Being active is the name of the game. At least for Physical Therapists. Since most of their day is spent with helping patients improve movement and manage pain, Physical Therapists spend a lot of their time on their feet.

Typically, you can find them working in private offices and clinics, but some work in hospitals, patients' homes and even nursing homes. If you're excited about helping people get their pain under control, then all you need is a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and a license to practice.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

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How To Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

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Physical Therapist Job Description

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals who provide and implement treatment plans for people who have undergone surgery, have limited mobility, or need help managing pain. They also help prevent permanent disabilities, restore bodily functions, and significantly reduce any pain brought about by diseases, chronic illnesses, accidents, and other physical limitations.

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Physical Therapist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Physical Therapist

Physical Therapists in America make an average salary of $73,070 per year or $35 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $94,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $56,000 per year.
Average Physical Therapist Salary
$73,070 Yearly
$35.13 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Physical Therapist

The role of a physical therapist includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general physical therapist responsibilities:

  • Communicating patient status and needs to family members, staff
  • The physical therapist (pt) / occupational therapist (ot) is responsible for performing an age-specific assessment designed to gather data relevant to the patient’s individual needs. This includes assessment
  • Provides physical therapy services to patients according to a written physician's plan of care. This may include, but will not be limited to: assessing

There are several types of physical therapist, including:



A therapist is the keeper of secrets. Neither therapist nor client is likely to advertise what is going on during sessions. You might have pinned down therapists as doctors of psychology who try to help the weak and crazy among us.

Well, the truth is contrary: it is a humble and courageous gesture to seek the help of a professional, not only in moments of crisis, trying to deal with harmful mental patterns or toxic core beliefs, which cause suffering to the patient and his/her or her environment alike, but also on a preventive basis.

So, just as much as it is the job of therapists to diagnose mental health problems and propose and conduct treatments, it is also their responsibility to make sure a diagnosis will never be necessary.

  • Average Salary: $55,943
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Occupational Therapist


Generally, an occupational therapist prepares rehabilitative programs for disabled individuals to restore the essential functions needed daily. They use various treatment methods to help patients with physical, mental, emotional, or developmental disabilities.

In this field, you may work with individuals suffering from short-term and long-term impairments to improve conditions to advance their quality of life. This may include helping an individual with everyday life and occupation tasks. As a part of your work, you will combine aspects from various disciplines, including medicine, psychology, and sociology, to evaluate and implement comprehensive plans for patients.

If these professionals' education level is Bachelor's Degree, their average salary would be around $88,300 per year. At the same time, if you possess a Master's Degree, you can make a whopping salary of $1,39,000 annually.

  • Average Salary: $75,707
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Student Physical Therapist


Student physical therapists help patients with injuries and chronic health conditions recover from injuries, manage their pain, and increase their quality of life. To do this, you will educate patients about keeping fit and preventing advanced injuries. Your job responsibilities include advising patients to learn about their physical condition and symptoms, assisting patients with the use of equipment such as wheelchairs, and reviewing and maintaining patient records, and keeping track of their progress. You will be required to help the patients ease their pains using exercises, stretching, hands-on therapy, and equipment. Also, you are to outline goals for patients and expected results.

A bachelor's degree in science-related is required for this job. As a student physical therapist, you must have compassion, be resourceful, and possess interpersonal communication skills. You should also be able to pay rapt attention to details and manage time. Your salary will be an average of $86,026 at the end of the year.

  • Average Salary: $73,003
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Physical Therapist Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active physical therapist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where physical therapists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Physical Therapist Jobs By State

Physical Therapist Education

Physical Therapist Majors

5.2 %

Physical Therapist Degrees


57.9 %


17.3 %


14.3 %

Top Colleges for Physical Therapists

1. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




2. Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Tufts University

Medford, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Washington University in St Louis

Saint Louis, MO • Private

In-State Tuition




9. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Physical Therapist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 30.2% of physical therapists listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as compassion and detail oriented are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Physical Therapist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Physical Therapist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Physical Therapist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Physical Therapist diversity

Physical Therapist Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among physical therapists, 63.7% of them are women, while 36.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among physical therapists is White, which makes up 70.2% of all physical therapists.

  • The most common foreign language among physical therapists is Spanish at 47.9%.

Online Courses For Physical Therapist That You May Like

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1. Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise


Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise will introduce learners to the concepts and benefits of physical therapy and exercise. Over six weeks learners will explore: Why physical activity and exercise are important, Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease, Exercise and Osteoporosis, Exercise and Cancer, Common Sports Injuries, Exercise and Arthritis...

2. Trauma Emergencies and Care


Welcome to Trauma Emergencies and Care. In this course, you will learn about some of the mechanics and physics of trauma on the human body, and how this can cause injury. You will continue to expand your new vocabulary with medical terminology, and learn how to describe the different injuries you may see. You will also learn about the trauma system itself- and when it is important to transport patients to a trauma center. Then we will dive into specific injuries based on what part of the body...

