Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2021
31-2022 Physical Therapist Aides
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.
National estimates for Physical Therapist Aides
Industry profile for Physical Therapist Aides
Geographic profile for Physical Therapist Aides
National estimates for Physical Therapist Aides:
Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for Physical Therapist Aides:
Employment (1) Employment
RSE (3) Mean hourly
wage Mean annual
wage (2) Wage RSE (3) 42,390 2.9 % $ 14.60 $ 30,370 1.0 %
Percentile wage estimates for Physical Therapist Aides:
Percentile 10% 25% 50%
(Median) 75% 90% Hourly Wage $ 10.65 $ 11.65 $ 14.04 $ 16.98 $ 18.23 Annual Wage (2) $ 22,140 $ 24,240 $ 29,200 $ 35,320 $ 37,920
Industry profile for Physical Therapist Aides:
Industries with the highest published employment and wages for Physical Therapist Aides are provided. For a list of all industries with employment in Physical Therapist Aides, see the Create Customized Tables function.
Industries with the highest levels of employment in Physical Therapist Aides:
Industries with the highest concentration of employment in Physical Therapist Aides:
Top paying industries for Physical Therapist Aides:
Geographic profile for Physical Therapist Aides:
States and areas with the highest published employment, location quotients, and wages for Physical Therapist Aides are provided. For a list of all areas with employment in Physical Therapist Aides, see the Create Customized Tables function.
States with the highest employment level in Physical Therapist Aides:
States with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in Physical Therapist Aides:
State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2) New Jersey 4,170 1.08 3.60 $ 15.12 $ 31,460 Utah 1,210 0.78 2.58 $ 12.92 $ 26,880 Louisiana 1,200 0.67 2.22 $ 11.04 $ 22,960 Wyoming 170 0.64 2.11 $ 13.56 $ 28,210 Nebraska 510 0.53 1.77 $ 13.02 $ 27,090
Top paying states for Physical Therapist Aides:
State Employment (1) Employment per thousand jobs Location quotient (9) Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage (2) Alaska 40 0.12 0.41 $ 20.95 $ 43,580 Hawaii (8) (8) (8) $ 19.27 $ 40,070 Rhode Island 150 0.32 1.07 $ 18.13 $ 37,710 Minnesota 190 0.07 0.23 $ 17.92 $ 37,280 Maine 120 0.20 0.68 $ 17.81 $ 37,040
Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level in Physical Therapist Aides:
Metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in Physical Therapist Aides:
Top paying metropolitan areas for Physical Therapist Aides:
Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest employment in Physical Therapist Aides:
Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in Physical Therapist Aides:
Top paying nonmetropolitan areas for Physical Therapist Aides:
About May 2021 National, State, Metropolitan, and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
These estimates are calculated with data collected from employers in all industry sectors, all metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, and all states and the District of Columbia. The top employment and wage figures are provided above. The complete list is available in the downloadable XLS files.
The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall. The median wage is the 50th percentile wage estimate—50 percent of workers earn less than the median and 50 percent of workers earn more than the median. More about percentile wages.
(1) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(2) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours; for those occupations where there is not an hourly wage published, the annual wage has been directly calculated from the reported survey data.
(3) The relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the reliability of a survey statistic. The smaller the relative standard error, the more precise the estimate.
(7) The value is less than .005 percent of industry employment.
(8) Estimate not released.
(9) The location quotient is the ratio of the area concentration of occupational employment to the national average concentration. A location quotient greater than one indicates the occupation has a higher share of employment than average, and a location quotient less than one indicates the occupation is less prevalent in the area than average.
Other OEWS estimates and related information:
May 2021 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2021 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2021 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
May 2021 Occupation Profiles
Recommend this page using:
Frequently asked questions
What do physical therapist assistants do?
Physical therapy assistants (PTAs) provide physical therapy services while being directed and supervised by a licensed physical therapist. PTAs may assist patients of all ages who need physical rehab or have medical issues or health-related conditions that limit their ability to perform daily activities.
PTAs provide care focusing on patients’ mobility, strength, and coordination and may help patients with exercises geared toward strengthening these abilities. PTAs may train patients for activities such as walking with a mobility device including crutches, canes, or walkers. They may also fit or adjust supportive devices, such a leg braces or crutches. In addition, PTAs are also trained to conduct therapeutic exercises and provide therapeutic massage using ultrasound or electrical stimulation for treatment.
Working with physical therapists, PTAs can help measure changes in patients’ performance and assist with clerical duties, including documenting progress, completing forms, and ordering supplies.
PTAs work in a variety of settings including hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, sports facilities, schools, and more.
Read more about what physical therapist assistants do.
What is the difference between a PTA and Occupational Therapist Assistant (OTA)?
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the direction of a physical therapist (PT) to help people return to daily activity which may encompass movement related recreational pursuits, work, or sports. PTAs also offer patients injury prevention strategies related to fitness and movement. They help implement plans established by a PT to promote movement, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.
Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) work under the direction of an occupational therapist (OT) to help people of all ages who have a disability, condition or injury which interferes with their ability to carry out daily self-care, school or work tasks. OT/OTAs work on cognition as well as the physical aspect of care.
Average PTA salary by state
Job / CareerPer yearPer hourPhysical Therapist Assistant (PTA)$58,440$28.58Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA)$63,420$30.49
All salary data courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2020).
* Salaries can vary based on location, education, and experience. This average is not entry level – recent graduates will need to earn experience and work their way up to earn a higher salary.
Both OTAs and PTAs may be able to increase their earning potential by earning a bachelor’s degree in health science. Completing a bachelor’s degree can help OTAs and PTAs qualify for more jobs within their field and advance their career.
Learn more about the primary difference between OTA and PTA.
How can I become a PTA?
To become a PTA, you’ll need to earn an associate’s degree from a physical therapy assistant program. Generally, these programs take approximately 20 months to complete and focus on medical terminology, kinesiology, patient care, and anatomy/physiology. As a complement to online coursework, you’ll also participate in hands-on clinicals and lab work, which will help build your practical experience in physical therapy assisting.
Once you have graduated, it’s important to become certified. You can sit for the National Licensing Examination for Physical Therapy Assistants, which is administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT). Passing the exam and earning your PTA certification is a requirement for working as a PTA.
The Physical Therapy Aide may be responsible for operation and maintenance of equipment. Assist in preparation of patients for treatment under the direction of physical therapist. Being a Physical Therapy Aide helps maintain the medical records of the client and perform various clerical duties. Prepares and sanitizes treatment room for the patients. In addition, Physical Therapy Aide greets the patients and schedules appointments. Requires a high school diploma or its equivalent. Typically reports to a supervisor or manager. Being a Physical Therapy Aide may require 0-1 year of general work experience. Possesses a moderate understanding of general aspects of the job. Works under the close direction of senior personnel in the functional area. (Copyright 2022 Salary.com)