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Physical Therapy Major

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Physical Therapy

286 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
59 Master's Degrees Annually
#55 in Popularity
$88,880 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Physical Therapy Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many physical therapy/therapist graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 11,891
Bachelor’s Degree 286
Associate’s Degree 112
Master’s Degree 59
Graduate Certificate 47

What Physical Therapy Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to physical therapy and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Physical Therapy Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Skills for Physical Therapy Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to physical therapy:

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Physical Therapy Majors

Physical Therapy majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Physical Therapy Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with physical therapy:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Health Specialties Professors 25.9% $97,370
Physical Therapists 28.0% $87,930

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy?

286 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
70% Percent Women
21% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
The major attracts more women than men. About 70% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of physical therapy majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Physical Therapy Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 17
Black or African American 19
Hispanic or Latino 13
White 210
International Students 7
Other Races/Ethnicities 20

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Physical Therapy, too. About 2.4% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Physical Therapy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Physical Therapy majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $88,880 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Physical Therapy Major  ( 88880 to 122320 )
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )

Some degrees associated with physical therapy may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to physical therapy have obtained the following education levels.

Education Level Percentage of Workers
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.0%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.6%
Bachelor’s Degree 9.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 2.6%
Master’s Degree 37.8%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 4.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 3.4%
Doctoral Degree 33.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 6.7%

Online Physical Therapy Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 267 schools offered some type of physical therapy/therapist program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 14 1
Bachelor’s Degree 6 1
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 40 0
Post-Master’s 9 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 40 3
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 213 15
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 12 1

Is a Degree in Physical Therapy Worth It?

The median salary for a physical therapy grad is $88,880 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 123% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $979,600 after 20 years!


You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to physical therapy.

Major Number of Grads
Occupational Therapy/Therapist 8,785
Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor 1,359
Rehabilitation Science 1,144
Other Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions 1,114
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 1,103
Art Therapy/Therapist 704
Music Therapy 618
Orthotist/Prosthetist 402
Kinesiotherapy/Kinesiotherapist 230
Assistive/Augmentative Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering 104
Dance Therapy/Therapist 63
Animal-Assisted Therapy 47


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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