How Much Does a Physical Therapist Assistant Make as a New Grad?

You may be one of the thousands of people who are still asking this question “how much does a physical therapist assistant make?”. To answer this question, its best to start by highlighting the factors that influence PTAs pay rate both for new grads and experienced PTAs.

Factors to Determine PTA Salary

PTA Earning In Brief
  • Median national PTA salary:
    $48,590
  • PTA salary range as per May 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics data:
    $30,400 to $66,460
PTA Earning by Experience
  • 1-4 years:
    $33,926 to $45,488
  • 5-9 years:
    $39,095 to $52,358
  • 10-19 years:
    $41,210 to $58,578
  • More than 20 years:
    $42,447 to $64,357

There are various factors that can affect a physical therapist assistant’s hourly wage (pay rate). The very first determining factor is the PTA’s training or educational background. Employers do care if you graduated from one of the top schools for physical therapy assisting. And if you are interested in growing your career – and eventually your salary – you also need to consider other factors such as the number of years that you’ve been working and whether you would want to level up and become a licensed physical therapist.

Remember that education is a major key in raising your salary as a PTA. There are certifications and degrees that can increase one’s salary and which can also make you a valuable employee. Where everyone else is suffering from the effects of the global economic crises, a PTA will always have a stable job and can even secure a lucrative career just as long as he’s willing to add more laurels to his education.

The job outlook for a physical therapist assistant is an excellent one. You can find well-paying companies in different states and it is not impossible to receive recruiters’ offers in your mailbox, email and your phone. If these opportunities don’t appeal to you, there are more job opportunities that await you online. Just go to any major search engine and in seconds, you’ll see hundreds of available PTA jobs.

Bigger companies tend to (but not always) pay higher wages. Employers who also come from places with higher costs of living tend to pay more so you might want to consider where you would want to begin practicing your PTA career. Rural areas have different demands for PTAs than urban areas so choose your job well as your choice would determine how much you would receive monthly.

One other determining factor is the setting in which you choose to work in. Those who work in outpatient clinics tend to have the lowest salaries because PTAs who are hired here are often fresh graduates. These slots fill easier so the pay isn’t as lucrative as those who could get employed in a huge hospital.

The demands and incentives for PTAs in skilled nursing facilities are quite high. Working in this setting is a good way to begin your physical therapist assistant career.

Licensure and Its Effects on PTA Salary

You might wonder whether obtaining a license would make a difference on your pay as a PTA. Depending on the state where you decide to practice as a PTA, a license is mandatory. There are a handful of states, though, which don’t require a license from their PTAs. All states require that you have at least graduated from a program that is duly-accredited.

Technically, a license has no effect on the PTA salary as it is a part of the requirements in order to begin practicing your profession.

Probable Earnings

The median national PTA salary is about $48,590. This is the figure that was issued in May 2009 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary range for physical therapist assistants in the U.S. are between $30,400 and $66,460. If you want higher wages, you may choose to work in home health care or nursing homes. Community centers can also pay higher than most physical therapy centers. However, majority of the available jobs can be found in hospitals and healthcare offices. In these workplaces, the average salary is at $47,000.

Higher Demand, Higher Pay

Opportunities for physical therapy assistants will always be plentiful so you won’t have to worry about looking for a suitable job. It is costlier to hire several physical therapists than to hire just one of them and then several PTAs. This way, the physical therapist will be the one to formulate the treatment plans and then his team of PTAs can implement the treatments under his supervision.

If you’re eager to begin earning as a PTA, you should look for work in facilities such as nursing homes and hospitals. These medical centers will be the best areas where a PTA can jumpstart his career and also to start earning.