Physical Therapy Assistant Salary Guide

One of the fastest growing areas in the healthcare industry is physical therapy field.

Both the physical therapist and physical therapy assistant professions are projected to grow in the coming decade.

Aside from the excellent job security offered in this field, there is also the prospect of receiving a fairly high salary.

How Much Can You Earn On a Physical Therapy Assistant Salary?

Physical therapist assistants are still in high demand although they are considered lower in ranks compared to full-fledged physical therapists. They basically do most of the functions a physical therapist does and then some. That being said, physical therapist assistant rates are still lower than that of a regular physical therapist.

But the physical therapist assistant can provide you with a rewarding career and salary rates that can cover your basic needs and other expenses. Compared to other medical and healthcare “assistance” professions, physical therapist assistant salary rates can be quite attractive and competitive, depending on the industry type, employer’s standards, and geographical locations among other things. A physical therapy assistant’s salary is also stable, which is quite ideal in today’s volatile economy.

Labor statistics show that there are approximately 67,550 physical therapist assistants working in the United States right now. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean salary average of physical therapist assistants based in the country is pegged at $51,040 a year. This means 50% of the said working demographic are earning as much, more or less. The top 10 percent of the workforce are said to be earning $71,200 per annum, Physical therapist assistants belonging in the bottom 10 percent are raking in an average physical therapy assistant salary of $32,030 every year.

While many believe that the physical therapist assistant position is merely a stepping stone in becoming a full-fledged physical therapist, there are cases where physical therapist assistants found financial success in their careers. Many have such notion mainly because physical therapist assistants work under the direction of regular and experienced physical therapists. However, requirements for eligibility and other prerequisites in becoming a physical therapist are quite different from that of a physical therapist assistant.


In terms of employment concentrations, health practitioners who have their own offices provide the most number of jobs for physical therapist assistants. Around 27,000 physical therapist assistants are currently connected to said employers. However, their average pay is estimated to be $49,430 a year, which is slightly lower than the national average. Around 16,230 physical therapist assistants are now connected to medical and surgical hospitals, the second largest employer type in the country. The average physical therapist assistant salary is even lower, rated at $48,800 per annum.

Other industries with high employment rate are nursing care facilities ($55,720), home health care service providers ($60,090), and physicians’ offices ($46,840). Of the top five employment opportunity providers, only nursing care facilities and home health care services providers shell out more than the national average for physical therapy assistant salary.

Income potential is high in the following employment sectors: management, scientific, and technical consultancy firms ($75,680), health care service providers ($60,090), psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals ($57,960), employment services ($57,630), and company/enterprise management service providers ($56,610). All except home healthcare service providers offer low employment opportunities. This is because even with an attractive salary package, entry to said industries is hard. Vacant slots are usually held in reserve for those who have met the strict requirements such as experience and have acquired certifications.

Best States for Employment and Income Probabilities

The State of Texas currently has 4,760 physical therapist assistants, the largest group of employed workers of the said profession. In terms of salary, Texas shells out an average salary of $66,170 a year, which is way above the national average. Ohio is a close second with 4,730 physical therapy assistants earning $52,520 a year. California places third, providing jobs for approximately 4,610physical therapist assistants and paying them an average physical therapist assistant salary of $57,270 per annum. Other tops states for employment opportunities are Florida ($56,740) and Pennsylvania ($44,000). All states except Pennsylvania offer salary averages higher than the national figure.

In terms of high income opportunities, Texas tops the list. New Jersey follows, paying physical therapist assistants with an average wage rate of $57,330 a year. California nabs the third spot while Connecticut, with an average physical therapist assistant salary of $57,330 a year, settles at fourth place. Florida completes the top five high paying states for physical assistant therapists. It is important to point out that Texas, California, and Florida are also among the highest employment providing states coincidentally.

Advancement and Further Learning

Physical therapist assistants can increase their income potential by updating their skill sets and knowledge and by acquiring certifications in several areas of physical therapy and health care. A physical assistant with basic knowledge and elementary skill set can earn somewhere around $13.62 to $25.29 an hour. If you completed training for CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), your typical physical therapist assistant salary will ply from $18.38 to $25.07 an hour.

An assistant who has earned the Basic Life Support (BLS) training certification gets wages that play from $20.25 to $25.74. Physical therapist assistants who have Certified Athletic Trainers certification receive $18.46 to $22.92 an hour. A fully licensed physical therapist assistant who has massage therapy training can earn as much as $30 per hour.

It must be pointed out that experience also plays a part with how much a professional worker earns. The longer one stays and practices his profession, the bigger his salary becomes. Physical therapist assistants who have spent years in the industry receive higher physical therapy assistant salary than those who are still in the early stages of their careers.

Looking at the given salary information, you can easily see that how much you will get largely depends on your experience, skill sets, your employer type, and geographical location. Learning how such factors can affect your pay will not only help you arrive to important moves regarding your physical assistant salary, but help you map out your career and establish short term and long term goals.

The title physical therapist assistant does not have a prestigious ring to it. But it is a noble profession that gives you an avenue where you can help people, especially those who have issues with mobility and movement. More than just helping them move their bodies and get them to be productive members of society, your services will help make a difference in their lives.