The Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in 2017

The highest physical therapy assistant salary is registered in the US with $56,850 per year. Australia follows US by a distance with AU$47,000 (US$35,555) and those working in New Zealand and Canada are next in line with NZ$35,000 (US$25,291) and C$32,000 (US$24,108), respectively. Professionals working in the United Kingdom can expect to earn £17,600 (US$22,191) per year on average.

The lowest salaries for physical therapy assistants of all English-speaking countries are registered in India and South Africa, where professionals earn Rs141,000 (US$2,182) and R150,120 (US$11,450) per year, respectively.

How Much Does a Physical Therapy Assistant Make per Year?

PTA Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $27.33 C$15.38
(US$11.57)
£8.46
(US$10.66)
AU$22.60
(US$ 17.07)
NZ$16.83
(US$12.16)
Rs67.79
(US$ 1.05)
R72.17
(US$5.50)
Annual Wage $56,850 C$32,000
(US$24,108)
£17,600
(US$22,191)
AU$47,000
(US$35,555)
NZ$35,000
(US$25,291)
Rs141,000
(US$2,182)
R150,120
(US$11,450)

Sometimes referred to as PTAs or physical therapy aides, physical therapy assistants work under the direct supervision of physical therapists. Their duties most commonly include helping patients who are recovering from illnesses and injuries to regain their mobility and manage their levels of pain.

Those aspiring to become a physical therapy assistant first have to get an Associate’s degree received from an accredited program. They usually receive training on the job and they are required to have a high school diploma. Nevertheless, this varies from country to country. If you are interested in this field, also check out our article on the physical therapist salary.

Factors that Influence the Physical Therapy Assistant Salary

The factors that influence the physical therapy assistant salaries the most are the geographic location of each place of employment, the level of experience of each PTA, and the industry to which the profession belongs.

Geographic Area

The geographic location of each place of employment is perhaps the number one influencing factor when it comes to the physical therapy assistant average salary. Since every country, state, and region have their economy and medical needs, having individual policies regarding the salaries of physical therapy assistants is only natural.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in the US

A physical therapy assistant working in the US earns about $56,850 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. PayScale, however, reports the average for the United States at $52,000 per year. According to this resource, the starting salary for physical therapy assistants is $34,981, but experienced professionals can earn up to $69,274 per year. Of this amount, bonuses can account for up to $4,002, and profit sharing opportunities – for up to $14,094 per year.

Below, you will find a series of tables documenting the states and the metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment and the highest physical therapy salary.

Highest Employment Levels for Physical Therapy Assistants in the US

The states with the highest levels of employment for physical therapy assistants are the following:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Texas 6,270 0.54 0.92 $35.01 $72,820
Ohio 5,640 1.07 1.81 $27.26 $56,700
California 4,920 0.32 0.54 $30.11 $62,630
Florida 4,570 0.58 0.98 $29.62 $61,610
Pennsylvania 4,550 0.80 1.35 $23.08 $48,010

The metropolitan areas offering the highest levels of employment for the profession are as follows:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Chicago – Naperville – Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division 2,810 0.79 1.34 $26.20 $54,490
New York – Jersey City – White Plains, NY – NJ Metropolitan Division 2,250 0.35 0.59 $27.75 $57,720
Dallas – Plano – Irving, TX Metropolitan Division 1,460 0.62 1.06 $38.61 $80,300
Warren – Troy – Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan Division 1,330 1.14 1.93 $22.83 $47,490
Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division 1,320 0.32 0.55 $31.18 $64,850
St. Louis, MO – IL 1,160 0.88 1.49 $23.64 $49,160
Phoenix – Mesa – Scottsdale, AZ 1,090 0.58 0.98 $21.04 $43,760
Washington – Arlington – Alexandria, DC – VA – MD – WV Metropolitan Division 1,050 0.43 0.74 $23.96 $49,840
Nassau County – Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division 1,040 0.82 1.38 $28.60 $59,480
Pittsburgh, PA 920 0.81 1.38 $23.53 $48,940

The nonmetropolitan areas with the highest physical therapy assistant levels of employment are the following:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
North Northeastern Ohio (non-contiguous) 670 2.04 3.46 $26.36 $54,840
Southern Ohio 310 2.03 3.44 $27.61 $57,430
Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan 270 0.98 1.67 $19.17 $39,880
West Tennessee 250 1.96 3.33 $30.04 $62,490
Northern West Virginia 210 1.41 2.40 $23.96 $49,830
Highest Salaries for Physical Therapy Assistants in the US

The states with the highest physical therapy assistant salaries are as follows:

State Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Texas 6,270 0.54 0.92 $35.01 $72,820
Alaska 70 0.21 0.36 $30.63 $63,720
California 4,920 0.32 0.54 $30.11 $62,630
New Jersey 1,270 0.32 0.55 $30.04 $62,490
Florida 4,570 0.58 0.98 $29.62 $61,610

The metropolitan areas with the highest physical therapy assistant salaries are the following:

Metropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Brownsville – Harlingen, TX 40 0.30 0.51 $43.41 $90,300
Dallas – Plano – Irving, TX Metropolitan Division 1,460 0.62 1.06 $38.61 $80,300
Tyler, TX 170 1.75 2.97 $37.49 $77,970
El Paso, TX 320 1.08 1.84 $37.13 $77,230
Corpus Christi, TX 140 0.76 1.29 $36.50 $75,910
Deltona – Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL 120 0.68 1.15 $35.67 $74,200
San Antonio – New Braunfels, TX 770 0.81 1.37 $34.81 $72,400
Waco, TX 60 0.51 0.86 $34.50 $71,760
Longview, TX 70 0.71 1.21 $34.44 $71,630
College Station-Bryan, TX 50 0.49 0.83 $34.32 $71,390

The nonmetropolitan areas offering the highest salaries for the occupation are as follows:

Nonmetropolitan area Employment Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Big Thicket Region of Texas $53.46 $111,190
Border Region of Texas $52.16 $108,500
Coastal Plains Region of Texas 130 0.86 1.46 $41.95 $87,260
Northwest Florida 40 1.33 2.27 $33.27 $69,210
North Texas Region of Texas 190 0.69 1.17 $32.42 $67,420

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in Canada

A physical therapist assistant working in Canada earns about C$32,000 (US$24,108) per year according to PayScale. The starting salary for this profession is C$25,024 (US$18,852), while experienced professionals can earn up to C$42,232 (US$33,176) in a year.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in the UK

According to the NCS website, a physical therapy assistant (called physiotherapy assistant in the UK) starts off with a salary between £15,000 and £18,000 (US$18,919 – US$22,703) per year. Experienced professionals can earn up to £22,000 (US$27,748) per year. PayScale, on the other hand, reports the salary range for physiotherapists in the UK between £10,470 and £23,839 per year (US$13,200 – US$30,053) and the average at £17,600 (US$22,191).

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in Australia

PayScale reports the mean physical therapy assistant salary at AU$47,000 (US$35,555) per year. The yearly income of a professional working in Australia ranges between AU$38,190 (US$28,871) for beginners in the field to AU$53,898 (US$40,746) for experienced professionals.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in New Zealand

Even though no info on the physical therapy assistant salary is available, we can take the medical assistant salary as a reference. Therefore, we can estimate a physical therapy assistant working in New Zealand earns between NZ$30,000 and NZ$40,000 (US$21,676 – US$28,901) per year. Therefore, we can estimate the average at NZ$35,000, or US$25,291.

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in India

Unfortunately, the info about the PTA salary in India is very limited. According to PayScale, the mean physical therapy assistant salary in India is Rs141,000 (US$2,182).

Physical Therapy Assistant Salary in South Africa

According to Indeed.co.za, a physical therapy assistant earns about R150,120 (US$11,450) per year. The lowest salary reported by this source is R106,776 (US$8,143) per year.

Experience

As with most salaries in healthcare, the experience of each employee has a significant influence on the physical therapy assistant salary. Of course, every year spent practicing the profession adds to the average income of these professionals. However, the change isn’t as significant as that caused by the geographical location.

Industry

The industry of the profession is important in determining the salary and exact job description and responsibilities of a physical therapy assistant. However, if we were to look at the influence of the industry vs. that of the geographical location and that of the experience, the geographic location would win.

The industries offering the highest levels of employment for physical therapy assistants in the US are as follows:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 36,690 4.56 $25.44 $52,910
General Surgical and Medical Hospitals 15,510 0.29 $25.13 $52,260
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) 9,370 0.57 $30.38 $63,200
Home Health Care Services 7,460 0.57 $30.81 $64,090
Offices of Physicians 4,220 0.17 $25.01 $52,010

Meanwhile, here are the industries offering the highest salaries for the profession:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Home Health Care Services 7,460 0.57 $30.81 $64,090
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) 9,370 0.57 $30.38 $63,200
Employment Services 820 0.02 $29.74 $61,860
Outpatient Care Centers 910 0.12 $28.84 $59,980
Assisted Living Facilities and Continuing Care Retirement Communities for the Elderly 810 0.09 $28.26 $58,780

Note: all tables are courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unfortunately, similar data is not available for other reviewed countries.

Working Hours

Depending on where they work – a hospital, a private clinic, a nursing care facility, etc., physical therapy assistants can have very different schedules. However, the average workweek of a physical therapy assistant is usually 40 hours long which can be distributed very randomly throughout the work week.

Working weekends, nights, and holidays can be common, but it only depends on the place of employment. Shifts are also common in all reviewed countries, particularly when working out of a hospital or a clinic.

Bonuses and Benefits Packages

While the physical therapy assistant salary is decent for a healthcare assistant’s salary, some aren’t all that satisfied with their pay range. However, bonuses, profit sharing, and overtimes can add quite a bit of extra capital to already decent physical therapy assistant salary.

As for the benefits packages of physical therapy assistants, paid and sick leave days, as well as a 401(K) plan, are par for the course in the US. About 67% of the physical therapy assistants employed here get medical insurance, 51% get dental, and 40% get vision, while about 31% receive no insurance whatsoever.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of physical therapist aides is estimated to grow 40% by 2024. That is by far a faster growth than the average for all professions in the United States.

The increase in the elderly population adds to the need for physical therapy experts and assistants. In addition, the increase in the incidence of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease patients is one of the trends which raises the need for all types of PTAs and occupational therapists.

Conclusion

Having one of the most satisfying jobs in healthcare, physical therapy assistants have a highly optimistic job outlook and plenty of opportunities to move forward with their careers. In addition to the material benefits of this job, there are also emotional benefits such as helping injured people move on with their lives can be highly rewarding.

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