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Best High Paying Jobs Without Experience Are in Physical Therapy

Updated on February 27, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment &Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Increasing Jobs Were Revealed 2009 - 2019

Even during the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010, job creation in America increased in states like Texas.

The highest in-demand job from 2009 through 2015 was that of physical therapist, including in Texas. In fact, Texas in the late 2010s remains the most prominent home to increasing job openings in the field of physical therapy. This includes therapists, therapy assistants, and therapy aides.

After training and certification, work experience is often not needed in the field of physical therapy.

From January through February 2019, physical therapy jobs advertised in America include at least 77,000 openings throughout the two months on any given day.


Announcements in 2010 naming jobs for high wages in the USA through 2012 included two positions will likely remain in high demand and even increase in demand as far into the future as 2100.

When potential infrastructure and other projects were proposed and highlighted in the media during Stimulus Programs, many Americans envisioned the WPA (Works Progress Administration) of The Great Depression and its manual labor jobs.

Results of job availability data from 2010 - 2015 showed that physical therapists were in highest demand nationwide (see graph below).

The general upward motion of the line on the accompanying graph, moving from lower left to upper right indicates that increases from 2005 – 2009 and significant increases after 2009 and after January 2015.

A WPA work crew in Owosso MI.
A WPA work crew in Owosso MI. | Source

Legislation Encouraged New Job Creation From 2009 Through 2016

Two pieces of legislation for jobs stimulation were the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and the Making Home Affordable program.

They created new jobs, including many that required advanced education beyond high school, but many also requiring a combination of no additional classroom education beyond the high school diploma or GED and no related experience.

Top Job: Physical Therapist: New Job Surge in 2015
Top Job: Physical Therapist: New Job Surge in 2015 | Source

Physical Therapy Careers and Salaries

Physical Therapist

Median salaries, as reported by in conjunction with,, and Absolutely Healthcare range from $68,800 to $74,000 per year across America.

Physical Therapy Assistants [No experience, no degree]

Pt Assistants enjoy a range of median salaries from approximately $35,000 - $52,000 annually without a 4-year degree. While many US States require no training other than on-the-job, certificate programs are available (see links above).

Both of these occupations are increasingly very useful to the American population, because physical therapy is used to help many people return to an active lifestyle and to work: the injured, the developmentally disabled, Workers Compensation claimants, stroke victims, senior citizens.

Not only this, but physical therapy can help some individuals maintain health and not decline in old age and during illnesses. Combined with Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy is instrumental in aiding Head Trauma and Stoke victims as well. The fact that a high proportion of wounded individuals return from wars such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars with limb injures rather than death, indicates a growing need for physical therapists and assistants to help rehabilitate these people. These healthcare professionals are very important in the effective use of artificial limbs.

PT and OT in Spaceflight and Return to Earth

Spacefarers must exercise many hours per day or at least sleep on a low-frequency vibrating pad in order to avoid calcium loss and bone destruction on lengthy journeys to and in space. Upon return to Earth, these long-term travelers to beyond must learn to function once again in high gravity and may require the services of some physical and occupational therapists and assistants in this regard.

Considering commercial space travel for research, freight and recreation; and a NASA vision to return to the Moon and then venture to Mars, all beginning in 2020, these healthcare services may become much more important. Than we imagine today.

Education and Experience Requirements

Education in Physical Therapy (PT)

All American States regulate the physical therapist in practice with licensing that requires

  • A four-year accredited physical therapist education program
  • Passing National and State licensing tests. Check your local state for more information.

No Experience Needed

  • PT assistants need not be licensed in all US States, so check with your local licensing authority.
  • States that mandate licensing require specific education, certifications, and examinations needed.
  • Many PT assistants and PT aides are trained completely on-the-job, with no more than a high school diploma going in.

PT Employment in the Great Recession

Assistant Positions

Physical therapist assistants were needed in over 48,500 job openings consistently during these years, largely in St. Louis, Albuquerque, Jacksonville and North Fort Myers in Florida, Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky, Colorado Springs, and Memphis. Interestingly, salaries have increased by a larger percentage from 2009 through 2016 for these assistants than for physical therapists.

