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Physical Therapy Aide

Physical Therapist Aides


Schools and Education

Fast Facts*
Recommended Degree LevelCertificate or Higher
Salary, Typical$23,880
Salary Range$18K - $35K
Number of Jobs, 201248,700
Annual Job Growth Rate4.8%
Job Openings per Year (est.)2,760

What's Needed:

  • Many physical therapist aides receive all the training they need to complete their tasks while on the job.
  • Completing a certificate program at a vocational school can give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.

What you study:

Whether you learn how to be a physical therapist solely from on-the-job training or in a classroom environment, you will study the following types of topics:

  • Physiology and Anatomy
  • Medical Terminology and Billing
  • Mobility and Exercise Therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Systems and Functions
  • Physical Ailments and Diseases
  • Patient Safety

What courses you'll take

Below are examples of courses that you'll likely take as a physical therapy aide student.

Course Studies Purpose
Introduction to Healthcare Introduces the healthcare system and its laws, ethics, business aspects, and basics of patient care. Overviews common healthcare fields and jobs, including physical therapy. Give students the overall healthcare context for their work as a PT Aide to help their later studies and on-the-job training.
Medical Terminology Teaches the building blocks of terminology used in the medical fields, including roots, prefixes, and suffixes as well as commonly used vocabulary. Covers specific terminology for the human body's structure, functions, and diseases as related to physical therapy. Pronunciation, spelling, and abbreviations are included. Enable students to communicate effectively with their physical therapy and medical industry colleagues.
Physical Therapy Aide Core knowledge and practices involved in being a PT Aide, including: basic patient care and handling, communication, safety, anatomy, range of motion exercises, ambulation and gait training, preventing pressure sores, transferring patients, infection control, and measuring vital signs. Also may cover history of physical therapy and related legal and ethics issues. Prepare students with the knowledge needed to begin work as an entry-level physical therapy aide.
Practicum or Externship Practice classroom knowledge through hands-on practical experience in a clinical facility. Work with patients, physical therapists, and physical therapist assistants. Reinforce classroom knowledge with practical experience in a clinical setting.

Video Overview

Introduces the work of a physical therapy aide. Created for the US Dept. of Labor.


Certifications and Licensing

No formal licensing is needed in order to become a physical therapist aide. Many individuals who work in this field receive all of the training that they need from the physical therapists for whom they work.


Job Flexibility

Full-time versus part-time:

Physical therapist aides can work either full- or part-time schedules. Many aides work part time while attending school. For physical therapist aides who wish to continue their education in this field, advancement opportunities are excellent. Becoming a physical therapist aide is a great way to begin a career as a physical therapist assistant or licensed physical therapist.


Recommended Websites

These are some of our favorite websites for finding information about a career as a physical therapist aide:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook: This essential handbook provides a wealth of statistical information about physical therapist aide salaries, education and employment projections. Because this resource focuses on data, it is important that individuals who wish to become physical therapist aides also visit websites that can offer a well-rounded view of this career.
  • The American Physical Therapy Association: The APTA is the leading organization for licensed physical therapists in the U.S. News about research in the field of physical therapy and professional advocacy activities are presented on the site. Prospective physical therapist aide students will find a wealth of information about college programs, career prospects and the expectations for professionals in this field.
  • The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy: The FSBPT site provides a wide array of information about licensing, regulation and training in the field of physical therapy. Resources are available both for students and experienced professionals in the field. Physical therapist aides can benefit from looking up job and volunteer opportunities on this site.


Salaries by City

See typical salaries and ranges for this career below*. Shift click to sort by more than one column -- for example first shift-click on state and then shift-click on salary to find best and worst salaries in each state.

StateCity / RegionTypical SalarySalary RangeJob Count% of All Jobs
AKAnchorage$38,630$21K - $46K500.03%
ALAuburn - Opelika$21,020$17K - $24K600.12%
ALBirmingham - Hoover$24,340$17K - $36K1100.02%
ALHuntsville$22,530$17K - $30K400.02%
ALMobile$26,560$17K - $30KN/AN/A
ALMontgomery$21,030$17K - $26K500.03%
ARFayetteville - Springdale - Rogers$21,020$17K - $24K300.02%
ARFort Smith$23,670$20K - $42K300.03%
ARLittle Rock - North Little Rock - Conway$23,950$20K - $32K1200.03%
AZPhoenix - Mesa - Glendale$23,700$18K - $33K5100.03%
AZPrescott$27,120$19K - $34KN/AN/A
AZTucson$25,730$21K - $35K1300.04%
CABakersfield - Delano$22,330$18K - $30K1200.04%
CAChico$21,600$18K - $40K800.12%
CAFresno$23,620$18K - $34K1400.04%
CALos Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale (Metro Area)$25,750$19K - $36K1,4600.04%
CAMerced$22,710$18K - $30K700.12%
CAModesto$25,230$20K - $41K700.05%
CAOakland - Fremont - Hayward (Metro Area)$28,560$21K - $42K2500.03%
CAOxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura$24,140$19K - $35K2900.10%
CARedding$25,670$20K - $36K600.10%
CARiverside - San Bernardino - Ontario$27,910$22K - $38K4700.04%
CASacramento - Arden - Arcade - Roseville$25,860$21K - $36K2900.04%
CASalinas$25,560$20K - $35K700.04%
CASan Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos$23,460$19K - $35K5600.04%
CASan Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City (Metro Area)$26,640$21K - $34K2600.03%
CASan Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara$27,970$22K - $45K2300.03%
CASan Luis Obispo - Paso Robles$22,200$18K - $37K500.05%
CASanta Ana - Anaheim - Irvine (Metro Area)$28,590$20K - $44K9400.07%
CASanta Barbara - Santa Maria - Goleta$28,260$20K - $37K1600.10%
CAStockton$23,330$19K - $46K600.03%
CAVallejo - Fairfield$23,700$20K - $36KN/AN/A
CAVisalia - Porterville$20,940$18K - $28K400.03%
CODenver - Aurora - Broomfield$29,310$25K - $39K3300.03%
COFort Collins - Loveland$26,700$21K - $36K600.04%
CTBridgeport - Stamford - Norwalk$25,860$21K - $36K2100.05%
CTHartford - West Hartford - East Hartford$27,000$21K - $36K700.01%
CTNew Haven$27,050$21K - $37K900.03%
CTNorwich - New London$26,740$21K - $31K600.04%
DCWashington - Arlington - Alexandria (Metro Area)$23,340$17K - $30K7200.03%
DEWilmington (Metro Area)$20,530$16K - $34K2400.07%
FLCape Coral - Fort Myers$26,400$21K - $30K500.02%
FLFort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield Beach (Metro Area)$25,900$20K - $36K2000.03%
FLGainesville$23,440$20K - $30K1000.09%
FLJacksonville$24,890$20K - $34K2400.04%
FLLakeland - Winter Haven$26,530$21K - $35K500.02%
FLMiami - Miami Beach - Kendall (Metro Area)$22,120$17K - $29K4100.04%
FLNaples - Marco Island$22,770$20K - $31K400.04%
FLNorth Port - Bradenton - Sarasota$23,170$20K - $33K700.03%
FLOcala$22,560$19K - $30K600.07%
FLOrlando - Kissimmee - Sanford$23,330$20K - $30K1800.02%
FLPalm Bay - Melbourne - Titusville$22,710$17K - $29K900.05%
FLPensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent$22,240$20K - $27K500.03%
FLPort St. Lucie$25,510$20K - $34K300.03%
FLSebastian - Vero Beach$26,400$19K - $32K300.07%
FLTallahassee$20,510$17K - $24K900.06%
FLTampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater$23,740$20K - $30K2500.02%
FLWest Palm Beach - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach (Metro Area)$30,070$24K - $54K1500.03%
GAAtlanta - Sandy Springs - Marietta$21,510$16K - $30K2800.01%
GAAugusta - Richmond County$21,720$16K - $29K900.04%
GAColumbus$23,110$19K - $31K400.04%
GAMacon$24,200$17K - $30K1100.12%
