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  • The State of PT Pay: Banking Site Rates Median Pay Across US

    Want to go to where physical therapists (PTs) earn the most money? Go west, young PT—or at least as far west as New Jersey.

    A new report from GoBankingRates claims to list the "best- and worst-paying states for the top 20 jobs," physical therapy being among those in-demand careers. The interactive map can be filtered by occupation, pay differentials, median income, and other factors, and is based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The data do not include physical therapist assistants (PTAs).

    Overall, the site pegs the median national income for PTs at $81,853. The highest-paying state, according to GoBankingRates, is California, with a median PT income of $91,160, followed by Nevada ($88,580), New Jersey ($88,530), Texas ($87,515), and New Mexico ($86,580). Technically Alaska reports the highest median PT income at $91,515, but the relatively small number of PTs in the state may make the calculation less reliable.

    The lowest-paying states, according to the report? Vermont was fifth from the bottom with a median income of $72,540, followed by South Dakota ($72,145), Nebraska ($71,970), and North Dakota ($71,730). Montana paid the least, with a median PT income of $69,560.

    When it comes to specific cities, Las Vegas and Dallas top the list, with median PT incomes of $111,250 and $93,840, respectively. Among the cities included in the list, 2 New York locations were at the bottom: Syracuse was lowest, with a median of $66,740, followed by Albany, with a $69,020 median.

    There's more to understanding PT pay than median salary data: check out the extensive resources at APTA's Physical Therapy Workforce Data webpage to get a more detailed picture of how—and how well—PTs and PTAs are paid. And see PT in Motion magazine’s annual “The Best States in Which to Practice” feature for other benchmarks on what makes a location friendly for physical therapists.


    • yoy know what I hate? When you show this to your employer and it's hard to find someone who has been there for 15 years and they are just now making the median or Average salary listed.... Then they say they can't go by this because people lie about their salary in order to make it higher to try and justify increases in salary, which again is not true otherwise wouldn't every state be over 90 or $100,000? You wouldn't have such variation in the scale if everyone lied just to try and get a higher rate. At my last job I calculated it took someone about 17 years just to meet the median income for a PT.

      Posted by John on 4/29/2015 5:01 PM

    • The clinical revenue generating capacity of physical therapists is grossly under-recognized by many institutions, in that DPTs have extensive generalist practitioner skills across all spectrums of medical care that are under utilized by most health care institutions (CVP, NMS, MS, & Integumentary), where most focus on Acute care and Rehab PT services. Were the salaries quoted in the article based on specialized private practice environments or institutional based environments or an average of all practice settings? The private sector has always been most lucrative, however, equally important are the contributions DPT's make improving outcomes and decreasing costs under institutional "Fee bundling" plans of care, which should be reflected in increased hospital based PT salaries. Certainly, under the Affordable Care Act, private practice salaries will be most probably be negatively impacted. Institutions will be forced to do more with assurances of the same quality of care, for less reimbursement. Institutional based PT salaries should be on par with the private sector.

      Posted by Louis Iannuzzi on 4/29/2015 5:07 PM

    • These are the statistics that keep prospective professionals flocking to PT programs around the country. Unfortunately, in my experience they are extremely inaccurate, and in a negative way. I love what I do, but after 5 years in practice and climbing the ladder to an assistant director position in a busy clinic of strong national PT company, I was still earning less than the Median income reported for PT's in Syracuse, NY, the lowest on this list!

      Posted by Tony Friedrichs on 4/29/2015 5:55 PM

    • When I graduated in 1993, we started at less than 40,000/year. Sure has changed. Would like to see retention bonuses and more PTO return.

      Posted by Dana on 4/29/2015 7:33 PM

    • Wow, this is very depressing to read as a new grad in PA

      Posted by Nick on 4/29/2015 11:34 PM

    • My income is somewhat deceiving. While I make between 90000 to 105000 annually, it's because I work one full-time job that grosses about 76000 and 2-3 prn jobs that add another 15000 to 25000. In theory my wage seems lucrative when in reality it's due to me working my ass off to earn it.

      Posted by Christina Spencer on 4/29/2015 11:36 PM

    • Based on the comments above, it sounds like many people thought they'd graduate and start making the median salary right away. I'm guessing they also didn't realize they would have monthly loan payments which exceed their rent/mortgage payments. The blame should not be put on your employer, because you can always change jobs and/or relocate to a more lucrative salary environment. The universities raked you over the coals, squeezing every dime they could out of you - paying tuition to be out of state at a clinical site is the most egregious example of their greed. Lastly, your employer is getting squeezed by the insurance companies who continually attempt to reduce reimbursement. How can you expect them to pay more when they are getting paid less?

      Posted by Sean Hayes -> =NX`?M on 5/5/2015 5:40 PM

    • I have no idea where these surveys are getting these numbers ... They are grossly inflated... I don't get it ... And even if you make $80k within 2 yrs of graduation, unless you are a manager or make per diem money in addition, your salary is not increasing much after, say 10 yrs experience ... Someone better start evaluating these survey methodologies prior to publishing them.