3. Occupational Therapy Introduction - ACCREDITED CERTIFICATE


How to become occupational therapist, basic Psychology, Physiology & Anatomy, working with disabilities, children adults...

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Best States For a Physical Therapist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a physical therapist. The best states for people in this position are California, Alaska, Washington, and Nevada. Physical therapists make the most in California with an average salary of $106,493. Whereas in Alaska and Washington, they would average $95,954 and $88,437, respectively. While physical therapists would only make an average of $85,244 in Nevada, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Physical Therapist Jobs: 1,143
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Alaska

Total Physical Therapist Jobs: 118
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. California

Total Physical Therapist Jobs: 4,108
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Physical Therapists

How Do Physical Therapists Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Physical Therapist Employers

Most Common Employers For Physical Therapist

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Aegis Therapies$85,183$40.95822
2interface rehab$84,363$40.56215
3Kindred at Home$81,768$39.31198
5Tender Touch Rehab$77,164$37.10422
6Integrated Resources$76,694$36.87198
7Encompass Health$76,283$36.67361
9Jackson Therapy Partners$75,448$36.27598
10Avant Healthcare$75,436$36.271,153

Physical Therapist Videos

Becoming a Physical Therapist FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become A Physical Therapist?

It takes 3 years of professional experience to become a physical therapist. That is the time it takes to learn specific physical therapist skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 6 to 8 years years to become a physical therapist.

Athletic Trainer Vs Physical Therapist

Athletic trainers are healthcare professionals specializing in treating athletic and physically active individuals, while a physical therapist refers to a medical professional who helps injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Can You Become A Physical Therapist In 2 Years?

Yes, you can become a physical therapist in 2 years. However, this is only true if you already have a bachelor's or master's degree. Once you have that, you must apply to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program to be eligible for the exam and license.

Chiropractor Vs Physical Therapist

A chiropractor is someone who attempts to correct spinal malalignment, believing that this is placing pressure on nerves, while a physical therapist often works to prevent injury through exercise programs and workout routines.

Do Physical Therapists Go To Med School?

No, physical therapists do not need to go to med school. However, to become a physical therapist, you must complete a doctorate of physical therapy degree from a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-accredited physical therapist education program and pass a state licensure exam.

How Many Years Will It Take To Become A Physical Therapist?

It will take between 6 to 7 years to become a physical therapist. First, you must earn a bachelor's degree (4-years), followed by a doctorate of physical therapy (2 to 3 years).

If you're a non-traditional student thinking about a career change, some DMT programs will take individuals with bachelor's degrees in unrelated fields (e.g., psychology, economics). Going this route usually takes three years to complete the program.

Is A Physical Therapy Assistant A Good Job?

Yes, being a physical therapy assistant is a good job as it pays well, you will be in high demand, and you will feel satisfaction in your work. Physical therapy assistants often are paid above average, and along with their paycheck, they are often offered great benefits for themselves and their families.

Physical therapy assistants are in high demand, which means that you will not have to worry about not finding a job, which allows you to be picky when choosing where you would like to work. Once you find your position, you will have job security. You will also often be able to have consistent hours to work.

Physical therapy assistants are often extremely satisfied with their work. One huge factor is that they can see the results of their work through the development of their patients. They also are able to help people work through challenges, which can be extremely rewarding. Helping others, and seeing that progress, is something that makes being a PTA a great job choice.

Is It Worth It To Be A Physical Therapist?

Yes, being a physical therapist is worth it. A physical therapist earns good money, has a flexible schedule, and has options to experience a lot of variability in the type of jobs they work in as a physical therapist. If that wasn't good enough, they also experience high levels of job satisfaction and overall health.

Occupational Therapist Vs Physical Therapist

Occupational therapists are individuals focused on improving the patient's ability to perform activities needed for daily living, while physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Physiatrist Vs Physical Therapist

A physiatrist refers to a licensed doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation, while a physical therapist refers to a licensed medical professional who helps injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Physical Therapist Vs Physical Therapist Assistant

A physical therapist is a primary caregiver and planner to a patient recovering from a surgery or injury, while a physical therapist assistant assists the primary physical therapist with their duties.

Physical Therapist Dress Code

The dress code of a physical therapist typically involves wearing professional or medical-appropriate attire. The specific dress code of this profession also depends on the employer. However, here are some common expectations related to a physical therapist's dress code:

Physiotherapist Vs Physical Therapist

A physiotherapist helps people who have experienced injury, illness, or disability by providing exercise routines, manual therapy, education, and advice, while a physical therapist is there to help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Being A Physical Therapy Assistant?

<i>The pros and cons of being a physical therapy assistant relate to compensation and benefits, job security, and educational requirements. Here are the top pros and cons of being an occupational therapist:

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