Doctor of physical therapy salary is huge, this article tells you all you need to know.
Physical therapists are health care professionals who help people with problems move to reduce pain, get back to normal, and improve their quality of life. Physical therapists work with a wide range of patients and clients.
Some physical therapist employ an assistant and if you’re interested here is how to become a physical therapist assistance.
Many of them specialize in working with people in certain age groups or with specific conditions, such as musculoskeletal dysfunction, neurologic dysfunction, or sports-related injuries.
On a physical therapist’s list of clients, you might find:
- An older person who just had knee replacement surgery and wants to walk with their grandchildren in the afternoon
- A casual tennis player with a torn rotator cuff who wants to play again next season
- A veteran who lost a limb in the military and is learning to use prosthetics
- Chemotherapy is less effective for a patient whose aerobic capacity is lower because of the treatment.
- A young adult who works at a desk all day has pain in their neck, shoulders, or back.
- A ballet dancer who does a lot of shows and wants to avoid or treat overuse injuries
To become a physical therapist, you have to work hard and be dedicated, but you could spend your whole life helping people and making a difference in the world. Also Find out what kind of schooling physical therapists need, where they can work, and how much they can drive.
How To Become a DPT
Before they can work, people who want to be doctor of physical therapy have to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from an accredited program and get licensed in their state. A bachelor’s degree and a lot of prerequisite classes, like biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy, physiology, psychology, and statistics, are usually needed to get into a DPT program.
Physical Therapist Education Requirements
Becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy is hard work that takes a few years to finish. In a DPT program, students spend a lot of time in classes, practicing skills with their hands, and learning from clinical instructors in various settings.
On the other hand, some people get advanced academic degrees like PhDs and Dsc, mainly for those who want to research and add to the field’s body of knowledge and these degrees don’t prepare people to become licensed physical therapists, but they are essential to the science of physical therapy and moving the field forward.
The length of a Doctor of Physical Therapy program varies from one to the next and every program must include both classroom work and real-world experiences.
Students can take the national licensing exam for physical therapists after they finish a program that has been approved. Every state where a physical therapist works require them to have a license. A license must also be renewed, which varies from state to state. In California, for example, physical therapists (PTs) have to renew their licenses every two years.
Why Become a Doctor of Physical Therapy?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for physical therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2018 to 2028. Some of this demand will come from aging baby boomers who stay active later in life but are also more likely to get chronic health conditions. Physical therapists are and will continue to be an essential part of treating and caring for people with movement problems caused by long-term conditions like diabetes and obesity.
People may decide to become physical therapists because they want to work with a particular group of people or because they think there will be more jobs in the field in the future. Other reasons include a strong desire to work with a specific group.
Valerie Teglia says that physical therapists are often motivated by their own life experiences or interests in professional sports, healthy aging, or neurology. But that’s just the beginning.
Faculty at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. External link: opens in a new window.
“When students start the program, they often already know they want to work in a certain field,” Teglia said. “But after their first day in the clinic, they’ll say, ‘I didn’t even know that’s what physical therapists did.'”
Physical therapy students can learn about many different and important ways it can be used through their clinical education and job opportunities in a growing field.
This is a common path. Teglia herself wanted to work for a professional football team at first. Still, she found a new passion while caring for people with spinal cord injuries as part of her clinical education. After getting her certification as a neurological clinical specialist and working in outpatient facilities, hospitals, and community rehabilitation centers, she is now using her work experience to teach.
Doctor Physical Therapy Specializations and Practice Settings
Physical therapists get general training. Through their classes and clinical education, they start to figure out what they are interested in and passionate about. Physical therapists can get special training and certification after they finish physical therapy school.
The following areas of physical therapy are recognized as specialties by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties:
- Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
- Clinical Electrophysiology
- Women’s Health
- Wound Management
Physical therapists can also help with the pelvic, workplace, and home health issues. They can also help people in the performing arts, like ballet and theater, stay healthy and avoid injuries. There are a lot of different ways to specialize. “Each one helps therapists develop high-level skills for a certain group of patients,” said Julie Tilson, director of the USC Doctor of Physical Therapy hybrid pathway program and professor of clinical physical therapy at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy.
