You’ve been considering a career in physical therapy, but is it worth all the years of studying and training?
We say yes—especially if you love helping others. A physical therapist (PT) is a medical professional who helps you rehabilitate after an illness, accident, or injury. With a customized treatment plan, you can increase mobility and reduce pain.
However, one key factor in deciding if you want to study physical therapy is money. When it comes to physical therapist salaries, how much money do they earn?
To find out more, keep reading to find out average salaries, plus factors that determine how much PTs get paid.
What Are the Average Physical Therapist Salaries in the US?
If you’re a physical therapist, how much will you earn? While no one goes into the medical profession just to make money, it’s still helpful to have a rough idea of how much money you can earn in the field.
In the US, physical therapists earn around $91,000 per year, which works out to about $44.00 per hour. However, most PTs are hired on a permanent basis, meaning they receive a salary plus benefits (like health insurance), rather than just their hourly rate.
Of course, some people will learn less and some will learn more, but on average, you can expect to earn a lucrative salary once you’re a qualified physical therapist.
What Factors Determine a Physical Therapist’s Salary?
While earning a salary of around $90k per year sounds amazing, remember that there are lots of factors that determine how much someone earns.
Like in any profession, not everyone earns the same amount of money for the same jobs, so here are a few factors that make an impact on your salary.
When you’ve just finished college and are starting to work, you’ll probably be on the lower end of the pay scale. This is normal though, as entry-level salaries are often lower.
Experience plays a big role in how much money you earn, but over time, you’ll move up to higher-paid positions. As your experience grows, you might also be promoted to positions with more responsibility, like management, which can boost your income as well.
When you’re just starting out, be patient! After a few years of working hard and learning on the job, you’ll start to see promotions coming your way.
Your location also plays a big role in your earnings. Often, major metropolitan cities have higher costs of living, which means employers need to pay higher wages to attract qualified workers.
However, that’s not to say you still can’t do well in regional areas or smaller towns. It all comes down to your employer, your experience, and the socioeconomic demographics of the area you’re working in.
Some of the highest-paying states for PTs include California, Nevada, and Alaska. If you’re considering relocation to a new area, do plenty of research first to make sure you can earn a similar income in a new area.
Area of Focus
If you have a very specific skill set as a physical therapist, you can often command a higher salary. This is particularly true if there is a shortage of qualified workers in your specific field, since it makes you in higher demand.
Type of Employer
Sometimes, salaries will also vary based on the type of employer. You might work for a private facility, government hospital, or a low-cost medical clinic.
All have varying annual budgets, which can put constraints on how much pay they can offer their staff.
Once I Become a Physical Therapist, How Can I Increase My Earnings?
There’s no shortcut to success—it all comes down to hard work and a passion for helping others! If you continue to work hard, you’ll get promoted and move up in your field.
Eventually, you might want to open your own physical therapy clinic. This can be a fantastic way to increase your earnings since business owners have unlimited income potential.
Of course, owning your own business can bring challenges as well, but it’s one of the best ways to earn high salaries too.
How Can I Become A Physical Therapist?
If you’re eager to become a physical therapist, the first step is to earn a degree. Start with an undergraduate degree in a related field, like health, science, or medicine.
Then, complete postgraduate studies to gain specialization in physical therapy. This is because the ultimate goal is to receive a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, although it requires several years of hard work and studying.
The final step is taking the NPTE exam, which stands for National Physical Therapy Examination.
To get your physical therapy license, you’ll need to pass the NPTE. It can be a stressful time, so you’ll want to do plenty of studying and preparation—working with NPTE tutors can help.
Make This the Year You Start Your Physical Therapy Career
Now that you know more about physical therapist salaries, are you ready to enter the profession? If so, start by researching educational programs in your area.
Whether you’re just out of high school or you already have an undergraduate degree, plenty of schools offer PT degrees to help you get into the field. With an aging population, the profession is likely to increase in demand over time, so now is an ideal time to earn your PT degree!
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