In May of 2014, an analysis of physical therapist assistant salaries across the nation was performed by the United States Department of Labor revealed that the average annual salary for PTAs in the state of Illinois was $51,160, or approximately $24.60 per hour.
The report highlighted how salaries differed depending upon a PTA’s experience and specialization. Recent graduates that were newly licensed in Illinois were offered starting salaries that ranged from $26,390 to $39,610, annually. The higher salaries accounted for those who were starting their careers in larger hospital systems and outpatient clinics specializing in physical therapy, sports medicine and orthopedics. PTAs at a mid-career standing in Illinois earned an average annual salary of $52,650, while those with a high level of experience and specialty career focuses enjoyed an average salary of $73,310 in 2014.
Demand for PTAs Far Outweighs the Number of Active Licensees in Illinois
A November 2015 article published in the Peoria Journal Star showed that the demand for healthcare workers, including physical therapist assistants, is just not being met in Illinois. There are far too many job openings and not enough qualified professionals to fill them.
Major hospitals, like St. John’s in Springfield, took to providing luncheons for students at local Universities, with the goal of recruiting soon-to-be graduates straight out of school. Other hospitals and clinics, like UnityPoint Health Methodist Hospital in Peoria, went so far as to offer signing bonus to nurses, physical therapists, and physical therapist assistants entering the workplace.
Illinois has no shortage of job opportunities for physical therapist assistants and that fact is not going to change any time soon.
Physical Therapist Assistant Salaries in Illinois’ Major Metropolitan and Non-Metropolitan Regions
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2014 salary survey for Illinois, salaries differed throughout the state. Unlike many states where salaries trended higher in rural, underserved areas experiencing the greatest need for licensed PTAs, employers in Illinois’s most populated metro areas tended to pay the most. For example, the average PTA salary in the bustling metropolitan division of Chicago-Joliet-Naperville was $52,840 ($25.40/hr.) in 2014. By way of comparison, PTAs in Rockford reported an average annual salary of $48,490 ($23.31), and those employed in the non-metropolitan area of West Central Illinois earned $49,670, annually ($23.88/hr).
A detailed analysis of salaries for physical therapist assistants in all metro and non-metro divisions throughout Illinois is posted below (Data provided by the United States Department of Labor, May 2014):