How Much Do Physical Therapists Make Annually?

How much does a physical therapist make annually – Embark on a journey to unravel the financial realities of physical therapists, exploring the intricacies of their annual earnings. This comprehensive guide delves into the factors that shape their salaries, from experience and location to specialization and career progression. Join us as we uncover the monetary rewards that await these dedicated healthcare professionals.

Physical therapists play a crucial role in rehabilitating and improving the lives of countless individuals. Their expertise in movement, function, and pain management makes them invaluable members of the healthcare team. As we delve into the topic of their annual earnings, we gain a deeper understanding of the financial landscape they navigate.

Salary Ranges

Physical therapists’ salaries vary depending on several factors, including experience, location, and specialization. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for physical therapists in May 2021 was $95,620. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $61,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $135,310.


Physical therapists with more experience generally earn higher salaries. For example, those with less than 5 years of experience earned a median annual salary of $85,980, while those with 20 or more years of experience earned a median annual salary of $108,720.


The location of a physical therapist’s practice can also affect their salary. Physical therapists working in urban areas tend to earn higher salaries than those working in rural areas. For example, the median annual salary for physical therapists in New York City was $112,750 in May 2021, while the median annual salary for physical therapists in rural Wyoming was $83,220.


Physical therapists who specialize in certain areas, such as sports medicine or pediatrics, may earn higher salaries than those who work in general practice. For example, the median annual salary for physical therapists specializing in sports medicine was $101,440 in May 2021, while the median annual salary for physical therapists specializing in pediatrics was $97,950.

Geographic Variations

Physical therapist salaries can vary significantly across different geographic regions and states. Some areas offer higher salaries due to a higher demand for physical therapy services, a competitive job market, or a higher cost of living.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states with the highest mean annual salaries for physical therapists in May 2022 were:

  • California: $128,360
  • Alaska: $124,770
  • Washington: $123,740
  • Oregon: $123,340
  • Nevada: $122,960

In contrast, the states with the lowest mean annual salaries for physical therapists in May 2022 were:

  • Mississippi: $84,560
  • Arkansas: $85,440
  • Oklahoma: $85,910
  • South Dakota: $86,170
  • West Virginia: $86,460

These geographic variations in salaries can be attributed to several factors, including the cost of living, the availability of healthcare facilities, the number of practicing physical therapists in the area, and the overall economic conditions of the region.

Specialization Impact

Specialization within physical therapy significantly impacts earning potential. Advanced certifications, additional training, and expertise in specific areas lead to higher salaries.

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Specialized areas include:

  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Sports physical therapy

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, specialized physical therapists earn an average of 10-15% more than general practitioners.

Board Certification

Board certification demonstrates advanced clinical skills and knowledge. Certified physical therapists earn an average of $20,000 more annually than non-certified therapists.

Additional Training

Additional training in areas such as dry needling, manual therapy, or Pilates can further enhance earning potential.

Experience and Career Progression: How Much Does A Physical Therapist Make Annually

Experience plays a significant role in shaping the salary trajectory of physical therapists. As professionals gain experience and expertise, their earning potential tends to increase. This is attributed to their enhanced knowledge, skills, and contributions to patient care.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates a positive correlation between years of experience and salary levels for physical therapists. Physical therapists with less than five years of experience typically earn a lower median salary compared to those with more experience.

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Salary Increases Over Time

The BLS data reveals a gradual increase in median salaries for physical therapists as they gain more years of experience. For instance, physical therapists with 1-5 years of experience earn a median salary of around $95,000, while those with 10-15 years of experience earn approximately $105,000. Physical therapists with 20 or more years of experience command a median salary of around $115,000.

Career Progression Paths, How much does a physical therapist make annually

Physical therapists can advance their careers through various pathways, each with its own potential impact on earnings. Some common career progression paths include:

  • Clinical Specialist:Physical therapists who specialize in a particular area of practice, such as orthopedics or neurology, may earn higher salaries due to their specialized knowledge and skills.
  • Managerial Roles:Physical therapists with leadership and administrative abilities may pursue managerial positions, such as clinic director or department head, which typically offer higher salaries.
  • Research and Academia:Physical therapists engaged in research or teaching may earn higher salaries, depending on their qualifications and experience.
  • Private Practice:Physical therapists who establish their own private practices have the potential to earn higher incomes, but also face the challenges of running a business.

Industry and Setting

How much does a physical therapist make annually

The industry and setting where physical therapists work can significantly impact their salaries. Factors such as the type of facility, size of the organization, and location can all influence compensation.

Healthcare Facilities

  • Hospitals:Physical therapists working in hospitals typically earn higher salaries due to the complex and acute nature of the patients they treat. They may also have opportunities for overtime and specialized pay.
  • Clinics:Physical therapists in outpatient clinics generally earn less than those in hospitals. However, they may have more flexibility in their schedules and work environments.
  • Schools:Physical therapists employed by schools primarily work with children and adolescents. They may earn lower salaries than those in other settings, but they often have more opportunities for job security and benefits.
  • Other Healthcare Facilities:Physical therapists can also work in various other healthcare settings, such as rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and sports medicine clinics. Salaries in these settings may vary depending on the size and type of facility.

Non-Healthcare Industries

Some physical therapists also work in non-healthcare industries, such as fitness centers, corporate wellness programs, and insurance companies. Salaries in these settings may be lower than in traditional healthcare settings, but they can offer opportunities for different experiences and career growth.

Education and Credentials

How much does a physical therapist make annually

Education level and credentials play a significant role in determining physical therapist salaries. Higher education and additional certifications enhance earning potential and career advancement opportunities.

Physical therapists with a doctorate (DPT) typically earn higher salaries than those with a master’s degree (MPT). A DPT requires advanced coursework, research, and clinical experience, which prepares graduates for specialized roles and leadership positions.

Certifications and Continuing Education

Certifications and continuing education demonstrate a commitment to professional development and staying abreast of industry advancements. Certified physical therapists have undergone specialized training and passed exams to demonstrate their expertise in specific areas. Continuing education courses provide opportunities to enhance skills, knowledge, and earning potential.

Benefits and Compensation Packages

Physical therapists are offered a comprehensive range of benefits and compensation packages that contribute to their overall financial well-being. These packages typically include health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans.

Health Insurance

Health insurance provides coverage for medical expenses, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription drugs. This benefit is essential for physical therapists, who may be exposed to various physical risks and injuries during their work.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off allows physical therapists to take time off work for personal reasons, such as vacations, sick days, or family emergencies. This benefit helps to ensure that physical therapists can maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid burnout.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and pensions, help physical therapists save for their future financial security. These plans allow them to contribute a portion of their earnings to a tax-advantaged account that grows over time.


Make much physical therapists

In conclusion, the annual salary of a physical therapist is a multifaceted tapestry woven from experience, specialization, location, and industry. By understanding the intricacies of these factors, physical therapists can optimize their earning potential and secure a financially rewarding career path.

Answers to Common Questions

What is the average annual salary for physical therapists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for physical therapists in the United States is $95,620.

How does experience affect a physical therapist’s salary?

Physical therapists with more experience typically earn higher salaries. For example, those with 10 or more years of experience may earn an average of $110,000 per year.

How does location affect a physical therapist’s salary?

Salaries for physical therapists can vary significantly depending on location. For instance, physical therapists working in metropolitan areas tend to earn higher salaries than those in rural areas.

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