2023 Guide: How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? (2024)

Physical Therapy PT

| 26 July 2023

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

2023 Guide: How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? (1)

Physical therapy (PT) is a crucial field of healthcare that focuses on improving the mobility, function and quality of life for individuals recovering from injuries or managing chronic conditions. With the demand for rehabilitative services on the rise, physical therapy has become an increasingly sought-after career path.

Earning a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree prepares you for a career in a growing and profitable industry. However, you may be wondering how much physical therapists make and what you can do with a physical therapy degree.

In this guide, learn about the top-paying PT specialties, as well as pay ranges for different specializations, how to get a higher PT salary and other tips to further your career in the field.

Top-Paying Physical Therapy Specialties

2023 Guide: How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? (2)

The median annual salary for U.S.-based PTs is $97,960 as of 2022. The top 10% of PTs earned more than $128,830 annually1.

Keep in mind that average PT salaries do not take into account location, years of experience, facility type or credentials, or specialization. While there’s no simple answer to the highest-paying specialty, there are skill set and employer preference indicators. The top-paying PT industries as of May 2022 include1:

  1. Outpatient Care Centers
    • Annual mean salary: $118,800
  2. Home Healthcare Services
    • Annual mean salary: $113,970
  3. Educational Support Services
    • Annual mean salary: $110,390
  4. Individual and Family Services
    • Annual mean salary: $108,100
  5. Nursing Care Facilities
    • Annual mean salary: $103,590

Physical Therapist Salaries by State

RankState2022 Annual Mean Salary
1California$114,230
2Nevada$105,880
3New Jersey$105,430
4Alaska$104,470
5Connecticut$103,920
6New York$103,580
7Texas$102,300
8Washington$101,130
9Hawaii$100,130
10Arizona$99,980
11Illinois$99,420
12Pennsylvania$97,490
13Alabama$97,120
14Virginia$96,900
15Georgia$96,670
16Mississippi$96,520
17Delaware$96,460
18Maryland$96,250
19Colorado$96,170
20Oregon$96,010
21Ohio$95,870
22Louisiana$95,820
23Massachusetts$95,780
24Rhode Island$94,620
25Arkansas$93,160
26Wisconsin$93,010
27West Virginia$93,000
28Indiana$92,790
29North Carolina$92,200
30New Mexico$92,050
31Nebraska$91,990
32Kansas$91,930
33Florida$91,730
34Tennessee$91,630
35Utah$91,570
36New Hampshire$91,230
37Oklahoma$91,100
38Wyoming$90,910
39Missouri$89,790
40Michigan$89,570
41Minnesota$89,130
42Idaho$88,750
43Vermont$88,310
44South Carolina$88,170
45Iowa$88,120
46South Dakota$88,010
47Maine$86,600
48Kentucky$86,220
49Montana$85,530
50North Dakota$83,060
51Puerto Rico$48,820

Board-Certified Specialization Salaries

2023 Guide: How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? (3)

Curious how salaries differ between PT specializations? There are ten clinical specialties2 offered by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Specialist Certification program for physical therapists.

Salaries will vary depending on location, skills and job type. Here are the average salaries for these specializations in the U.S.:

  1. Wound Management
    • Average annual salary: $72,0003
  2. Geriatrics
    • Average annual salary: $76,0004
  3. Orthopedics
    • Average annual salary: $81,0005
  4. Sports
    • Average annual salary: $75,0006
  5. Clinical Electrophysiology
    • Average annual salary: $75,0007
  6. Neurology
    • Average annual salary: $74,0008
  7. Oncology
    • Average annual mean salary: $77,0009
  8. Pediatrics
    • Average annual salary: $70,00010
  9. Women’s Health
    • Average annual salary: $146,12111

How To Get a Higher PT Salary

2023 Guide: How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? (4)

Increasing your PT salary and advancing your PT opportunities may require a combination of several factors, including:

  • Experience
  • Education
  • Specialization
  • Market demand

Continually investing in your professional growth, refining your skills and seeking opportunities to advance your career will contribute to your long-term earning potential as a physical therapist. Below are some helpful tips for getting a higher PT salary.

Leverage Your Specialty With Other Industries

If you’re aiming for a higher PT salary, you can get ahead by combining management with PT practice. You can consider the following roles and average annual salaries:

  • Rehabilitation Director: $92,37312
  • Physical Therapy Director: $91,89413
  • Director of Managed Care: $123,21914
  • Senior Director of Clinical Services: $134,49816

Interested in a career in research and health sciences? The average annual salary for a medical science liaison is $95,31016.

Find the Right Home for Your Specialty

Another way to maximize your earnings is geographic targeting, or learning where physical therapists can work. PT salaries vary by city and state and do not always align with the cost of living.

Look at nationwide salary averages reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and follow up with cost-of-living comparisons to identify prime opportunities, then investigate specialties to evaluate specific salaries in those locations.

Negotiate Your PT Salary

Lastly, when accepting a new PT job or negotiating a salary increase, be prepared to advocate for yourself. To ensure you’re prepared to do so, be sure to research salary ranges for PTs in your area and use that information to support your case.

