Physical therapy is arguably one of the best health careers available. Physical therapists tend to earn a salary that can promote a very comfortable lifestyle. Compensation for this type of work reflects the fact that becoming a physical therapist takes years of study paired with dedication, time, effort and hard work.
Average Physical Therapist Salary
According to PayScale.com, the national physical therapist salary averages between $58,400 and $75,996. Working in a hospital often earns the highest salary, but not by much. For example, the site lists hospital physical therapists as making an average of $58,178 to $75,192 per year while physical therapists working within home health care may earn between $55,441 and $74,325.
Salary.com's results are a bit higher than those reported by PayScale.com. As of 2011, the median salary for a physical therapist was $74,713. The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees, citing the national median salary to be $74,480. The range reported is $52,170 (lower 10 percent) to $105,900 (upper ten percent). BLS.gov reports slightly higher annual salary averages, with $83,500 for those in home health care services and $75,030 for those in general medical or surgical hospitals.
As with any job, what you make will depend partially on where you live. According to BLS.gov, physical therapists make the most in Alaska, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, and California. As of 2011, the salary range for these states ranges from a low of $83,740 in California to a high of $87,410 in Alaska.
When comparing physical therapist salaries between employers and states, it's important to look at the total benefits package. A lower salary with a particular company or location could be backed by an excellent benefits package or a favorable cost of living. The job with the higher salary may not always be the best position to take when such factors are taken into consideration.