GASavannah$20,220$16K - $24K1000.07%
GAValdosta$18,880$16K - $24KN/AN/A
HIHonolulu$25,590$16K - $44K800.02%
IADavenport - Moline - Rock Island$24,730$18K - $30K400.02%
IADes Moines - West Des Moines$22,060$17K - $30KN/AN/A
IADubuque$22,500$17K - $34K300.06%
IDBoise City - Nampa$24,040$17K - $34K1000.04%
IDIdaho Falls$20,340$16K - $24K400.07%
IDLewiston$23,290$17K - $29K400.16%
ILChicago - Joliet - Naperville (Metro Area)$23,240$19K - $31K1,5500.04%
ILLake County - Kenosha County (Metro Area)$24,120$20K - $30KN/AN/A
ILRockford$22,080$18K - $30K500.04%
INEvansville$27,810$18K - $64K1100.07%
INGary (Metro Area)$25,420$19K - $52K1200.05%
INIndianapolis - Carmel$21,660$17K - $31KN/AN/A
KSTopeka$27,390$21K - $46K400.03%
KSWichita$24,240$17K - $30K600.02%
KYLexington - Fayette$19,460$16K - $31K2200.09%
KYLouisville - Jefferson County$24,720$17K - $51K2000.03%
LAAlexandria$19,950$16K - $27K400.07%
LABaton Rouge$20,400$16K - $28K3200.09%
LAHouma - Bayou Cane - Thibodaux$22,240$17K - $30KN/AN/A
LALafayette$21,690$16K - $30K1400.09%
LALake Charles$18,880$16K - $23K500.05%
LAMonroe$22,300$17K - $30K400.05%
LANew Orleans - Metairie - Kenner$23,280$17K - $30K2400.05%
LAShreveport - Bossier City$22,690$16K - $43K1600.09%
MABoston - Cambridge - Quincy (Metro Area)$27,950$25K - $35K5000.03%
MABrockton - Bridgewater - Easton (Metro Area)$30,280$22K - $37K500.06%
MALowell - Billerica - Chelmsford (Metro Area)$27,100$20K - $37K700.06%
MAPeabody (Metro Area)$26,690$22K - $37K300.03%
MASpringfield$25,190$20K - $41K1300.04%
MAWorcester$29,730$22K - $68K900.04%
MDBaltimore - Towson$20,190$16K - $34K8900.07%
MDBethesda - Rockville - Frederick (Metro Area)$23,780$17K - $32K3400.06%
MDSalisbury$26,230$21K - $36K300.06%
MIDetroit - Livonia - Dearborn (Metro Area)$24,670$17K - $34K900.01%
MIWarren - Troy - Farmington Hills (Metro Area)$24,980$20K - $33K3500.03%
MNMinneapolis - St. Paul - Bloomington$27,670$22K - $36K1200.01%
MOCape Girardeau - Jackson$23,620$17K - $34K400.11%
MOKansas City$26,380$17K - $37K1700.02%
MOSt. Louis$19,650$16K - $33K4600.04%
MSGulfport - Biloxi$21,700$17K - $28K400.04%
MSJackson$23,370$16K - $43K700.03%
MSPascagoula$24,030$20K - $30KN/AN/A
MTMissoula$24,810$17K - $52K400.07%
NCAsheville$24,450$20K - $35K500.03%
NCCharlotte - Gastonia - Rock Hill$22,470$17K - $33K1200.01%
NCDurham - Chapel Hill$24,620$17K - $32K700.02%
NCFayetteville$23,150$18K - $32K500.04%
NCGreensboro - High Point$23,130$20K - $29K500.01%
NCRaleigh - Cary$24,850$20K - $30K1100.02%
NCWilmington$22,550$19K - $30K300.02%
NCWinston - Salem$25,280$20K - $30K800.04%
NDBismarck$19,640$16K - $33K500.07%
NELincoln$18,630$16K - $28K1600.10%
NEOmaha - Council Bluffs$21,980$19K - $28K3000.07%
NJAtlantic City - Hammonton$27,770$22K - $36K400.03%
NJCamden (Metro Area)$26,340$21K - $36K3100.06%
NJEdison - New Brunswick (Metro Area)$23,810$18K - $34K1,1800.12%
NJNewark - Union (Metro Area)$26,820$21K - $35K1,0000.10%
NJTrenton - Ewing$24,260$18K - $33K1900.09%
NMAlbuquerque$27,060$22K - $35K1600.04%
NVLas Vegas - Paradise$30,880$22K - $37K2300.03%
NYAlbany - Schenectady - Troy$23,240$17K - $30K900.02%
NYBuffalo - Niagara Falls$28,630$22K - $40K1100.02%
NYNassau - Suffolk (Metro Area)$26,130$18K - $40K9000.07%
NYNew York - White Plains - Wayne (Metro Area)$25,520$18K - $36K2,0500.04%
NYPoughkeepsie - Newburgh - Middletown$26,490$17K - $36K1000.04%
NYRochester$24,810$17K - $35K700.01%
NYSyracuse$23,970$17K - $37K1100.04%
NYUtica - Rome$29,190$21K - $38K1100.09%
OHAkron$22,060$18K - $29K500.02%
