The Nebraska Department of Labor expects the number of physical therapist assistants in the state to increase by 32% between 2010 and 2020, more than four and a half times faster than the state’s overall job growth rate. This level of growth is expected to result in an average of 39 job openings a year statewide.
The median salary among physical therapist assistants in Nebraska was $50,889 as of 2015 according to the state’s Department of Labor. Experienced physical therapist assistants in Nebraska whose salaries fell within the top ten percent earned an average of $58,203 that year, while those new to the profession, generally with salaries that fall within the bottom 10%, earned an average of $37,436.
Factors Contributing to Job Growth for PTAs in Nebraska
The healthcare industry is one of the five primary industry clusters that drive Nebraska’s economy according to the 2010 report A Competitive Advantage Assessment and Strategy for Nebraska. Prepared by the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, this report strongly advocates for a focused effort on expanding the existing healthcare systems in Nebraska as a way to improve the state’s economy.
In particular, Battelle’s analysis identified several target niches in Nebraska that are major employers of physical therapist assistants. One is the home health care service industry, which is the top paying industry for PTAs in the country according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nursing care facilities represent another targeted industry and employed the third highest number of physical therapist assistants nationwide in 2014 according to the BLS.
Economic forecasting from 2015 continues to project fast growth in the healthcare industry in Nebraska according to an analysis conducted jointly by the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and the Nebraska Business Forecast Council.
The Nebraska Physical Therapy Association (NPTA) recognizes an outstanding physical therapist assistant each year at its annual conference. The NPTA awarded the 2014 Clinical Excellence Award to Chera Tremblay for her strengths as both a PTA and instructor in addition to her many professional accomplishments.
Ms. Tremblay has a BS in exercise science and an AS degree in PTA. In addition to working as a physical therapist assistant, she also teaches clinical practicum and PTA therapeutic modalities. She is also active in professional associations such as the NPTA, American Physical Therapy Association, and the Omaha Sports Medicine Alliance.
How Location Affects the Salaries of Physical Therapist Assistants in Nebraska
While the median salary among physical therapist assistants was similar in Nebraska’s major cities, the salaries of experienced and entry-level PTAs varied significantly as of 2015 according to the state’s Department of Labor:
Shown below for comparison is a detailed analysis of the salaries for Nebraska’s physical therapist assistants as of 2014 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics):