Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $58,790 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,450 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,840.
The top paying industry was nursing care facilities, where the median annual salary was $66,840. This is followed by home healthcare services ($63,200), offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists ($57,520), hospitals ($57,140) and then offices of physicians ($55,490).
Autonomy and Flexibility
The autonomy and flexibility of a physical therapist assistant depends on where they work. Some physical therapist assistants who work in locations, where they are given more responsibility by the physical therapist assistant who supervises them, will have more autonomy and flexibility than other physical therapist assistants. However, generally speaking, physical therapist assistants will have control over their decisions. But, this is limited by the need to consult senior physical therapist assistant. Flexibility is perhaps lower, as physical therapist assistants will normally always work in busy settings and will have little control over the hours they work.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a physical therapist assistant, based on salary and total number of jobs, were:
- Mississippi, where the average annual salary is $57,837
- Alabama, where the average annual salary is $57,601
- South Carolina, where the average annual salary is $56,706
- Kentucky, where the average annual salary is $57,045
- Oregon, where the average annual salary is $58,939
The worst states for physical therapist assistants were New York, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida and Illinois.
46% of physical therapist assistants in the United States worked for offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists. 23% were employed by hospitals, 10% by nursing care facilities, 8% were employed by home healthcare services and a final 5% by offices physicians.
Physical therapist assistants will spend much of their time on their feet and will be constantly moving around and setting up equipment. They are also vulnerable to injuries because physical therapist assistants need to lift and move patients. As part of their training, however, they will be taught proper lifting and body mechanic techniques.