Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

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Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

In healthcare centers, physical therapist assistants help senior physiotherapists in administering treatments and evaluating effects of the treatments. Continue reading this CareerStint article to know how the salary of a physical therapist assistant varies according to geographic location, employer type, and experience.

Physical therapist helping a woman stretch her leg

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapist assistants and aides is projected to grow 41% from 2012 to 2022.

Among the various medical jobs that have gained recognition in the US in the recent years are the physical therapy jobs. While an infection or a disease needs to be treated by an expert physician, restricted movement of limbs and pain due to muscle strains or sprains need to be treated by a physical therapist (PT). PTs, also known as physiotherapists, diagnose and treat small babies as well as old people. They help reduce pain and improve mobility.

As the percentage of overweight children and adults is growing at an alarming rate, and as more and more people are getting diagnosed with diabetes and arthritis, demand for physical therapy services is expected to increase significantly. Victims of accidents, arthritis patients, children with cerebral palsy, or old people with peripheral neuropathy, all need physical therapy services. These days, athletes and players hire PTs as they often suffer from bone and muscle injuries. The therapists can design right kind of exercises for them. The responsibilities and duties of physical therapists have increased to great heights, and this has necessitated the requirement of physical therapist assistants. To work as a physical therapist assistant (PTA), you need to have an associate’s degree from an accredited program and a license.

Average Salary of a Physical Therapist Assistant

Like every profession, the earning potential in the field of physical therapy is dependent on various parameters. Good work experience, employer type, educational qualifications, and work location are some of the most common factors that decide the salaries of these professionals.

Earning Potential by State

The average physical therapist assistant salary is $59,000. Depending on the geographic location, the salary of a PTA varies significantly. This is due to various factors like demand, cost of living, availability of trained and experienced PTAs, etc.

State Average Salary
Virginia $60,000
Pennsylvania $58,000
New York $72,000
California $64,000
Texas $58,000
Florida $56,000
Arizona $49,000
Alaska $44,000
Georgia $68,000

* Source: Indeed, May 2015

Earning Potential by Work Experience

  • The average rate for an entry-level PTA is $22.21 per hour. It may vary according to the location, educational qualification, and skills.
  • The average wage for a mid-career PTA is $24.98 per hour. A skilled home health care professional may command a high pay for this job.
  • A late-career PTA earns an average wage of $28.25 per hour. A skilled long-term care professional may command a high pay for this job.
Work Experience Salary Range
Entry-Level $33,804 – $60,657
Mid-Career $39,955 – $71,717
Late-Career $47,792 – $74,047

* Source: PayScale, May 2015

A PTA provides physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Initially, a fresher has to work under the supervision of a senior physiotherapist. Work experience increases his/her earning potential significantly. Students working as interns provide patient care as directed by the senior physiotherapist, and gain substantial work experience. They are expected to complete the necessary documentation, and report to the PT. Depending upon the regulations of the state in which you practice, the PT may or may not need to be physically present. PTAs do not design or change the plan of care. However, practical training increases the scope of employment. Most PTAs work in physical therapists’ offices or in hospitals.

Earning Potential by Employer Type

Based on the employer type, the PTA salary may vary from place to place. Top paying industries for this occupation are:

Employer Type Annual Mean Salary
Home health care services $62,810
Employment services $62,040
Nursing care facilities $60,840
Health care services for the elderly $57,800
Outpatient care centers $57,330

* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014

PTAs work under the senior physical assistants or physiotherapists, and share their workload during rush hours. They even handle various administrative tasks such as reviewing and processing insurance applications, tracking a patient’s progress, etc. This field has a lot of career opportunities owing to the increasing number of assistants being hired in the various health care units. PTAs can pursue additional education, and can move up the career ladder as physical therapists.

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