Therapist Positions

Physical therapist jobs were advertise over 121, 000 listings during most months fro 2008 - 2010, heavily concentrated in Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas; Albuquerque; Jacksonville and North Fort Myers; St. Louis; Louisville and Lexington; Memphis; Colorado Springs; and Chicago.

Texas has been the top state needing therapists, but not assistants from 2009 - 2019.

Job Surges 2009 - 2015

A new job surge began January 2015.
A new job surge began January 2015. | Source

Increase in PT Jobs 2010 - 2020

During Spring 2015, an average daily employment posting of 80,000+ physical therapy jobs existed in the United States. By November 2016, the number rose to over 90,000 open positions and lowered somewhat in February 2019 to over 77,000 openings as unemployment rates among the states decreased under the Trump Administration.

The average wage for a physical therapist is $88,000 in 2019. An assistant makes an average of $69,000 annually.

About 12% of all American physical therapy job listings are in Texas. Another 10% are in California

Salary Comparisons

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Looking at the scale at the left on the graphs, we see that the salary of the PT Assistants higher than most of the jobs US listings (actually higher than 65% of them), more so than the salary of the Physical Therapist.Salaries continued to rise after 2009.Wages were significantly lower than those on this graph from 2007 - 2009.
Looking at the scale at the left on the graphs, we see that the salary of the PT Assistants higher than most of the jobs US listings (actually higher than 65% of them), more so than the salary of the Physical Therapist.
Looking at the scale at the left on the graphs, we see that the salary of the PT Assistants higher than most of the jobs US listings (actually higher than 65% of them), more so than the salary of the Physical Therapist. | Source
Salaries continued to rise after 2009.
Salaries continued to rise after 2009. | Source
Wages were significantly lower than those on this graph from 2007 - 2009.
Wages were significantly lower than those on this graph from 2007 - 2009. | Source

A Direct Impact of the Stimulus Package

It is reported that the 2009 Stimulus Package or ARRA extended additional medical and healthcare benefits to American unemployed workers receiving cash benefits under Unemployment Insurance (UI).

These benefits include payment for the services of physical therapists and assistants, increasing the demand for these professionals. This trend continued after the stimulus programs expired.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS

Comments & Additions

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    • Priya Mishra - Co profile image

      Smily Priya 

      11 months ago from India

      Ohh Great article. keep it up

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I'd say that's exactly right - really a lot of job postings for OT this past year.

    • profile image

      LSU from Pitt 

      8 years ago

      PT is great but lets not forget Occupational Therapy that is growing by leaps and bounds due to the number of individuals who desire to grow old in their own home instead of living in a nursing home!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Because, when my ankle was crushed/compound fractured, only the "inexperienced" PT right out of University helped me. The Tx's done/instructions given by older experienced PTs did 100% NO GOOD. I have no trace of diasbility from that ankle now.

      The right combinaton of up-to-date education and experience is usually best.

    • MikeNV profile image


      9 years ago from Henderson, NV

      Why would you want to go to an inexperienced Physical Therapist?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is good info which will no doubt be of value to some. There are many people these days who are taking a short cut, I recently came across an informative youtube. I might prove interesting to the reader, bye now:

    • subhashlaxmin profile image


      9 years ago from Chhattisgarh India

      good job

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      9 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Pretty cool Patty I'm looking into this. I just applied for two city positions (library aid and park/rec. assistant) I wonder what Wisconsin's phys therapy licensing requirements where did I put that Google.... aha!

      Thanks again Patty, for looking out for us!

    • charm_baker profile image

      Charm Baker 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Good job. I agree with the other comments. You can't go wrong in the medical field, especially with PT and Nursing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That sounds right these days, Woody!

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I wonder if there is any call for a 'metaphysical therapist'?

      I'd be good at that! ;)

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 

      10 years ago

      Physical therapy and nursing are always two areas that are in need of people. This makes them excellent careers that will not falter when the economy does.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks very much. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can earn very good salaries and have rewarding careers helping people remain mobile as long as possible. They can be miracle workers in this way.

    • fcornelius profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia

      wow!!! great info.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks RGraf - I want to find out what other jobs are emerging under the Stimulus Package that can help people. I look every day for more info to post.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great! I hope some people are directed here to get some hope.


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