Physical Therapists



Physical therapists, formerly called physiotherapists, are health care specialists who restore mobility, alleviate pain and suffering, and work to prevent permanent disability for their patients. They test and measure the functions of the musculoskeletal, neurological, pulmonary, and cardiovascular systems and treat problems in these systems caused by illness, injury, or birth defect. Physical therapists provide preventive, restorative, and rehabilitative treatment for their patients. Approximately 233,350 physical therapists are li...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Master's Degree



Clinical experience required



Coaching/Physical Training


Personality Traits

Hands On


Salaries for physical therapists depend on experience, geographic location, and type of employer. Physical therapists earned a median annual salary of $89,440 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The lowest 10 percent earned $62,120 and the top 10 percent earned $124,740 or more a year. 

Physical therapists who work for a company usually receive benefits such as vacati...

Work Environment

Shifts for physical therapist vary from a standard 40-hour work week to longer shifts but fewer days per week. Patient sessions may be brief or may last an hour or more. Usually, treatment is on an individual basis, but occasionally therapy may be given in groups when the patients' problems are similar. Most physical therapists work full-time, and about 5 percent are self-employed. 


Employment for physical therapists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. One reason for this strong growth is the fact that the median age of the American population is rising, and this older demographic group develops a higher number of medical conditions that cause physical pain and disability. Also, advances ...