The number of physical therapist assistants is rapidly increasing in Oklahoma according to the state’s Employment Security Commission. In fact, the Commission ranked the profession as number 8 on its list of fastest growing occupations in Oklahoma.
Physical therapist assistants in Oklahoma earned an average salary of $53,900 as of 2014. PTAs with salaries that fall within the top 25% are typically those with a fair amount of job experience, while those with salaries in the bottom 25% are generally quite new to the field. In Oklahoma, the more experienced group earned an average of $65,042 that year, while those with less experience earned an average of $44,596.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation in May 2014 that allows patients to directly access physical therapists without a referral from a physician. The Oklahoma Chapter of the APTA (OPTA) fought hard to bring this victory about. Both the Representative who authored HB 1020 and a coauthor are PTs themselves. This legislative change should greatly enhance the practice of physical therapy in Oklahoma.
Employment Growth Projections for Physical Therapist Assistants in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission expects that the number of jobs for physical therapist assistants in the state will increase by 37.04% between 2012 and 2022, a rate that is 3.7 times greater than Oklahoma’s average job growth rate. This level of growth should generate an average of 70 job openings each year for PTAs in Oklahoma.
More than two-thirds of the 910 physical therapist assistants who were employed in Oklahoma in 2014 were located in the three largest metropolitan areas of the state. In fact, 40% of Oklahoma’s PTAs were employed in Oklahoma City.
The industry sector that is expected to have the highest level of growth during this ten-year period includes the ambulatory healthcare services industry, the single top employer of PTAs. The expected job growth rate of 37.25% is expected to generate 26,690 jobs during the ten-year period of the analysis (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission). This sector includes such major employers as sports medicine and orthopedic specialty clinics.
Salaries for PTAs Throughout Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission provides salaries for physical therapist assistants in the state’s major cities in a report published in 2014. The report revealed that the average salary for PTAs was similar in Oklahoma’s major cities:
- Tulsa: $55,260
- Lawton: $54,930
- Oklahoma City: $51,390
For comparison, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed analysis of physical therapist assistants in Oklahoma’s urban and rural areas as of 2014. Physical therapist assistants in the nonmetropolitan area of Southwestern Oklahoma earned the highest average salary statewide: