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Physical Therapy Major

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Physical Therapy

301 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
41 Master's Degrees Annually
#54 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 2020-2021 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 13,145
Bachelor’s Degree 301
Associate Degree 95
Graduate Certificate 73
Master’s Degree 41

What Physical Therapy Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, physical therapy majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Physical Therapy Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in physical therapy should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • 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

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a physical therapy student include the following:

  • 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?

People with a physical therapy degree often go into the following careers:

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?

301 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
73% Percent Women
27% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major is dominated by women with about 73% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 29
Black or African American 22
Hispanic or Latino 20
White 211
International Students 1
Other Races/Ethnicities 18

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Physical Therapy. About 0.3% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Physical Therapy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $88,880 to $122,320 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to physical therapy. 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 2020-2021, 280 schools offered a physical therapy program of some type. 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 11 1
Bachelor’s Degree 7 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 13 0
Post-Master’s 9 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 39 2
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 235 5
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 10 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 9,958
Rehabilitation Science 1,161
Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling 1,046
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 870
Art Therapy 858
Other Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions 837
Music Therapy 665
Orthotist/Prosthetist 335
Assistive/Augmentative Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering 117
Kinesiotherapy/Kinesiotherapist 110
Animal-Assisted Therapy 85
Play Therapy 56
Dance Therapy 52
Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, General 28
Drama Therapy 0


*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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