical therapist salary, respectively, as therapists become sought-after experts in their chosen fields.

Industry Demand

The demand for physical therapists in certain regions and industries can affect salaries. For example, areas with a shortage of qualified therapists may offer higher salaries to attract professionals.

Also read: How to convey your skills and achievements in your physical therapy resume?

Physical Therapist Salary by State

Some states consistently offer higher salaries for physical therapists due to a combination of factors such as a strong economy, higher demand, and cost of living.

Conversely, certain states may have lower average salaries for physical therapists due to factors such as a lower demand for healthcare services or a lower cost of living.

Let’s look at the respective US states one by one:

10 Highest-paying States for Physical Therapist Salary

State Salary
Massachusetts $103,638
North Carolina $103,023
Indiana $99,667
Delaware $98,236
California $96,607
New Jersey $95,669
Michigan $94,261
Florida $92,193
Connecticut $89,586
Nevada $88,409

5 Lowest-paying States for Physical Therapist Salary

State Salary
Texas $85,675
Arizona $81,924
Georgia $80,170
New York $79,988
Ohio $71,667

Also read: What is the salary for an occupational therapist?

Career Growth and Advancement for Physical Therapists

Aspiring physical therapists can take several steps to enhance their career prospects and earning potential:

  • Advanced Certifications: Seeking advanced certifications, such as Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) or Sports Certified Specialist (SCS), can boost a physical therapist's expertise and make them more desirable to employers willing to pay higher salaries for specialized skills.

  • Post-Graduate Education: Pursuing post-graduate education, such as a Doctor of Science (DSc) or a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy, not only opens doors to research and teaching opportunities but also increases the chances of higher-paying roles in academia and research institutions.

  • Specialization Opportunities: Embracing specialization within a niche area of physical therapy allows therapists to develop unique skills, positioning themselves as experts in a specific field. This expertise can lead to higher demand and better compensation.

Check out: Top Physical Therapist Interview Questions with Example Answers

Unconventional Paths to Boost Physical Therapist Salary

Beyond traditional roles, physical therapists can explore unconventional ways to increase their earnings:

  • Telehealth and Online Services: The rise of telehealth and online platforms provide physical therapists with opportunities to offer virtual consultations, workshops, and exercise programs, expanding their reach and potential income sources.

  • Research and Publication: Engaging in research and contributing to scholarly publications not only advances the profession but also enhances a physical therapist's reputation and may lead to additional opportunities for consulting and speaking engagements.

  • Continuing Education Instruction: Physical therapists can become educators themselves by teaching continuing education courses or workshops. Sharing their expertise in this way not only increases their income but also helps contribute to the growth of the profession.

Also read: What is research experience on a resume and why is research experience important?

FAQs on Physical Therapist Salary

In conclusion, understanding the complexities of physical therapist salaries is essential for making informed career decisions.

The physical therapist average salary can vary significantly based on factors such as education, experience, location, and specialization.

Exploring career growth opportunities, pursuing specialized certifications, and embracing unique income-generating avenues can all contribute to a fulfilling and financially rewarding career in physical therapy.

Let’s check out some FAQs related to physical therapist salary:

How much do physical therapists make?

The average salary of a physical therapist is $85,845 per year in the United States.

Which type of physiotherapist earns the most?

The top five types of physical therapists with the highest income grade are sports medicine, cardiovascular, geriatrics, neurology, and pediatrics.

Is physical therapy a good career in the USA?

Yes, physical therapy can be a rewarding career in the USA, offering opportunities to help people regain mobility and improve their quality of life. It typically requires a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and offers competitive salaries and job prospects.

Optimize your physical therapist salary potential with the help of Hiration’s ChatGPT-powered career service platform.

It will cater to all your professional needs - from building a shortlist-worthy resume and cover letter to optimizing your LinkedIn profile, preparing for interviews, and more!

For any queries or concerns, feel free to drop a mail at support(at)hiration(dot)com.

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