Physical Therapy Practice Settings
Physical therapists work in many different kinds of places. Most doctors work in private practice or in clinics that are part of hospitals. But physical therapists are also crucial in care teams in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, sports teams, and people’s homes.
According to the BLS, some of the most common places where physical therapists work are:
- Private practices
- Care for sick people at home
- Nursing care facilities
- Hospitals that specialize
- Facilities for long-term care and older people
- Facilities for management, science, and consulting
- Places in schools
- Companies that put on shows
Teglia says that providers’ primary responsibilities and expectations in most physical therapy settings are usually the same. Among them are:
- Figuring out what needs the client has
- Find out the client’s physical strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
- Making and carrying out a plan of care
- Overseeing support staff
- Working with a team of people from different fields
- Making plans for the client’s release
“The biggest difference between settings is how often and closely you work with a team of people from different fields,” said Teglia. When working with children or older people, it’s common for the physical therapist to also work closely with the client’s primary caregiver or guardian.
Physical Therapist Salaries
Starting salaries for physical therapists depend on where they work and what they specialize in. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a physical therapist in 2019 was $89,440, or $43.00 per hour. The 10th percentile made less than $62,120, while the 10th percentile made more than $124,740. 
Like starting salaries, the average Doctor of Physical Therapy salary depends on several things, like how much experience a professional has and whether or not they are self-employed. Most of the time, physical therapists who own their practices make more than the median salary. This is because owning and running a business gives them more opportunities and responsibilities.
The Doctor Physical Therapy salary also varies a lot by industry. The table below shows some of the sectors where physical therapists work and how much they make on average each year:
|Industry||Employment||Annual Mean Salary (2019)|
|–Offices of Health Practitioners||85,829||$86,720|
|–General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||55,840||$91,590|
|–Home Health Care Services||28,290||$96,900|
|–Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)||13,940||$94,620|
|–Offices of PhysiciansExternal link:open_in_new||12,480||$88,700|
|–Specialty (Except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals||8,640||$89,640|
|–Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly||1,550||$96,800|
|–Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services||290||$95,480|
|–Child Day Care Services||400||$99,700|
DPT Salaries by State
In your state, how much is the Doctor of physical therapy salary? In the table below, you can find the median hourly wage.
|State||Median Hourly Wage (May 2019)||Median Annual Wage|
|-District of Columbia||$42.80||$89,024|
The median annual wage was found by multiplying the median hourly wage given by the BLS by the n umber of full-time hours worked in a year, which is 2,080.
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics
Stepping up to the next level with your degree
Physical therapists with a lot of experience may want to use their skills in places other than their clinics. “There are so many ways to start your own business,” Teglia said.
- When you own private practice, you can put together a multidisciplinary team that fits your needs on a smaller scale than in a hospital.
- Consulting: Physical therapists can use what they know to advise on practice design, billing, engineering, and occupational health in business or public health settings.
- Physical therapists with a lot of experience can teach in high school, college, or graduate school and in physical therapist education programs.
- To become a physical therapist, you must be willing to keep learning.
How are PT and DPT different from each other?
What makes a DPT different from a PT? The same thing is valid for a DPT and a PT. People with the DPT designation have a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree, while a PT may have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Both are qualified to look at and help people who have trouble moving.
Is it worth it to get a Ph.D. in physical therapy?
Good pay: Doctor Physical Therapy salary? You can get a good job and make good money. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the median salary physical therapy salary is about $91,010 per year, but a physical therapist just starting out makes more than $63,500. Some doctor of physical therapy can make more than $100,000 a year.
Can physical therapists make more than $60,000 a year?
Physical therapy is one of the most important jobs in the medical field, but it is also one of the least appreciated. But if you take advantage of what it can do for you as an entrepreneur, you can start making as many as six figures.
When do physical therapists get to stop working?
Physical therapists usually start working around age 25, when they finish graduate school. On average, people retire at around age 60. Most physical therapists are in great shape, which lets them work longer, and with a high job satisfaction rate, they have no reason to quit.