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Physical Therapy Major

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Physical Therapy

385 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
54 Master's Degrees Annually
#51 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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Doctor’s Degree 12,277
Bachelor’s Degree 385
Associate’s Degree 95
Master’s Degree 54
Graduate Certificate 54

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:

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  • 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

When studying physical therapy, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • 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:

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  • 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?

385 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
70% Percent Women
20% 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 35
Black or African American 8
Hispanic or Latino 22
White 294
International Students 7
Other Races/Ethnicities 19

Geographic Diversity

Physical Therapy appeals to people across the globe. About 1.8% 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 the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with physical therapy require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. 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.

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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 2018-2019, 271 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 14 3
Bachelor’s Degree 7 1
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 17 1
Post-Master’s 8 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 42 4
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 221 13
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 9 0

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!

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

Major Number of Grads
Occupational Therapy/Therapist 9,142
Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling/Counselor 1,232
Rehabilitation Science 1,164
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 1,079
Other Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions 1,062
Art Therapy/Therapist 711
Music Therapy 655
Orthotist/Prosthetist 333
Kinesiotherapy/Kinesiotherapist 144
Assistive/Augmentative Technology and Rehabilitation Engineering 104
Dance Therapy/Therapist 37
Animal-Assisted Therapy 31

References

*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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