Finding the right career after graduating college can feel like a job in and of itself. Besides putting together a proper resume and a cover letter, many graduates find the process of picking a dream career to be endlessly overwhelming, especially in the most recent economy. One strong option for a career in a questionable economic climate is the position of physical therapist, a job which many in the industry have deemed to be “recession proof.” If you have decided that this might be the career for you, there may still be a series of questions that need answering. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of this career, and calculate what kind of physical therapy salary you may be subject to upon choosing this position.
How Much Can You Expect to Earn?
While physically demanding, a physical therapist career can also be extremely rewarding, especially when the results of months of work finally start to come together in a healing patient. The therapists themselves are subjected to constantly having to lift, bend, and stand for extended periods of time, but while many find 40 hour work weeks to be the norm, many options for part time work are also available. Salary wise, these kinds of positions range from $54,000 as a low, and only go up from there. The mean salary for physical therapists is $76,000, and the highest salaries can reach the five-zero range, at least $100,000. In even better news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued predictions that jobs in the physical therapy industry will only continue to grow. Because of an ever growing population of senior citizens, the need for physical therapists is likely to reach a 30% increase by 2018. If you find money to be tight after college (and what recent graduate doesn’t?) a career in physical therapy may be the one for you. But how exactly can you obtain this kind of salary, and what credentials do you need? Read on to find out.
How Does Your Specialty and Employer Affect Pay?
Who you work for and what you do can make a big difference on physical therapist wages. If you work at a state hospital and your pay is in line with union wages, chances are you’ll earn right about what the average pays. Physical therapists in this category tend to work with patients who’re recovering from surgery, have suffered heart attacks or need physical therapy to help alleviate arthritis.
Anyone looking to earn the highest salary in a career like this may want to research career opportunities near the west coast, especially California, but states such as Texas and Florida also offer the highest in wages for a physical therapist. Many employers seek candidates who have obtained at least a master’s or doctoral degree at a school for physical therapy that receiving accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education. To get such a degree, individuals must meet the requirements set by their state, and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination. From there, it is only a matter of time until one achieves the career of their dreams.
Location, Location, Location
Where you live and where you work makes a drastic difference in your pay. On a state basis, Alaska is the winner, with the average physical therapist earning $92,000. By contrast, at the bottom of the list is North Dakota, with the average physical therapist salary is $62,000. The highest paid cities are Edinburg Texas and Madera California, with the average salary at $120,000 and $108,000 respectively.
Why does pay vary by state? Presumably, the powers of supply and demand are at work. It’s harder to get physical therapists in Alaska, which makes their services more rare and thus more highly compensated. Conversely, there are many physical therapists in North Dakota, making it much easier to hire them, even at a lower pay scale.
There is a lot to love about this kind of job. As a physical therapist, you are more than likely to make a healthy salary while creating deep personal connections and serving cheerleader duty for people of all ages. In an economy recovering from a record low, the title of physical therapist is a career that is versatile, relevant to every state in the country, and lucrative, particularly for a young person drowning in student loans. So what are you waiting for? Don’t wait to begin researching a career as a physical therapist. Your parents will be proud, and you will find a higher quality of life, personally and professionally.