Highlight your qualifications, experience and any additional value you bring to the role. It’s essential to be confident and assertive during the negotiation process.

Physical Therapist Salary FAQ

Still curious about the physical therapist profession? Below are answers to some frequently asked questions when it comes to physical therapists.

What Do the Highest 10% of PTs Earn?

According to the BLS, the top 10% of PTs earn more than $128,830 annually1. Keep in mind that PT salary averages do not take into account location, years of experience, facility type or credentials, or specialization.

What Type of PT Makes the Most?

Physical therapists who work in outpatient care centers make the most out of all of the PT specialties1. As of May 2022, the annual mean salary for U.S.-based physical therapists working in outpatient care centers was $118,8001.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Physical Therapist?

There are many benefits and reasons to become a physical therapist, including:

  • The ability to help others: PTs have many qualities that make them great at helping people. Whether it’s recovering from injuries, regaining mobility, managing chronic conditions or improving their overall physical well-being, you contribute to their current and future quality of life.
  • Varied work environments: PTs are able to choose their work settings, which can include home health agencies, nursing homes, private clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and sports facilities. This diversity allows for a range of experiences and the ability to choose something that aligns with your interests and career goals.
  • Growth opportunities: PT offers numerous opportunities for professional advancement. You can pursue specialized certifications, take on leadership roles, engage in research or academia, or start your own practice.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: PTs typically operate as part of a multidisciplinary team, collaborating with physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, speech therapists and other healthcare professionals. This teamwork provides opportunities for learning, exchanging ideas and delivering comprehensive care to patients.
  • Competitive salary: PTs typically enjoy a competitive salary as demand continues to increase—the BLS projects a 17% employment growth for physical therapists between 2021 and 203117.

While salaries can vary depending on factors such as experience, specialization, location and setting, the profession generally offers a respectable income level.

Become a Physical Therapist Today With USAHS

Choose a hands-on DPT program at the largest physical therapy school in the United States to earn your Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.* At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, you’ll learn under expert faculty practitioners within a collaborative peer network.

With hands-on health science training and patient care simulation centers, you’ll learn the intricacies of anatomy with high-tech tools. You’ll also be ready to take on advanced roles in research, practice leadership and policymaking.

Visit us today to learn more about the DPT program, attend a free webinar or start your application—we’re here to answer your physical therapy-related questions, whether you’re wondering how much PT school is or where physical therapists can work.

*Based on total DPT degrees conferred, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data is captured by IPEDS through interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The information provided on this website is based on self-reported data and is intended for general informational purposes only. PayScale is a limited data source that relies on voluntary submissions from individuals and employers.

Please be aware that the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the data may vary due to its voluntary nature and limited scope. While efforts are made to maintain the data’s accuracy, we cannot guarantee its absolute correctness or currency.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Physical Therapists,” Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, last modified April 25, 2023, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm
  2. American Physical Therapy Association, “Specialist Certification,” last modified 2023, https://www.apta.org/your-career/career-advancement/specialist-certification
  3. Payscale, “Average Physical Therapist (PT) with Wound Care Skills Hourly Pay,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Hourly_Rate/401ff148/Wound-Care
  4. Payscale, “Average Physical Therapist (PT) with Geriatrics Skills Hourly Pay” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Hourly_Rate/7faeabf6/Geriatrics
  5. Payscale, “Salary for Certification: Physical Therapist – Orthopaedic Certified Specialist (PT-OCS)”, last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Physical_Therapist_-_Orthopaedic_Certified_Specialist_(PT-OCS)/Salary
  6. Payscale, “Average Sports Physical Therapist Salary,” Sports Physical Therapist, last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Sports_Physical_Therapist/Salary
  7. Payscale, “Salary for Certification: Physical Therapist – Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist (PT-ECS),” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Physical_Therapist_-_Clinical_Electrophysiologic_Certified_Specialist_(PT-ECS)/Salary
  8. Payscale, “Average Physical Therapist (PT) with Neurology Clinic Skills Salary, last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Salary/eebbcf96/Neurology-Clinic
  9. Payscale, “Average Physical Therapist (PT) with Oncology Skills Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Hourly_Rate/68a83d62/Oncology
  10. Payscale, “Average Pediatric Physical Therapist with Physical Therapy Skills Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Pediatric_Physical_Therapist/Salary/8990a3b6/Physical-Therapy
  11. Payscale, “Salary for Certification: Physical Therapist – Women’s Health Specialists,” last modified, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Physical_Therapist_-_Women%27s_Health_Specialist/Salary
  12. Payscale, “Average rehabilitation Director Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Rehabilitation_Director/Salary
  13. Payscale, “Average Director, Physical Therapy Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Director%2C_Physical_Therapy/Salary
  14. Payscale, “Average Director of Managed Care Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Director_of_Managed_Care/Salary
  15. Payscale, “Average Senior Director, Clinical Services Salary,” last modified 2023, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Senior_Director%2C_Clinical_Services/Salary
  16. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, “Medical Scientists,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, last modified 2023, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/medical-scientists.htm
  17. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Physical Therapists,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, last modified September 2022, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm
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