Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapists was $89,440 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,120 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,740.
The top paying industry was nursing and residential care facilities, where the median annual salary was $95,540. This is followed by home healthcare services, where the median annual salary was $94,080. Next was hospitals ($91,260) and then offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists ($85,130).
Autonomy and Flexibility
Physical therapists have a lot of control over the sessions they plan, and how they plan them. However, client autonomy is a key part of best practice in physical therapy and therefore, physical therapists must ensure that their clients remain in control of their decisions and always have the final say. Many physical therapists will become self-employed. Therefore, they will have control over their schedule, the clients they meet and how they plan their day.
Locations and commute
According to Zippia, the best states to be a physical therapist, based on salary and total number of jobs, were:
- Alaska, where the average annual salary is $97,785
- Nevada, where the average annual salary is $84,348
- Wyoming, where the average annual salary is $76,754
- New Mexico, where the average annual salary is $75,939
- California, where the average annual salary is $99,800
The worst states for physical therapists were Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Rhode Island and Vermont.
33% of physical therapists in the United States worked for offices of physical, occupational and speech therapists, and audiologists. 26% were employed by hospitals, 11% by home healthcare services, 8% were self-employed workers and 6% were employed by nursing and residential care services.
Physical therapists spend much of their time on their feet. They are vulnerable to injuries because physical therapists must lift and move patients. As part of their training, however, they will be taught proper lifting and body mechanic techniques.