A Physical Therapist Assistant is a trained and licensed health care professional with an associate degree. They provide treatment for individuals suffering from illnesses and diseases, disorders, or injuries that limit their mobility under the direction of a Physical Therapist.
A physical therapy assistant salary, as with other health care professionals, is affected by many variables including location, work industry type, level of education and ongoing education, and length of employment. However, wages are reasonable and stable, and the forecasted growth potential for this industry is high. In 2010 there were 65,960 Physical Therapist Assistants employed in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections Data, the projected growth percentage from 2008 to 2018 is 33%, going from 63,800 in 2008 to 85,000 in 2018.
In 2010, the mean annual Physical Therapy Assistant Salary was $49,810 or $23.95 hourly wage. The middle 50% PTA salary ranged from $19.35 hourly to $28.39, or annually $40,240 to $59,050. The top 10% earned over $68,820 annually or $33.09 hourly, and the lower 10% earned $31,070 or less annually or $14.94 hourly.
As with other health care professionals, the industry in which they work can affect a Physical Therapist Assistant salary. The top paying industry for a PTA is Home Health Care Services at $59,520 annually or $28.62 hourly. This is followed respectively by Management of Companies and Enterprises, Employment Services, Nursing Care Facilities and Community Care Facilities for the Elderly from $58,460 or $28.11 hourly down to $52,970 annually or $25.46 hourly.
Geographic location as well can affect a physical therapy assistant salary. In the United States, the highest paying states are Texas, California, Connecticut, Florida and Nevada, with wages at the higher end in Texas being $62,440 mean annually and at the lower end being Nevada with $54,800 mean annually. The hourly mean wage in Texas is at a much higher end of the normal range at $30.02.
Texas holds the majority of the highest paying metropolitan areas with the lowest end in Victoria TX still being over the $30 an hour rate. Top paying PTA salary in McAllen/Edinburg/Mission TX is well over the average wage at $38.29 hourly or $79,630 annually. All of these are mean wages and so still do not reflect the potential for even higher earnings related to years of service, education and experience in the field. Texas continues to hold the top 3 highest paying wages even in their non-metropolitan areas in Easter, Central and Gulf Coast areas for this occupation.
These statistics for Physical Therapist Assistant salary are based on year round full time employment and reflect the most recent statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. With the future outlook of health care issues in North America, and people refusing to settle for limited life styles, PTAs will be in demand making this a reasonable and secure career choice. If you are aiming for the higher salary of a physical therapist and are willing to invest more years at school you can try to become a physical therapist.