Physical Therapy Assistant


October 30, 2016


Physical Therapy Assistant Job Description

Pursuing a career as a physical therapy assistant means committing to working under the direction of a licensed physical therapist, aiding patients through their treatment and recovery at a physical therapist’s office. The position is often on the front lines of rehabilitation, with physical therapy assistants collecting information about treatment, progress, and patient concerns. Beyond that, they’ll assist with certain treatments or provide help to physical therapists when they require it.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary Statistics as of 2015

Average annual salary for a Physical Therapy Assistant is $47679 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest salary recorded was $66357. The lowest salary reported was $30404. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Median hourly wage for a Physical Therapy Assistant is $23.71 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest hourly rate recorded was $33. The lowest hourly rate recorded was $15.12. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Bonuses for a Physical Therapy Assistant are based on the years of experience using statistics from the U.S. as of 2015. The average bonus recorded was $0 from people with 15+ years of experience. The average bonus recorded was $0 from people with under 1 year of experience.

These are the highest paying states for a Physical Therapy Assistant. These numbers are based of the median annual salary as of 2015.
California – $28,906 – $74,140
Florida – $24,832 – $68,456
Louisiana – $27,000 – $45,000
Maryland – $39,500 – $57,325
New York – $32,000 – $61,000
Pennsylvania – $35,508 – $57,189
Texas – $24,793 – $61,499

These are the highest paying cities for a Physical Therapy Assistant. These numbers are based of the median annual salary as of 2015.
Pensacola, Florida –
Indianapolis, Indiana –
New York, New York –
New Orleans, Louisiana –
Los Angeles, California –
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –
Houston, Texas –

This chart outlines the average annual salary of a Physical Therapy Assistant from the past 5 years. In 2015 the average annual salary was $47679 while in 2007 it was just $44216.66

Specialized Fields

Generally, the physical therapy assistant position is relatively uniform across the board, with assistants always providing services needed by a physical therapist. That makes it relatively easy for professionals to find a job that they have sufficient experience to perform immediately after graduation from a relevant educational program. If there were any divisions within the profession, they would be between aides and assistants.

Generally speaking, the divisions in the profession are based largely on the level of education obtained by the candidate seeking a position as a physical therapy assistant. Those with a two-year degree or a four-year program of study in the field are typically hired as an assistant, and they’re more likely to help with the actual treatment of patients. They’ll assist with rehabilitative activities and diagnoses, and they’re more likely to be in the office with the physical therapist.

Aides, meanwhile, are usually hired if they have only a high school education. They’re more likely to round out patient records and clerical duties, with only occasional help being offered to the physical therapist on duty.

Work Environment

A physical therapy assistant is essentially the go-between that interfaces with both a patient and a physical therapy physician, meaning they’ll spend a great deal of time on their feet at any job in the field. An equal amount of time may be spent on things like clerical tasks, assistant with treatment, and taking patient information as it relates to treatments, outcomes, and concerns that patients might have about how the process is proceeding. Most physical therapy assistants do work full-time hours of 40 per week, though overtime may be required by some practices if the patient load is particularly heavy on any given day, or in any given week. Generally, the position is very active and good for those who like to have plenty to keep themselves occupied while on the job.

How To Become a Physical Therapy Assistant

The physical therapy assistant field is generally divided into “aides” and “assistants.” Aides require less education in order to be hired, with most having just a high school diploma at the time of being hired by a physical therapist. They will then receive on-the-job training to round out their knowledge of their duties. Assistants, meanwhile, typically must attend at least a two-year educational program and obtain their associate’s degree in physical therapy assistantship before applying for a position. They’ll sometimes require on-the-job training as well, and they may stand a better chance of getting hired if they secured a relevant internship or other work experience during their studies. Four-year degree programs for this position also exist, but most positions do not require a four-year degree when considering or hiring applicants.

Job Outlook

The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics has an exceedingly optimistic view of the profession, and it projects that physical therapy assistant positions will increase by an astounding 45 percent for the ten years between 2010 and 2020. In simple terms, the BLS describes that job growth as “much faster than average” and “accelerated.” There were 114,400 physical therapy assistant jobs reported nationwide in 2010 and, since then, roughly 51,000 additional jobs in the field have been added.

Gender Statistics

Related Jobs



Based on our stats gathered across the U.S. 32% of Physical Therapy Assistants were males while 68% were females. These numbers are based on averages across all states combined. Some individual states may have a much different ratio however.

Past Jobs

Physical Therapist Assistant
$31,929 – $62,250
Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant (LPTA)
$36,146 – $68,202
Physical Therapy Aide
$17,694 – $31,043

Future Jobs

Physical Therapist (PT)
$49,860 – $85,798
Physician Assistant (PA)
$60,844 – $107,225
Pediatric Physical Therapy Assistant
$31,095 – $72,009

Physical Therapy Assistant Jobs






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