The Physical Therapy Profession’s Top Employment Statistics

According to US News, physical therapists and physical therapists assistants are some of the top jobs in health care.

For physical therapists, their rankings are Overall Score 6.9 / 10, #11 in Best Health Care Jobs and #21 in 100 Best Jobs.

For physical therapist assistants, their rankings are Overall Score 7.2 / 10, #1 in Best Health Care Support Jobs, and #13 in 100 Best Jobs.

Physical therapy professions are not only in high demand, they are highly sought after due to their many career benefits.

In this article we will explore some of the top employment statistics for physical therapy professionals.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a medical profession that helps people recover from injury, disability, or illness. Physical therapists diagnose and treat patients with physical limitations, movement problems, poor circulation, pain, and other issues.

Physical therapy is not just limited to back pain or arthritis. Other common patient populations include those who have experienced strokes or amputations. Physical therapists also work with athletes to improve performance and prevent injuries.

People can think of physical therapists as similar to doctors for the body instead of the brain. They are sometimes called “doctors of physical therapy.”

Physical therapy assistants provide supportive care to patients under the supervision of a physical therapist. Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) are also called Physical Therapy Aides or PT Aides. PTAs help in performing basic administrative tasks, patient care services, and physical therapy program implementation as directed by the supervisor.

PT and Physical Therapist Assistant Salaries

Physical therapist and physical therapist assistant salary and average salary data comes from the BLS.

The median annual wage for physical therapists was $81,840 in May 2015 with an expected growth rate of 13% from 2014 to 2024 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual wage for a PTA was $58,790 in May 2015 with an expected growth rate of 21% from 2014 to 2024 according to BLS.

ThePennyHoarder included PTAs on their list of the top paying jobs that only require a two year associate degree.

Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant Job Statistics

When people think of a physical therapist, they may picture a person who helps injured athletes get back on the field of play. Physical therapists have many more responsibilities that extend beyond playing professional sports. In addition to exercises and therapeutic treatments, they also work with patients on modifying activities of daily living and teaching them how to care for themselves.

There is a high demand for physical therapy professionals in the United States, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One reason for this is that U.S. adults with a chronic condition or injury need physical therapy services on a regular basis, and an increasing number of aging baby boomers with age-related disabilities will likely turn to PT professionals for assistance as they require care and rehabilitation services.

In recent years there has been a heightened need for physical therapist assistants in North America because physical therapy is one of the fastest growing medical professions in terms of new jobs created every year.

Below, you will find information about the future outlook of the profession.

  • USNews ranks Physical Therapy Assistants as the #1 healthcare support job and #13 best overall job
  • The BLS shows highly competitive annual average salaries for Physical Therapists and PT Assistants
  • The BLS shows a 7x faster than average occupational growth rate compared the the US average

Physical Therapy is ranked as one of the most rewarding healthcare careers, pays competitive salaries, and has an extremely high demand for professionals at a growing rate.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Physical Therapist?

At this point you may be interested in some information about what it takes to become a physical therapist assistant. Becoming a physical therapist usually requires four years of higher education but can take longer.

Physical therapy is a profession in which the primary goal is to help people regain their functional abilities. It is an occupation that requires a lot of hands-on practice, rather than studying in the classroom. Becoming a physical therapist is not easy, but with hard work and determination it can be achieved.

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Before embarking on this journey, it’s important to decide which route to take in order to become a physical therapist: either pursue an undergraduate degree or doctoral school degree. After graduating from either of these routes, one will need to pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) for licensure as a PT.

Generally speaking, becoming a licensed physical therapist takes 4-5 years and becoming a licensed physical therapist assistant takes 5 semesters or 2 to 2.5 years. It should also be mentioned that there are a number of online programs available that allow you to pace yourself.

You may also be interested in this step by step guide to learning how to become a physical therapist assistant since it only requires 2 years of higher education.


Physical therapists reduce pain, improve mobility, and empower people to take care of themselves. They help patients recovering from strokes, major surgery, and other debilitating injuries or illnesses. Physical therapists also work to prevent injury or disability through education and exercise programs. Physical therapy is one of the fastest growing healthcare professions in America.

The field of physical therapy is projected to grow by 48% over the next ten years as more and more baby boomers age and require PT services.

Physical therapy is a rewarding and lucrative career; it is ranked as one of the top ten most rewarding healthcare careers and pays competitive salaries. The profession has an increasingly high demand for professionals, especially in rural areas.

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