Physical Therapist Salaries, Job Outlook, and Best Job Markets

by Digby_Adams

Find out the salary ranges for physical therapists, the job outlook for the next 10 years, and where they make the most money.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there were about 185,500 physical therapist jobs available in 2008. The actual number of physical therapists is probably less than that because physical therapists may hold more that one job - working part-time in both private practice and a hospital.The median annual salary for a physical therapist was $72,790. The need for physical therapy is expected to skyrocket as the United States population ages. By 2018 the BLS estimates that there will be 241,700 physical therapists - a 30% increase of 56,200

Physical Therapist Salaries by Type of Work Setting

In May 2008, the BLS estimated the median annual wages of physical therapists to be $72,790. Mean is just another way of measuring the average. So the distribution of those wages is an eye-opener. Physical therapists in the middle 50% made between $60,300 and $85,540. Those in the bottom 10% made less than $50,350, while those in the top 10% earned more than $104,350

Which type of office, institution. or therapeutic setting a physical therapist decides to work in will also determine their salary potential.

Home Health Care Services $77,630
Nursing Care Facilities $76,680
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $73,270
Doctor's Offices $72,790
Offices of Other Healthcare Practitioners $71,400

US States with the Highest Physical Therapist Salaries

Alaska, New Jersey, Texas, Delaware, and Maryland

Physical Therapist Salaries by Best Paying States

The 420 physical therapists who call Alaska home can expect a mean annual salary of $92,720. The highest in the United States. Across the country in New Jersey, there are 6,330 physical therapists jobs with a mean annual salary of $87,270. A physical therapist willing to live in Texas can expect a annual salary of about $86,390. There are 11,870 physical therapist jobs in Texas. Back in the Middle Atlantic States, small Delaware provides 590 physical therapist jobs with a mean annual wage of $86,360. Nearby in Maryland, its 3,770 physical therapist jobs have a mean annual wage of 84,960.

Where Physical Therapists Prefer Working

Physical Therapists are well-paid professionals wherever they choose to work and many have chosen not to work in the highest paid areas. The chart below shows the states that have the most physical therapists working in them and the annual mean salaries that they receive.

State #Jobs Employment
per Thousand Jobs
Location Quotient Annual Mean Salary
California 14,860 1.06 .75 $84,600
New York 13,740 1.65 1.16 $77,160
Texas 11,870 1.18 .83 $86,390
Florida 11,070 1.56 1.10 $81,410
Pennsylvania 9,160 1.67 1.18 $76,220

First, the table above gives the states where the most physical therapists work. These are all very large states with large populations. So do more physical therapists work there when compared to the size of the populations. That's where the Location Quotient is helpful. It compares the state concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. If a state has a Location Quotient Greater than 1 (New York, Florida and Pennsylvania) then it has more than it's share of physical therapists. If a state has a Location Quotient less than 1 (California and Texas), then it has less than its share.

The physical therapists in these states generally make salaries that are in line with the middle 50 percent. Remember the wage distribution - physical therapists in the middle 50% made between $60,300 and $85,540.The only exception to this is Texas where the make slightly more.

The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission Metropolitan Statistical Area, located in Texas, has the highest paying physical therapist jobs in the country. Physical therapists there can expect to make about $58.02 an hour or about $120,690 a year. Of the 7 highest paid metropolitan areas in the United States, 5 are located in Texas.

States with the Highest Concentration of Physical Therapists

Another way to look at employment for physical therapists is to find the states that have more than their expected share of physical therapists. Surprisingly these states are all in New England. Rhode Island is the only New England state to have less than it's share. Both New Hampshire (Annual Mean Salary - $71,910) and Massachusetts ($75,190) have a Location Quotient of 1.52. Connecticut ($81,790) isn't far behind with a Location Quotient of 1.51. Vermont ($67,430) post a Location Quotient of 1.49 and Maine ($72,470) 1.44.

New England States and Physical Therapist Salaries

Updated: 03/25/2012, Digby_Adams
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