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What is the starting salary for physical therapy?

I am a junior in high school and my favorite classes are english and science. I'd love to be able to help people with their injuries because I have experience with having to go through physical therapy after a sports related injury.

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Cheri’s Answer

Hi Demetra,

The starting salary for a physical therapist is generally between $35/hour-$40/hour. It can be highly variable though depending on where you work. I am a physical therapist in North Carolina and the physical therapist salaries tend to be a bit lower because there are quite a few physical therapy doctoral programs across our state. Physical therapy is a great career though with many different options- you can work with athletes, kids, older adults and everything in between. To become a physical therapist, you must first get an undergraduate degree which can be in any field but generally a degree in Biology/Chemistry/Physics or Psychology or Sports Medicine is recommended because you do need a number of pre-requisite courses when you apply to PT schools. Once you have graduated with your 4 year degree, then you will apply to a physical therapy doctoral program. To earn your doctorate in physical therapy it is 3 more years of school which includes both classroom instruction and student internships. There are a handful of universities that offer what is called a direct admit physical therapy program- where you earn your undergraduate degree in 3 years and then go directly into their PT program for another 3 years.

If you think that you are still interested in a physical therapy career after reading this, then you should look into volunteer opportunities in your community. Experience in a physical therapy clinic is a requirement for applying to any PT program. You can also work as a PT aide and get paid. Most clinics are happy to have a student come in and shadow for a day or 2 as we all had to do this too before applying to become a PT! Good luck!

Cheri recommends the following next steps:

Call local hospitals or PT clinics in your area to ask about volunteer or shadow opportunities.
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Patrick’s Answer

Starting salaries for physical therapists can change depending on things like experience, education, and where you work. But usually, if you're just starting out, you can expect to make between $60,000 and $80,000 a year in these big cities. If you want to be a physical therapist, you'll usually need to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This usually takes about three years after getting a bachelor's degree. Since you like English and science, being a physical therapist could be a good fit for you because it needs a good understanding of both. Physical therapists are really important because they help people get better from injuries, move around better, and make their lives better overall. They use what they know about the body and how to treat it to do this. Since you've had physical therapy yourself after a sports injury, you know how much it can help. This could make being a physical therapist a really rewarding job for you to think about for your future.
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Aisha’s Answer

Hello Demetra,

Your high school journey, with a keen interest in physical therapy and a love for English and science, is a powerful base for a future in the physical therapy field. To become a physical therapist, you'll typically need a doctoral degree from a recognized program. Once you've finished your studies and secured your license, you'll be looking at a competitive initial salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2020, the middle-range annual income for physical therapists was $91,010, with the lowest 10% earning under $63,470 and the top 10% earning over $125,440. Your earnings may fluctuate based on factors like location, experience, and workplace (like hospitals or private practices). Your personal experience with physical therapy will offer invaluable understanding as you chase your career dreams in this fulfilling profession.

Best Wishes,
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