      Posted by Tony Cuoco on 5/16/2015 8:42 PM

    • For perspective, here's an important point to keep in mind... compensation surveys are past-tense while reimbursement and payroll are present-tense. As the financial investment disclaimers remind us, "past performance is not an indicator of future performance. In a rapidly eroding reimbursement environment such as we are now in where documentation burdens and manipulative payer rules also erode productivity, margins are suffering greatly particularly in many private practices. The practices with the best compensation may also offer the worst job security because they just may not be around much longer. Such practices may also not be preparing its professional staff to prosper in the new market that is rapidly taking shape around us. Good to know. Better to consider. Essential to act upon. - Bob Wiersma

      Posted by Robert Wiersma -> COS]< on 5/21/2015 8:40 AM

    • An additional point to consider about compensation surveys... Compensation consists of 3 elements: 1) Wage, 2) Benefits, 3) Employers portion of payroll taxes. Benefits and taxes are typically about 25% (+/- 5%) of wages. Thus an employee earning $60K in gross wages is likely costing the employer about $75K in total compensation. It seems that a lot of employees and employers overlook the cost /value of benefits and payroll taxes. It also seems that compensation surveys fail to break out these three elements,thus contributing to the confusion. In the end, employer and employee interests need to be aligned and financial compensation and financial contribution need to be proportional. The value of a PT is not in how many years they have practiced or in how much their degree cost them. The compensation discussion must be rooted not in surveys but rather in reimbursement rates, productivity, and dollars collected - i.e. in value created. We are in a competitive market space that under values functional ability and quality of life.

      Posted by Robert Wiersma -> COS]< on 5/22/2015 3:06 PM

    • I'm a PT in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many years of experience, but I've been making the equivalent of greater than $100,00 per year (if I chose to work full-time) for more than a decade. If I were to reach the top of my pay grade with my current employer, my salary would be greater than $120,000 per year. My friend who is out of school about 5 years was offered $116, 000 for home health. Home health therapists have a tremendous earning potential in our area.

      Posted by Julie on 4/12/2016 3:12 PM

    • This calculator is helpful however new grads and other therapists don't take everything into consideration which makes finding a PT difficult as their expectations are higher than what is posted, not to mention for my area as close to the DC metro and Richmond area as it is, makes it hard to compete. In spite of the fact that we pay well for our area and setting.

      Posted by LBlanton on 4/13/2016 1:15 PM

    • These numbers are pretty accurate. My first job as a new grad in WA state I made 105K/year; moved to Las Vegas where initially I made 85k in private practice, moved to acute and jumped to 125k/year. I left my home state of ND where I would have been making no more than 60k. The disparity in salaries is not related to reimbursements...someone is making a lot of money off our services.

      Posted by Ephraim Mauve, DPT on 6/26/2016 1:45 AM

    • Everytime I look at these lists, I'm confused. I started my first year as a DPT in Texas at 92 K. I now make 115 k in my 3rd year doing home health.

      Posted by Shannon on 3/5/2017 12:27 AM

    • can u send me info on school requirements and how much salary in northwest Ark is thank you ...have a blessed day

      Posted by Alvy Blake Hays on 3/30/2017 8:11 PM

    • The median salary in Las Vegas is $111,250? I'd like to know how these numbers are calculated? My offers here outbid school were around $75k, after doing that 5 year as I did home health starting at $95k, my friends in hospitals are making about that also. For $111k to be the median there's has to be a good portion of PT's here making more than that, and if you know who they are please have them contact me. Lol

      Posted by John on 5/17/2017 10:09 AM

    • The average includes directors. I've been a PT for 13 years and have never seen anything close to this. Home Health is for sure higher. I make more money doing PRN than anything. They need to calculate an average for new grads, along with outpatient therapists...and leave out director's salaries!!

      Posted by Melissa on 7/12/2017 7:52 PM

    • After 17 years of practice I am finally able to make about $110 annually (95, 000 from my full time position, and an extra 15, 000 from a PRN position). I've recently been thinking of getting out of outpatient due to time required to be a work. Thinking of getting into Home health PRN, which would allow me to still make about $100,000 while taking 6-8 weeks vacation annually. Instead of working hard and taking only 3 weeks vacation a year. Yes my skill set might be lowered over the years with this transition, but I don't want to wait until retirement to travel and date hot Italian chicks, I want it now while I"m still handsome and physically fit. PT is not high earning job, but it's satisfying and rewarding.

      Posted by Barri Bar on 11/6/2017 9:07 PM

    • I am a clinical instructor and home health therapist in Atlanta, GA. What's truly sad about these stats are, the profession moved to DPT while these salaries don't reflect the amount of education required to become a PT. I remember the days when you only needed a Bachelors Degree. Now you have to do four years of schooling, then apply to PT school, hope you get in, and do three years...only to graduate and make 70-80K....shameful!

      Posted by Erica James on 2/1/2019 1:05 AM

    • I graduated 2 years ago and took my first job in Syracuse, NY. I was shocked at how low my salary started around $60,000. I even had my first offer for 55,000 which was down right insulting. Within 6 months I moved to Las Vegas where my salary increased by 40%. This is crazy that with a doctorate degree I have to move across country to make that much more just to survive! The salaries are not increasing or reflecting the educational costs making it nearly impossible for PT’s to live and pay off there debt. It is a huge problem and would think wisely choosing this career. It has definitely not been what I thought it would be. On top of that I am still working 6 days a week in Nevada to pay down my loans and living costs.

      Posted by Mary on 7/24/2019 12:57 AM

    • I have ro ask, "Was it really necessary to push for the PT profession to require a Doctorate's degree?" " Who fought for it?" "Was it to allow for direct access?" " Is the extra education financially and professionally beneficial?"

      Posted by Michele Dart on 11/12/2019 10:27 PM

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