Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

Physical therapy continues to be a popular—and, many times, lucrative—field, as is reflected by BLS statistics.

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Jobs for physical therapist assistants are expected to increase much faster than the average for all jobs between 2012 and 2022. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a tremendous 41 percent increase in the number of physical therapist assistant jobs nationwide during this ten-year period. There were 71,400 physical therapist assistants working in the U.S. in 2012; by 2022, this number is expected to increase to 100,700.

The average annual salary for physical therapist assistants nationwide was $54,330, as of May 2014. The BLS also reported that the top 10 percent of physical therapist assistants earned more than $75,530 during the same time.

Similarly, the ADVANCE for Physical Therapy 2013 Salary Survey revealed an average, annual salary of $54,520 for physical therapist assistants.

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Trends

The more recent ADVANCE for Physical Therapy 2013 Salary Survey found that salaries for physical therapist assistants varied according to geography, experience, and even gender. For example, the survey revealed the following:

Geography

Like most service-oriented professions, salaries among physical therapist assistants vary according to the area of the country in which they work:

  • Forty-five percent of all physical therapist assistants worked in the suburbs, followed by 35.5 percent in urban settings, and 19 percent in rural locations. However, physical therapist assistants working in urban settings earned, on average, more than their urban and suburban counterparts did.
  • About 5 percent of physical therapist assistants in the South and West earned between $85,000 and $100,000 in 2012.
  • The southern region of the U.S. was home to the most physical therapist assistants in 2012; the South also had the highest concentration of physical therapist assistants—28 percent—earning between $55,000 and $65,000 annually.
  • The western and southern areas of the country were the only regions where physical therapist assistants earned more than $100,000.
  • Physical therapist assistants in the Midwest were the most likely to earn less than $45,000 per year.

Gender – Physical therapy continues to be a female-dominated profession. According to the ADVANCE for Physical Therapy 2012 Salary Survey, the majority of women worked as physical therapists vs. physical therapist assistants (1,058 vs. 348 of surveyed practitioners), while the majority of men worked as physical therapist assistants, with far fewer working as physical therapists (463 vs. 118 of surveyed practitioners).

Experience – As would be expected, experience plays a large role in physical therapist assistant salaries.

For example, the ADVANCE salary survey found that nearly 81 percent of all physical therapist assistants practicing for more than 21 years earned more than $65,000, while just 40 percent of those with less than 5 years of experience earned that much.

Education – One of the factors where salary differences were not as evident was education.

About 38 percent of physical therapist assistants who held an associate’s degree (the minimum educational requirement to become a physical therapist assistant) as their terminal degree earned $55,000 or more in 2012, compared to 45 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree.

BLS Salary Statistics for Physical Therapist Assistants

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) broke down salaries for physical therapist assistants by industry, revealing the following as top-paying industries for these healthcare professionals, as of May 2014:

  • Home healthcare services: $62,810
  • Employment services: $62,040
  • Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities): $60,840
  • Continuing care retirement communities/assisted living facilities: $57,800

The BLS also found that physical therapist assistants earned the highest, average salaries in the following states:

  • Texas: $69,370
  • California: $64,850
  • New Jersey: $61,630
  • Alaska: $61,520
  • Florida: $60,290

Similar to the ADVANCE survey, the BLS revealed that many of the highest paying salaries for physical therapist assistants were in the southern and western regions of the U.S. (both metropolitan and nonmetropolitan):

Metropolitan Areas

  • Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas: $91,930
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida: $80,160
  • Modesto, California: $78,690
  • Corpus Christi, Texas: $76,460
  • Kokomo, Indiana: $73,760
  • El Paso, Texas: $73,590
  • Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas: $72,960
  • Tyler, Texas: $72,940
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas: $71,680
  • Columbia, South Carolina: $70,120

Nonmetropolitan Areas

  • Gulf Coast Texas: $83,300
  • North Central Texas: $70,540
  • Eastern Texas: $66,360
  • South Florida: $64,650
  • Northwest Florida: $64,200

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a full analysis of salaries for physical therapist assistants throughout the United States in the table below (2014):

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Alabama
1910
52600
Alaska
50
61520
Arizona
1290
41180
Arkansas
1130
50400
California
4720
64850
Colorado
1000
49220
Connecticut
570
52360
Delaware
210
56550
District of Columbia
100
50380
Florida
4940
60290
Georgia
1260
56440
Hawaii
340
34570
Idaho
270
51790
Illinois
3690
51160
Indiana
1910
55140
Iowa
950
47140
Kansas
1100
55170
Kentucky
1550
52040
Louisiana
970
42570
Maine
270
50730
Maryland
1370
56310
Massachusetts
2240
57120
Michigan
3670
43950
Minnesota
1230
49320
Mississippi
840
46270
Missouri
1940
50240
Montana
160
43330
Nebraska
570
50180
Nevada
400
56710
New Hampshire
510
51170
New Jersey
1220
61630
New Mexico
340
42490
New York
4160
52510
North Carolina
2430
57550
North Dakota
120
54770
Ohio
5190
57400
Oklahoma
910
53900
Oregon
530
53440
Pennsylvania
4650
45320
Puerto Rico
580
22670
Rhode Island
310
49920
South Carolina
1370
56570
South Dakota
230
34760
Tennessee
2380
53450
Texas
5760
69370
Utah
460
49030
Vermont
130
51930
Virginia
2060
53420
Washington
1270
55450
West Virginia
840
45830
Wisconsin
1260
49420
Wyoming
120
49470

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