starting salary for physical therapist
Physical therapy is a growing field that helps individuals recover from injuries, illnesses, and surgeries through the use of exercises, manual therapy, and other techniques. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for physical therapists is expected to grow by 18% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. With this high demand, many individuals are considering a career in physical therapy, and one important consideration is the starting salary.
Starting Salary for Physical Therapists
The starting salary for physical therapists can vary depending on several factors such as location, type of employer, and level of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for physical therapists in May 2020 was $91,010, which means that half of physical therapists earned more than this amount and half earned less.
Entry-level physical therapists, however, generally earn less than the median annual salary, with a reported range of $60,520 to $85,390. The starting salary for physical therapists also varies by location, with those working in urban areas typically earning more than those in rural areas. Additionally, physical therapists who work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, and home healthcare services generally earn more than those who work in nursing care facilities or in schools.
Factors Affecting Starting Salary
Several factors can influence a physical therapist's starting salary, including:
- Education and Training: Physical therapists who hold advanced degrees or specialized certifications may have a higher starting salary than those with just a bachelor's degree.
- Geographic Location: Physical therapists who work in areas with a high cost of living, such as large cities, may earn more than those in less expensive areas.
- Type of Employer: Physical therapists who work in hospitals or outpatient care centers may earn more than those who work in schools or nursing care facilities.
- Level of Experience: Physical therapists with more experience may earn a higher starting salary than those who are just entering the field.
- Negotiation: Some physical therapists are able to negotiate a higher starting salary based on their education, experience, and skill set.
Career Growth Opportunities
While the starting salary for physical therapists may be lower than the median salary, there are many opportunities for career growth and advancement in the field. Physical therapists can specialize in areas such as sports medicine, orthopedics, neurology, and pediatrics, which can lead to higher salaries and more job opportunities.
Physical therapists can also pursue advanced degrees, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), which can lead to leadership positions or opportunities to teach at the university level. With experience, physical therapists can also advance to managerial or administrative positions, such as a director of rehabilitation services or a chief physical therapist.
The starting salary for physical therapists can vary depending on several factors, including location, type of employer, and level of experience. While entry-level physical therapists may earn less than the median annual salary, there are many opportunities for career growth and advancement in the field. With the growing demand for physical therapists, individuals considering a career in physical therapy can expect to have many opportunities for success and advancement.