When working as a physical therapist, you may notice that the salary you get is dependent on the state in which you live. This is because the rule of supply and demand determines how many physical therapists are needed and thus whether the skill is in short demand or not. If it is in short demand, the salary will rise according to how many job positions are open. In a career such as physical therapy, this could translate to high salaries because it is a vital skill.
For those who attend school and obtain their doctoral degree in physical therapy, the rewards in terms of salary and job satisfaction can be very high, but the job is not easy and won’t be right for everyone. Anyone hoping to enter this field will need to be extremely patient since they will have the responsibility of teaching people how to be mobile and move parts of their bodies over a long period. A job like this involves getting to know patients and being able to push them past what they believe their physical limits are. Because they need this therapy in the long term, the job can also be frustrating, but the salary can be high enough to make it worth it.
What makes physical therapy a vital skill? The reason that a physical therapist salary by state is so high is because after an accident, people need physical therapy to help them get used to activities that improve their quality of life. Because the responsibilities of the physical therapist are so great, their salary needs to be commensurate with this. Of course, if this theory was put into practice in all careers, teachers would also be paid a high salary.
A physical therapist’s salary will be calculated according to the state in which they live by the Bureau of Labor. Depending on where they work, how long they work, and their level of experience, they will probably be paid an average of $36 an hour or more. To become a physical therapist you would need a doctoral degree in physical therapy and this will affect your salary, depending on your level of experience. Other factors that will also affect your salary include the city you live in and your place of work. A nursing home will pay more, for example, than a government hospital.
A physical therapist has a very important role to play in any organization. They assist people who have medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that cause them great pain, and by giving them the tools they need to heal, they can improve their quality of life. The job outlook for them is very good too, and this is reflected in the physical therapist salary by state.
The Best Physical Therapy Salary By State
If where you live determines the salary you earn, you will be pleased to know that in Alaska, you can earn up to $87 000 if you are a physical therapist. This state is the highest paying in the whole US, closely followed by Maryland and then Nevada, which are not far behind Alaska in their large payments. Of course, this can also be drilled down depending on where in the state you are practicing, either in the city or in a less urban area. In Jackson, Mississippi for example, a physical therapist can earn as much $145 000 a year, whereas should you choose to live and work in Oxnard California, you will only likely earn about $94 000. Though this is still a substantial sum of money, it is significantly less than you would earn in another state.
One thing to consider before applying for a job in a state such as Alaska is that though you will be paid a larger amount of money, the costs of living will be higher too. In those states where the salary is lower for physical therapists, the cost of living will be lower.
Physical therapists are not only employed in government hospitals or clinics. They can also be employed by private institutions such as daycare provides or holiday retreats. Some of them will even work for the military and this significantly influences how much they could potentially earn too. Half of the physical therapists currently employed work in doctor’s office and private clinics and this is very likely because the money is so much better.
Therapists who wish to earn more money should work in the following industries:
- Nursing care – this includes looking after those with mental or physical disabilities or the elderly. This requires specialized skills and can be a very difficult job in terms of the amount of work and the hours. However, the money and other rewards are very good.
- Home healthcare – this industry is very profitable because of the number of potential patients who are housebound. They cannot leave their homes and so need someone who can come to them to assist them.
- Management and Technical Services – this is more of an administrative position and requires the candidate to make plans for corporate health and assist those within certain industries with ergonomic issues.
- Private hospitals – for those who are lucky enough to get a position in a private hospital, the salaries are often higher because they are not paid by government, but rather by a private fund.
So the physical therapy salary by state is affected too by the place that the therapist chooses to work. It is also affected by supply and demand, and because in recent years the industry has started booming, the salaries have come down proportionately due to excess supply. The salaries are still high though.
For those physical therapists who want to earn a decent salary, living in any state will satisfy that need, but for those who don’t want to be on the bottom end of the pay scale, they should avoid states such as Hawaii, where the average hourly salary is about $27. This is closely followed by Montana and Vermont, and even Colorado features on this list.
