Physical Therapist Aides
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Speciality
Overview
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Under close supervision of a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, perform only delegated, selected, or routine tasks in specific situations. These duties include preparing the patient and the treatment area.
Titles for this career often contain these words
AideTherapyPhysicalRehabilitationTechnicianOutpatientTherapistPTAAttendantRestorativeClinicalTechPhysiotherapyRACare
Education
Only 28% of physical therapist assistants and aides have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by physical therapist assistants and aides
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Employment
Workforce size
Physical therapist aides, with 49,800 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for physical therapist aides are expected to grow by 23%, and should have about 8,000 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
The likelihood of automation for physical therapist aides is near the middle of all careers' likelihoods.
Salaries
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for physical therapist aides compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most physical therapist aides earn.
$27K$0$10K$20K$30K$40K
Gender
Women account for 67% of physical therapist assistants and aides -- that's a larger percentage than 79% of other jobs.
Gender of physical therapist assistants and aides
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For physical therapist assistants and aides, the median men's salary was 12% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 18% of physical therapist assistants and aides are minority, and 10% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of physical therapist assistants and aides
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (10%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Physical Therapist Aides per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
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Benefits
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of physical therapist aides who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (87%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (61%)
  • Consequence of Error (46%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (41%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (38%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (32%)
SOURCES:
Salary and diversity
What do physical therapist assistants and aides earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries at the specialty level (physical therapist aides). This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for physical therapist aides (BLS Salary Data)
$27K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$27K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers. This view of salaries is only available for all physical therapist assistants and aides.
Distribution: Salaries for physical therapist assistants and aides (ACS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $46KAll jobs' median $45K$43K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire physical therapist aides.
Employers of Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides (ACS)
Private for-profit (80.3%)
Private not-for-profit (13.4%)
Local government (1.4%)
State government (1.1%)
Federal government (2.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.6%)
Self-employed not incorporated (1.0%)
Working without pay (0.2%)
Distribution: Salaries of physical therapist assistants and aides by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses. These salaries were reported for the larger career group of physical therapist assistants and aides, which combines the 2 specialties for this career.
$45K$44K$45K$45K$45K$61K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Self-employed not incorporatedFederal governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of physical therapist aides by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS. Remember that the BLS salaries are for the specialty physical therapist aides, and may differ signficantly from the ACS salary estimates which combine several career specialties.
$27K$0$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000All

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for physical therapist assistants and aides

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
$43K$50K$52K$53K$37K$49K$21K$51K$49K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
Number employed
02K4K6K8K10K12K20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Physical therapist assistants and aides and gender

With 67% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 79% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
67%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Physical therapist assistants and aides
Men (33%)
Women (67%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for physical therapist assistants and aides, with the median salary for men 12% higher than the median salary for women.

$43K$48K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men. Physical therapist assistants and aides have one of the smaller inequity calculations, with the increase for men's median salary over women's median salary in this job lower than that for 62% of other jobs.

12%0%20%40%60%80%100%

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of physical therapist assistants and aides

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority physical therapist assistants and aides than for 59% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of physical therapist assistants and aides
White (80% )
Black (7% )
Asian (6% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (2% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
18%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for physical therapist assistants and aides by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$32K$33K$37K$38K$41K$45K$46K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KOtherHispanicAmerican IndianMultiracialBlackAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for physical therapist assistants and aides by nativity
$44K$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Physical therapist assistants and aides and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 33% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 87% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
33%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
School/training
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time physical therapist assistants and aides is shown following.

$16K$45K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by physical therapist aides

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physical therapist aides typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as physical therapist assistants and aides as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for physical therapist aides

All states require physical therapist assistants to be licensed or certified. Licensure typically requires graduation from an accredited physical therapist assistant program and passing the National Physical Therapy Exam for physical therapist assistants. The exam is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. Some states require that applicants pass an exam on the state’s laws regulating the practice of physical therapy assistants, undergo a criminal background check, and be at least 18 years old. Physical therapist assistants also may need to take continuing education courses to keep their license. Check with your state board for specific licensing requirements.

Additionally, physical therapy assistants may earn certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), or other first-aid skills.

States do not require physical therapist aides to be licensed.

Education attained by physical therapist assistants and aides
None
High School
Some College
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Doctorate
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for physical therapist assistants and aides? Below we see the distribution of physical therapist assistants and aides salaries based on the education attained.

$26K$29K$33K$51K$40K$45K$55K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KNone (1%)High School (6%)Some College (14%)Associate's/Cert. (50%)Bachelor's Degree (25%)Master's Degree (2%)Professional Degree (1%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Associate's degree or certificate
Bachelor's
Graduate
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for physical therapist assistants and aides

What jobs will most physical therapist assistants and aides hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of physical therapist assistants and aides reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Physical Therapist Assistants and AidesPhysical TherapistsNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesReceptionists and Information ClerksTherapists, all otherHealth Technologists and TechniciansMedical assistants and other healthcare support occupationsSpecialized EngineersOccupational Therapists
Lateral job transitions for physical therapist assistants and aides

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as physical therapist assistants and aides as well as 1% of respondents after working as physical therapist assistants and aides. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Prior and next careers for physical therapist assistants and aides: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as physical therapist assistants and aides? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of physical therapist assistants and aides surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Employed
How many people have this job?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
No degree
Associate's/Cert.
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate/Professional
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most physical therapist aides? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as physical therapist aides. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all physical therapist assistants and aides, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Number of Physical Therapist Aides per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.20.40.60.81.0
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where physical therapist aides earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for physical therapist assistants and aides compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for physical therapist assistants and aides.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all physical therapist assistants and aides, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS for this specialty
Location-adjusted median salary for Physical Therapist Aides (BLS for this specialty)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which physical therapist aides earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
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$0$10K$20K$30K$40K
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests with
All education levels
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