According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists make a median annual salary of $87,930.
Explore this Guide:
- How Much Do Physical Therapists Make a Year?
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make a Month?
- How Much Do Physical Therapists Make a Week?
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make an Hour?
- Physical Therapist Pay by Location
- Physical Therapist Pay by Experience
What Do Physical Therapist Do?
Physical therapists are like therapists of the body. They help patients who are sick or injured regain mobility, improve their physical health, rehabilitate, reacclimate to a new mode of life, or manage physical pain and other symptoms.
Physical therapists might treat back and neck injuries, sprains, strains, fractures, broken bones, arthritis, amputations, or neurological disorders and injuries. They might work for a company, a hospital, a healthcare facility, or in the sports industry.
Physical therapists might treat their patients through exercise, training, or using equipment like crutches, canes, wheelchairs, and walkers.
How to Become a Physical Therapist
1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
To become a physical therapist you’ll need to get accepted into a physical therapist program. In order to get your application accepted you’ll need to first get a bachelor’s degree and get certain courses under your belt, like anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, or physiology.
2. Get a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree (DPT)
Once you have a bachelor’s degree you can apply for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. The program you take needs to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
In order to get into one of these programs, you will most likely have to apply through the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service (PTCAS).
In this program, you’ll learn about biomechanics, neuroscience, and pharmacology. You will also probably do clinical work while getting your degree to get real-world experience.
3. Clinical Residency
Now that you are educated and prepared it’s time to put your practical knowledge to the full test in the field. These residencies are important because they provide supervised experience.
You can use the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education to find a residency program near you.
4. Get Licensed
Every state will require you to then get licensed as an official physical therapist. To get your physical therapist license you’ll have to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. This test is given by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.
Any other requirements will depend on the sate you wish to practice in.
You can also take things a step further and become specialized in an area of physical therapy like orthopedics, sports, or geriatrics, by getting certified with The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.
How long does it take to become a physical therapist?
Considering your time in college, getting your Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, and completing all your hours of clinical service, becoming a physical therapist can take up to 8 years.
Skills Physical Therapist Need
Communication Skills physical therapists have to be able to communicate effectively with their patients. They need to clearly explain treatment and plans for their care.
Compassion physical therapists have to deal with a lot of different health cases and they have to deal with them on a personal level. They treat patients who have lost limbs or have chronic illnesses. So they need a level of social abilities to interact in a warm welcoming way with all your cases.
Dexterity physical therapists do a lot of manual work with their patients. They use their hands to assist patients in stretches, exercises, and other kinds of treatments.
Physical Stamina during a typical workday physical therapists, much like doctors and nurses, are on their feet a lot throughout the day. They also do a lot of work that involves physical maneuvering as they help patients complete their treatment.
Resourcefulness physical therapists have to make customized treatment plans for every unique situation they come across. They have to be flexible and invent new techniques and technology to help treat each individual case. They need to be adaptable so they can work with every new case.
Different Kinds of Physical Therapists
There are other jobs available that are similar to physical therapy.
- How Much Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Make? $48,090
- How Much Does a Sports Physical Therapist Make? $47,510
- How Much Does an Orthopedic Physical Therapist Make? $71,243
- How Much Does a Rehabilitation Physical Therapist Make? $71,317
- How Much Does a Geriatric Physical Therapist Make? $78,136
- How Much Does an Acute Care Physical Therapist Make? $70,846
How Much Do Physical Therapists Make a Year?
In general, physical therapists make a median annual wage of about $87,930 per year. But the salary of a physical therapist can be higher or lower depending on where they live, whether they specialize, and how long they’ve been a physical therapist. For example, physical therapists in the lowest 10 percent earn about $60,390 a year, while physical therapists in the highest 10 percent can earn up to $123,350 a year.
How Much Do Physical Therapist Make a Month?
The monthly income of physical therapists in the lower 10 percent is around $5,032 per month, while the median monthly income for a physical therapist is $7,327 every month, and physical therapists in the highest 10 percent earn up to $10,279 a month.
How Much Do Physical Therapists Make a Week?
In one week a physical therapist in the lower 10% can expect to make about $1,228. Someone in the median salary range would then make about $1,568 a week and someone in the higher 90% range would make around $1,997 a week.
How Much Do Physical Therapist Make an Hour?
According to the BLS, physical therapists can expect to make an average wage of $42.27 per hour. PayScale offers very similar numbers with the lower 10% making $30.71 an hour, the median salary range making $39.21 an hour, and the higher 90% range making up to $49.93 an hour.
Physical Therapist Pay by Location
Some physical therapists make more money than others due to location.
- How Much Do Physical Therapists Make in Texas? $92,940
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in California? $97,110
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in Florida? $87,410
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in Ohio? $86,690
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in Nevada? $107,920
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in Alaska? $99,180
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in New Jersey? $97,770
- How Much Do Physical Therapist Make in New Mexico? $97,210
Physical Therapist Pay by Experience
If you have more experience as a physical therapist, then you’re also going to make a higher salary. For example, physical therapists with less than 1 year of experience make $66,085 a year, physical therapists with 1 to 4 years of experience make $69,331, physical therapists with 5 to 9 years of experience make $76,946, physical therapists with 10 to 19 years of experience make $82,735, and physical therapists with 20 years of experience or more make $86,380 a year.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Physical Therapists.”