For those who choose to live in these states though, the cost of living will be lower which means they will still have a good disposable income. The availability of jobs is also high, which means that those who choose to enter this field will be more likely to find a job in these states, than in those with higher salaries but less jobs available.
Many physical therapists, they have to go wherever the job opportunities are, and this could include such states as California where the average job opening per year for physical therapists hits an impressive 620. This is about 62 times the amount of jobs available in the lowest state on the list. In the District of Columbia, you will struggle to find a job since the average yearly openings hit a measly ten. Physical therapists who are qualified should head over to Texas or Florida, both states that top 500 openings a year, but should stay away from Wyoming and Delaware where the lack of jobs may leave them unemployed. Though the temptation of bigger salaries may seem enticing, not being able to find a job negates that.
Other Rewards Of Being A Physical Therapist
Though the promise of a big physical therapist salary by state is tempting, there are other benefits to entering this field of practice. The major benefit of becoming a physical therapist is that you get to help people, which is very fulfilling. From children to the elderly and even those with disabilities, becoming a therapist means you have the chance to improve the world you live and make a contribution to society.
However, along with the rewards of the job, there are also a lot of responsibilities and this is not the right job for those who are weak in constitution. For one, you will need to help people gain mobility and improve on their overall health. This means teaching them to deal with their injuries or disabilities and strengthen their bodies. You are teaching them how to reduce pain in their bodies and live fuller lives. When it comes down to it, this is also about improving the quality of life of these individuals.
The satisfaction you get from the job will very much be influenced by the work that you do, so when it comes to working with newborns, the job may be very difficult but the rewards will be plenty. This brings to light another matter, which is how hard it is to emotionally detach from patients. In this career, you may be called upon to work with those who have disabilities and diseases and it is hard not to become invested in their recovery. Though a physical therapist does have to have some compassion, they also need to have a balance between their work and personal life, and this means being able to emotionally disconnect when necessary.
Becoming a physical therapist requires a lot of training, and those who pursue it may find that they spend their first few years’ salaries paying off student loans. The job opportunities for physical therapists are very big though, as are the physical therapist salary by state opportunities. From physical therapies, there are also a few other fields that you can branch out into. These include:
- Sports therapy and rehabilitation – those with a degree in physical therapy and an interest in sport may like to pursue this field, in which they help professional sports people recover from injuries. This means having good knowledge of the body as a whole and having the ability to assist players get back in fighting form quickly. Because in the field of professional sports, time is money, it is vital for a physical therapist pursuing this role to be able to heal and help quickly.
- Disability specialization – in the case of those who have become disabled in some way, learning how to use other parts of the body to make up for the disability is key. In the case of someone who has had their foot amputated for example, they will have to learn to use crutches and to depend on their other foot in a way that makes them comfortable and adds to their quality of life.
- Illness specialization – in the cases of those with multiple sclerosis, learning to cope with the degeneration of their body can be very difficult. A physical therapist can help them use the parts of their body that respond well and can teach them how to slow down the disease.
- Schools – some physical therapists will work just in schools, helping those who have physical disabilities or injuries cope with their school life. This can include a weekly session to help them and the physical therapist will give them exercises to do at home.
No matter what state you live in there is a high demand for people who can fill the positions of physical therapists and the pay reflects the demand. If you are hoping for a big salary, you need to know that there may be costs and taxes that go with it. Be sure to research a state carefully if you hope to live and work there, and make sure you know how much you will be paid, and how much you will have to pay to live there.
As a physical therapist, you also need to ensure that your career is growing and that you are moving along the right path. This means researching opportunities for the future to ensure that there is room for advancement, and that you can continue to gain experience, with the end result being an even bigger salary.
Physical therapy may be an industry that is booming, but there is still a great need for those who can do the job well. Many people in fact are paying for physical therapy from their own pockets and not relying on their HMOs to pay, and this means that the physical therapist salary by state continues to increase and the opportunities to gain experience and money are on the rise.