How Much Do Physical Therapists Make?

Whether you’re thinking about making a switch into physical therapy or it’s something that you are currently considering as your career, one of the biggest questions that you might currently be wondering is how much money you can expect to make with this career choice.

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make
How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? 5

Known to be one of the most fulfilling careers, physical therapists are known for their ability to help people recover from injury, live healthier lifestyles and just generally enjoy an improved sense of wellbeing across all areas of their lives. But, how much money do they make?

This is what we are here to answer. In this guide, we are going to be taking a closer look at what a physical therapist’s role consists of, where they can practice as well as how much money they make on average (see also “How Much Do Chiropractors Make?“). So, without further ado, just keep on reading.

What Do Physical Therapists Do?

Essentially, physical therapists are trained professionals that have been given the proper training necessary in order to be able to help take care of patients throughout all the various stages of their healing.

This includes everything from the initial diagnosis that the patient might have received all the way to both restorative and preventative stages of the recovery of said diagnosis. Below, here is quick breakdown of what a physical therapist does:

  • Helping to diagnose movement dysfunction and then work with the patient to achieve a treatment plan.
  • Teaching patients how to correctly use the different therapeutic exercise techniques that the physical therapist will use during the PT sessions.
  • Helping to promote healing and encourage a more effective recovery process through massage and other forms of stimulation.
  • Assist patients with the use of various forms of equipment. This can be anything from wheelchairs to walkers and can vary from patient to patient. 

That being said, in order to become a physical therapist, it will be necessary for individuals to undergo training in order to become a qualified physical therapist and able to start practicing in their chosen specialty.

Even though there are many different types of physical therapists, all of them will be required to receive training that will allow them to, at the very least, be able to offer their patients the following:

  • The ability to be able to conduct both a physical exam of the patient, as well as effectively evaluate a proper treatment plan to help aid in the recovery of the injury or health issue. This will include everything from joint motion, muscle motion, flexibility and overall movement ability.
  • A clinical diagnosis of what the issue is, as well as a plan of action that will consist of both short and long term goals to help improve patient wellbeing while also aiding in overall recovery.
  • Be able to perform proper physical therapy treatment, while also recommending a variety of physical therapy exercises to do at home.

Due to all we have spoken about above, it’s worth noting that physical therapy can sometimes be a standalone form of treatment, but in some instances, physical therapy might also be used in order to support other types of treatment.

Additionally, you should also keep in mind that some doctors might refer a patient to a physical therapist, or alternatively a patient might choose to seek out treatment themselves.

This means that the amount that a physical therapist can expect to make might vary depending on a variety of factors, which brings us to our next point. 

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make?

How Much Do Physical Therapists Make
How Much Do Physical Therapists Make? 6

So, how much do physical therapists make? Well, there’s simply no denying that the field of physical therapy has increased tenfold over the last few decades. Thanks to this, it means that the future of this particular career path has become more and more lucrative.

Just to give you an idea, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment rate of physical therapists is expected to grow 28% between 2016 to 2026 – which is a lot higher than the average of other occupations.

According to some data taken from the Bureau Labor Statistics in 2021, the average annual wage of physical therapists is around $95,620. This is the median wage, which means that it is the wage currently at which half of the workers within the occupation earned more than, while the other half earned less than this figure.

To give you a wider idea of how much physical therapists tend to make, the lowest 10 percent of physical therapists earned $61,930 in 2021 (during May time, when the data was taken) while the highest 10 percent of earners working as physical therapists earned an impressive average of $127,110 and upwards.

Still, despite the fact that working as a physical therapist is clearly very lucrative and has the potential to offer an excellent income earning potential each year – it is important to keep in mind that there are a variety of different factors that can contribute to how much a physical therapist can expect  to earn.

For example, one of the biggest factors that can influence how much a physical therapist will earn is where you live, while other factors such as whether or not the patient has seeked out the treatment privately or through their healthcare insurance will also play a part (see also “How Much Do Insurance Agents Make?“).

The Bottom Line

There we have it! You’ve made it to the end of our guide. Now that you have taken the time to read through everything that we have talked about above, we now hope that you have a much better understanding of how much a physical therapist makes.

If you are currently considering a career switch into physical therapy, you’ll have the potential to earn a very lucrative salary, but remember to keep in mind that salary can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as where you plan to practice.

Thank you for reading! 

Jason Sullivan
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