Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Physical Therapists

What Physical Therapists Do

Physical therapists, sometimes called PTs, help injured or ill people improve their movement and manage their pain. These therapists are often an important part of the rehabilitation, treatment, and prevention of patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.

Work Environment

Physical therapists typically work in private offices and clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. They spend much of their time on their feet, actively working with patients.

How to Become a Physical Therapist

Physical therapists entering the profession need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All states require physical therapists to be licensed.

Job Outlook

Employment of physical therapists is projected to grow 34 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for physical therapy services will come from the aging baby boomers, who are staying active later in life. In addition, physical therapists will be needed to treat people with mobility issues stemming from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.

Growth & Trends

This occupation supported 204,200 jobs in 2012 and 210,900 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 3.3%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 36.0% in 2022 to 277,700 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 218,900, compared with an observed value of 210,900, 3.7% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 35.2% in 2024 to 282,700 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 292,400 jobs for 2024, 3.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.

Physical Therapists Employment and Labor Information 2023

Physical Therapists Employment Brief:

Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.

Physical Therapists Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Physical Therapists.

Physical Therapists Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
  • Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
  • Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
  • Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
  • Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
  • Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
  • Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
  • Refer clients to community resources or services.
  • Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.
  • Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.

Typical Daily Tasks of Physical Therapists:

  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources. Treat patients using physical therapy techniques.
  • Documenting/Recording Information: Record patient medical histories.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public.
  • Getting Information: Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings: Monitor patient progress or responses to treatments.

Physical Therapists Skills and Requirements:

  • Systems Analysis Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Systems Evaluation Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Installation Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.
  • Equipment Maintenance Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • InternetNavigating the Internet to find information, including the ability to open and configure standard browsers; use searches, hypertext references, and transfer protocols; and send and retrieve electronic mail (e-mail).
  • Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

Physical Therapists Education and Training:

Typical education for include: Doctoral or professional degree.

Physical Therapists Salary, Wages, and Salary and Job Outlook

Physical Therapists average pay is: $46.98 per hour according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employees who work in Home Health Care Services are the highest paid making $54.79, while Offices of Other Health Practitioners make the least at $43.91 per hour.Here are the top city/metro areas with the highest paying salaries for a Physical Therapists:


Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

Employment per thousand jobs

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA




San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA




Napa, CA




Santa Rosa, CA




Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA



1.48 Physical Therapists data