OHCanton - Massillon$25,790$18K - $34K400.03%
OHCincinnati - Middletown$25,480$19K - $35K2000.02%
OHCleveland - Elyria - Mentor$26,970$20K - $50K1900.02%
OHColumbus$22,720$17K - $31K900.01%
OHDayton$26,090$21K - $33K900.03%
OHYoungstown - Warren - Boardman$24,310$17K - $37K1100.05%
OKLawton$18,440$16K - $25K300.08%
OKOklahoma City$20,720$16K - $30K3300.06%
OKTulsa$21,340$16K - $40K900.02%
ORBend$24,440$20K - $32K500.09%
ORMedford$23,120$19K - $30K400.05%
ORPortland - Vancouver - Hillsboro$27,880$23K - $36K3000.03%
ORSalem$26,700$21K - $31K700.05%
PAAllentown - Bethlehem - Easton$26,670$20K - $37K800.02%
PAHarrisburg - Carlisle$28,160$22K - $36K600.02%
PALancaster$26,490$21K - $34K1000.04%
PAPhiladelphia (Metro Area)$27,060$17K - $37K1,0200.06%
PAPittsburgh$23,960$20K - $37K5000.04%
PAReading$35,200$26K - $58K400.03%
PAScranton - Wilkes - Barre$26,430$17K - $37KN/AN/A
PAYork - Hanover$27,820$21K - $36K800.05%
PRSan Juan - Caguas - Guaynabo$29,890$17K - $38K400.01%
RIProvidence - Fall River - Warwick$23,210$20K - $30K2200.04%
SCCharleston - North Charleston - Summerville$27,130$17K - $33K1900.07%
SCColumbia$20,980$17K - $31K1500.05%
SCGreenville - Mauldin - Easley$19,800$16K - $56KN/AN/A
TNChattanooga$22,100$17K - $30K900.04%
TNJohnson City$20,770$17K - $32K500.06%
TNKingsport - Bristol - Bristol$25,150$20K - $31K500.05%
TNKnoxville$22,130$17K - $29K2000.06%
TNMemphis$22,340$17K - $30K2600.04%
TNNashville - Davidson - Murfreesboro - Franklin$21,460$17K - $29K2000.03%
TXAbilene$18,030$16K - $28KN/AN/A
TXAmarillo$18,940$16K - $24K1000.09%
TXAustin - Round Rock - San Marcos$21,550$16K - $30K2900.04%
TXBeaumont - Port Arthur$20,390$16K - $26K800.05%
TXBrownsville - Harlingen$20,910$16K - $78K1000.08%
TXCollege Station - Bryan$19,120$16K - $24K600.06%
TXCorpus Christi$19,050$16K - $28K1900.10%
TXDallas - Plano - Irving (Metro Area)$25,730$18K - $36K1,0000.05%
TXEl Paso$21,110$16K - $63K1500.06%
TXFort Worth - Arlington (Metro Area)$22,600$18K - $36K3800.04%
TXHouston - Sugar Land - Baytown$22,040$17K - $30K5100.02%
TXLaredo$18,990$16K - $24K400.04%
TXLongview$22,190$20K - $25K400.05%
TXLubbock$19,130$16K - $28K1300.10%
TXMcAllen - Edinburg - Mission$19,440$16K - $27K1900.08%
TXMidland$20,620$16K - $24K300.04%
TXOdessa$21,910$17K - $30KN/AN/A
TXSan Angelo$18,900$16K - $29K600.14%
TXSan Antonio - New Braunfels$19,030$16K - $30K3600.04%
TXSherman - Denison$20,250$16K - $28K300.08%
TXTyler$23,190$17K - $31K700.08%
TXVictoria$20,940$16K - $29K400.08%
TXWaco$21,690$16K - $30KN/AN/A
TXWichita Falls$18,220$16K - $24K900.16%
UTOgden - Clearfield$19,280$16K - $24K1900.10%
UTProvo - Orem$18,630$16K - $23K2400.13%
UTSalt Lake City$21,380$17K - $27K4200.07%
UTSt. George$21,890$18K - $25K500.11%
VACharlottesville$21,100$17K - $30KN/AN/A
VADanville$21,040$17K - $27K400.10%
VALynchburg$22,760$18K - $31K400.04%
VARichmond$21,640$17K - $27K2500.04%
VAVirginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News$21,460$17K - $25K4100.06%
WABellingham$26,360$20K - $36K500.06%
WAKennewick - Pasco - Richland$24,130$20K - $29K500.05%
WAMount Vernon - Anacortes$31,200$25K - $37K300.07%
WAOlympia$25,790$21K - $30K900.10%
WASeattle - Bellevue - Everett (Metro Area)$27,920$21K - $37K2600.02%
WASpokane$22,430$19K - $30K700.04%
WATacoma (Metro Area)$30,370$21K - $38K400.01%
WAYakima$27,480$24K - $36K400.05%
WIEau Claire$27,990$22K - $54K300.04%
WIMadison$28,870$22K - $46K300.01%
WIMilwaukee - Waukesha - West Allis$21,450$16K - $38K1500.02%
WVHuntington - Ashland$22,090$16K - $51K700.06%