Median annual salary of physical therapist assistant in the United States is around $45,000.
Main influencing factors are level of experience and location.
Most people try to switch to another career after 10-15 years of working as a PTA. Most common career paths are becoming a licensed physical therapist, registered nurse or rehab service manager. As you can see from the graph on the left, after 10 years of work experience the growth of salary is not that fast, since by that time PTAs have all skills needed at this level. This is why “upgrading” a career is a very popular option.
We think that implementation of Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare will have its positive influence on PTA salaries throughout the US. And here is how. Now physical therapy will become a regular service that insurers will have to guarantee to their customers.
This means that the amount of patients that need physical therapy is going to increase dramatically. Physical therapists need to cope somehow with this rising demand and obviously will require more help from PTAs. The latter, in turn, will be expected to take more responsibility, which, in turn, is a reason for salary increase.
The salary of PTA is definitely higher in private practices as compared to public hospitals, however due to reasons mentioned before we expect that this difference will fade as need in PTAs will increase. To stay competitive, places that underpaid, will have to review their policy, since now PTAs will be able to choose from several job offers.
What about location, the highest paying states are: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
Lowest paying states are Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah.
Basically, if you consider relocation from lower-paying state to the one with higher salary, it can sometimes give a 50% increase in your wage.