Highest Paying Skills and Locations for Physical Therapists

Highest Paying Skills and Locations for Physical Therapists

Physical therapists are responsible for helping patients of all ages who have experienced an injury or have limited mobility. They often work in healthcare settings and sometimes travel to a patient’s home to deliver care, helping clients regain mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength by designing a unique plan tailored to the individual and their needs. The road to becoming a physical therapist involves a lot of schooling, but it's worth it—quite literally. Read on to learn which locations and specialities can affect a physical therapist salary.

Physical therapist education requirements

Before you can practice as a PT, you need to fulfill education requirements, including a bachelor’s and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. To complete a DPT degree, PT students will have to complete clinical internships where they provide supervised care to patients. Physical therapists must also be licensed in the state they wish to practice in through an exam administered by the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy. Check out a physical therapist resume sample to learn more.

All the work that goes into becoming a physical therapist can pay off, however, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that PT jobs are expected to grow 18% by 2029 (much faster than average), which is an additional 47,000 jobs. 

Physical therapist salary info

According to BLS, the annual median physical therapist salary is $89,440, with a reported salary range of $62,120 to $124,740 per year. The highest paid physical therapists are in Yuba City, California, where the annual mean salary is $116,360. Next are Bakersfield, California, and Las Vegas, with annual mean salaries of $116,120 and $113,950, respectively.

In addition to locations, there are certain skills that associated with higher pay. Here are five of the highest paying skills for physical therapists, according to data from PayScale.

Geriatrics

Physical therapists with geriatrics skills know how to work with the elderly to help them live a higher quality of life. Working with the elderly is different than working with adults or children, and PTs will need to understand the differences in caring for someone in old age.

According to PayScale, physical therapists with geriatric skills earn an average yearly salary of $78,628, with a reported salary range of $64,000 to $99,000 annually. High-paid PTs with geriatric skills are located in Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago, where the reported average salaries are $89,000, $88,000, and $87,000, respectively.

Check out openings on Monster to find job openings for physical therapists with geriatric skills in your area.

Long-term care

Long-term care is when a patient needs continuing assistance with daily life, including eating, bathing, dressing, general mobility, and any other day to day tasks. Generally, people who need long term care are suffering from chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions that require more assistance than those with a general injury.

According to PayScale, physical therapists with long-term care skills earn an average salary of $71,280 per year, with a reported salary range of $53,316 to $99,776 per year. The highest paid PTs with long-term care skills are in Chicago and San Diego, where the average reported salaries are $101,000 and $91,000, respectively.

Check out openings on Monster to find job openings for physical therapists with long term care skills in your area.

Wound care

Wound care means dealing with cuts, bruises, and other injuries that may need drainage, bandaging, and other treatments. Physical therapists often have to deal with chronic wounds that require cleaning, dressing, and maintenance. If a patient comes in with an injury that also includes a wound, the PT needs to know how to appropriately assess and treat that patient.

According to PayScale physical therapists with wound care skills earn an average salary of $72,334 per year, with a reported salary range of $59,254 to $96,378 per year.

Check out openings on Monster to find job openings for physical therapists with wound care skills in your area.

Home health

Since some patients may not be able to travel outside of their home, physical therapists will often go directly to clients to help them regain mobility and a better quality of life. Home health might mean taking care of the elderly, those with disabilities, or anyone with mobility issues. 

According to PayScale, physical therapists with home health skills earn an average yearly salary of $75,261, with a reported salary range of $60,428 to $109,578 annually. The highest paid PTs with home health skills are in Dallas, where the reported average yearly salary is $89,000.

Check out openings on Monster to find job openings for physical therapists with home health skills in your area.