Physical Therapy PT

| 23 November 2022

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

50+ Places to Work After Achieving a DPT Degree


As a licensed physical therapist (PT), you’ll likely find that you’re not limited to working in one specific patient care office or rehab clinic. Once you complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree with an accredited degree program in the United States, you can apply for a license in any state and discover jobs in a wide range of practice types.

As a PT, you can pair your interest in helping patients achieve comfort, mobility, and strength with job security and adventure. Consider launching your career in new and high-paying locations.

Where Do Physical Therapists Work?

The good news is that you can find PT jobs across the country.

Physical therapy patients span all ages, injuries and conditions, and physical therapists can find jobs in private clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and patients’ homes.1

Locations With the Most Physical Therapy Jobs

There are cities and states with more PT career options and positions. If you’re looking for the most PT job openings, consider the following top five states:2

  1. California: 23,840
  2. New York: 16,130
  3. Texas: 14,040
  4. Florida: 13,220
  5. Pennsylvania: 10,700

The metropolitan areas with the following number of jobs and highest employment level for PTs are:2

  1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA: 16,100 jobs1
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: 9,530 jobs
  3. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI: 7,140 jobs
  4. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD: 5,880 jobs
  5. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH: 5,700 jobs
  6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: 3,920 jobs
  7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL: 3,730 jobs
  8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 3,730 jobs
  9. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI: 3,490 jobs
  10. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI: 3,140 jobs

The nonmetropolitan areas with the following number of jobs and highest employment levels are located in:2

  1. Kansas: 520
  2. Southwest Maine: 430
  3. Piedmont, North Carolina: 430
  4. North-Northeastern Ohio (noncontiguous): 400
  5. Northeast Mississippi: 390

Many of these listings reflect the size and population of the locations—there aren’t necessarily more open positions per applicant here than in more sparsely populated locations.

Geographic Opportunity by Location Quotient

If you’re looking specifically for states with a higher-than-average level of employment in relation to their size and population, consider the location quotient rather than the total number of jobs. Location quotient measures the concentration of jobs in a population compared to the national average.

The top five states based on this marker are:

  1. Maine: 1.5x the national average (1,420 jobs)2
  2. Montana: 1.49x the national average (1,120 jobs)
  3. Alaska: 1.44x the national average (680 jobs)
  4. Vermont: 1.38x the national average (630 jobs)
  5. Wyoming: 1.38x the national average (570 jobs)

The top metropolitan areas based on location quotient are:

  1. Bay City, MI: 2.70x the national average (140 jobs)2
  2. Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA: 2.23x the national average (140 jobs)
  3. Punta Gorda, FL: 1.99x the national average (160 jobs)
  4. Waterbury, CT: 1.92x the national average (200 jobs)
  5. Johnstown, PA: 1.89x the national average (140 jobs)
  6. Las Cruces, NM: 1.87x the national average (200 jobs)
  7. Athens-Clarke County, GA: 1.84x the national average (250 jobs)
  8. Rochester, MN: 1.84x the national average (340 jobs)
  9. New Bedford, MA: 1.82x the national average (180 jobs)
  10. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL: 1.77x the national average (760 jobs)

Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest location quotients are:

  1. Connecticut: 2.26x the national average (110 jobs)
  2. West Montana: 1.79x the national average (220 jobs)
  3. Southwest Colorado: 1.71x the national average (270 jobs)
  4. Central New Hampshire: 1.63x the national average (230 jobs)
  5. Southwest Montana: 1.61x the national average (360 jobs)

Why are there more physical therapy specialties in these locations? Consider each state and its population. For instance, states like Florida and Maine have the highest populations of 65 or older.3 Because older patients are at a higher risk of mobility-related injuries, they also require physical therapy and rehabilitation.1

Where Do Physical Therapists Work

Where Can You Earn the Most as a Physical Therapist in the U.S.?

For many, it’s not just about where you can find job openings, but where you can find high-paying professional development opportunities. While there is some overlap with the above lists (hello, California), there are other locations that provide a significantly higher average annual salary for PTs.

The top five states by average annual salary are:

  1. Nevada: $104,2102
  2. California: $103,510
  3. Connecticut: $101,180
  4. Delaware: $100,490
  5. New Jersey: $99,530

Top-paying metropolitan locations include:

  1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $123,190
  2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $118,370
  3. Midland, TX: $116,880
  4. Napa, CA: $114,540
  5. Carson City, NV: $114,470
  6. Santa Rosa, CA: $114,150
  7. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA: $110,910
  8. Salinas, CA: $110,860
  9. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $109,810
  10. Yuba City, CA: $109,650

Finally, if you’re interested in nonmetropolitan living, the highest average annual salaries are found in:

  1. Eastern New Mexico: $106,050
  2. Central Louisiana: $105,290
  3. Alaska: $105,190
  4. Connecticut: $103,620
  5. West Tennessee: $103,360

If you’re curious about the highest-paid physical therapy role, learn more about what the highest-paying physical therapy specialties are to find out which career path is the most financially promising.

Include Cost of Living for True Salary Value

Pretty cut and dried, right? Time to pack up and head for California.

Not so fast. Looking at salary alone doesn’t reveal your true potential wealth in a given location. Cost of living varies widely based on the city and state, and if you’re in an urban, suburban or rural area. Your location will affect:

  • Monthly housing and property costs
  • Grocery, clothing and household good prices
  • Utilities (rate as well as type and usage)
  • Tax amounts at all levels—sales, property, state income, etc.

Let’s compare two of the above locations.

Sunnyvale, California – How can you go wrong with a name like Sunnyvale? The city is in a beautiful part of the southern San Francisco Bay Area. As a Sunnyvale-area PT, you’ll treat Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and enjoy one of the highest average salaries.

  • Average annual salary: $123,190
  • Cost of living: 180.5% higher than the national average4
  • Median home price: $1,894,600

Midland, Texas – Nestled between Dallas and El Paso, Midland is made up of college students and faculty, as well as oil and gas workers. This small city in the West Texas high country is near the southeast corner of New Mexico.

  • Average annual salary: $116,880
  • Cost of living: 8.3% lower than the national average8
  • Median home price: $261,500

How far will that extra $6,310 per year stretch if you opt for Sunnyvale? PayScale’s cost of living calculator reveals that you’d only need to earn $48,332 per year in Midland to match what a $123,190 annual salary can buy you in Sunnyvale.9 Conversely, to find a comparable lifestyle in Sunnyvale, you’d need to earn $297,905 annually.

Where Do Physical Therapists Work

Where Do Physical Therapists Work Based on Their Practice Type?

Wondering, “Where can physical therapists work?” Consider both location and work environment. Potential PT work settings include:6

  • Outpatient physical and occupational therapy offices and clinics
  • Outpatient physician or specialty care (cardiovascular, pulmonary, etc.) offices and clinics
  • Inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, hospital facilities and emergency rooms
  • Skilled nursing and residential care facilities
  • Home healthcare
  • Professional sports organizations
  • Corporate environments

Other physical therapy professionals may work in:

  • Clinical research at universities or healthcare institutions
  • Entrepreneurial research and development, such as the use of artificial intelligence in PT
  • Injury analysis for sports media
  • Education and professional training

Which Types of Practice Environments Pay the Most?

The highest incomes with the following average annual salaries are found in:

  • Outpatient care centers: $111,41010
  • Home health care services: $105,510
  • Child day care services: $102,050
  • Local government (excluding schools and hospitals): $101,290
  • Nursing care facilities: $100,760

Take the Next Step Toward a Career in Physical Therapy

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree that prepares you for clinical practice, research, leadership and policymaking. Applying for a DPT program in Florida is a great start to pursuing a career as a PT, and USAHS has five campuses across Florida, California and Texas. These destination cities offer access to the beauty of coastal beaches, the stimulation of big cities, inspiration of arts and culture—or all of the above. Join a group of highly motivated peers who learn under the mentorship of expert faculty-practitioners at the largest PT school in the United States.*

Select from a Residential program (blended didactic courses plus in-person weekday labs) or Flex format (online courses plus in-person weekend labs).

We’re here to answer your physical therapy-related questions, whether you’re wondering how much PT school is or where physical therapists can work.

Ready to learn more? Explore our program options or request more information on how you can further your passion for physical therapy.

*Based on total DPT degrees conferred, as reported by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Data is captured by IPEDS through interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).



  1. U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Physical Therapists,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, last modified 2021,
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “29-1123 Physical Therapist,” Occupational Employment and Wages, last modified May 2021,
  3. Population Reference Bureau, “Which U.S. States Have the Oldest Populations?,” Resource Library, last modified December 2021,
  4. Best Places, “Sunnyvale, California,”
  5. Best Places, “Midland, Texas,”
  6. Payscale, “Cost of Living Calculator,”
  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “29-1123 Physical Therapist,” Occupational Employment and Wages, last modified May 2021,

Are you inspired?

There could be an article about you here one day. Take charge of your own life-story!

Take charge of your own life-story

Request Information

More Physical Therapy PT Articles

Upcoming Physical Therapy PT events