Oct 28, 2010
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please spare me the "it's not about the money" lecture. i know it isn't. i'm ready to turn down a top 10 mba program for this, but i'd like to know exactly what i'm getting into.

there are lots of numbers floating around out there, but it seems like this:

upper-$50's to start, mid-$70's for the rest of your life.

is this correct? i've heard that MPT's make less than DPT's, so perhaps they're pulling the curve down? is $80k an unbreakable ceiling, or is there a way to break through that if i decide that i need more money later on in life? what about PT's who own their own clinics?

sorry if this post makes me seem like an intolerable douchebag

http://www1.salary.com/Physical-Therapist-salary.html
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Salary

http://www.alliedhealthworld.com/physical-therapy-salary.html
http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/489/Physical-Therapist.html
 

lee9786

10+ Year Member
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Feb 3, 2009
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An entry level MPT and DPT are reimbursed at the same level. Both are considered entry level. Experience, certifications, etc correlates with a higher salary. Salary is dependent upon geographic area, setting, reimbursement rates, and basic laws of supply/demand. I think you have the numbers pretty much accurate. I've heard over 100k, but that's most likely for those that run their own clinic working 60 hrs/week. I've also heard over 100k for travel postitions, but I think this is relatively rare and there is most likely a reason that price is higher.
 

jbizzle

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Dec 19, 2008
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please spare me the "it's not about the money" lecture. i know it isn't. i'm ready to turn down a top 10 mba program for this, but i'd like to know exactly what i'm getting into.

there are lots of numbers floating around out there, but it seems like this:

upper-$50's to start, mid-$70's for the rest of your life.

is this correct? i've heard that MPT's make less than DPT's, so perhaps they're pulling the curve down? is $80k an unbreakable ceiling, or is there a way to break through that if i decide that i need more money later on in life? what about PT's who own their own clinics?

sorry if this post makes me seem like an intolerable douchebag

http://www1.salary.com/Physical-Therapist-salary.html
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Physical_Therapist_(PT)/Salary

http://www.alliedhealthworld.com/physical-therapy-salary.html
http://careers.stateuniversity.com/pages/489/Physical-Therapist.html
So then I guess you know it all depends on location then right. The more rural the higher paying. You can get up to $120,000 as a director. You should search through the forum, there is a member on here that makes 6 figures. If you think when your a PT all you make is 70 ish the rest of your life, not accurate. I'm assuming youre pretty new and you are just introducing yourself to the field but you can make more than 70. To make it simple, 80ish is not the ceiling.

As far as MPt vs DPT, I don't think that matters either. What matters is the license. Opening a clinic should be the least of your worries right now.
 

DPTnotMD

10+ Year Member
Sep 8, 2007
12
2
Status
Rehab Sci Student
Well, I can't speak for anyone else but I'm making six figures as a new grad. I'm assuming this is rare for one reason only - most therapists do not work on weekends. I work aprox 50-60/week including weekends. I actually like working weekends (prn rate). I'm assuming the average prn rate is 55-65/hr. I average 1-2 weekends(sometimes 3) a month (About 20k extra for me this year). I do have a balanced life though (cruise and superbowl this year) - this is why we have PTO, use it.​

Just Remember... regardless of degree (DPT or MPT) reimbursement is the same. However, that applies for years of experience or board certification as well. I hate when people make the arguement regarding DPT vs MPT and neglect to mention the latter.​
 

Chevy Chase Fan

Removed
May 7, 2010
226
3
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My question is for those thinking of private PT schools or those currently in or graduated from a private school that cost more than 100k. How are you planning on paying it off? Do you think a PT salary will be able to pay it off in like 5 to 10 years. I'm looking into boston, columbia, and emory.
Thanks!
so you're bailing on one PT school and starting the whole application process over again to try to get into another? wow. What are you going to tell the admissions committees?
 

jbizzle

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Dec 19, 2008
811
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
so you're bailing on one PT school and starting the whole application process over again to try to get into another? wow. What are you going to tell the admissions committees?
I don't think he would have problems explaining his decision to attend another program. Wow, Get off the dudes nuts man! He can say that the program he was in was an MPT and that he realized that the profession is heading towards the DPT and he feels he can get a quality education elsewhere.

Also, there are programs that emphasize/being known for certain specialties so he can play off that. Pretty much, he shouldn't have a problem. You know what, I think the fit of the program is the biggest determining factor for which program you want to attend. Some people might have the cost as the determining factor, but not mine. I know I probably will not do well if my classmates and professors were selfish.

In terms of paying off the debt, I told myself my max was 150k. After the interview at Temple, the director was talking about certain ways to pay off the debt. Hospitals in Underserved communities offering loan reimbursements to lure PTs. Military PT (no not serve in the military, but become a PT for the NAVY, etc.), If all else fails then The debt can be paid off in 10 years IMO.
 

summerX

7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2010
29
1
Status
In response to FlsurferDPT's question: I went to one of the schools you listed and if I could do it over again I would have gone to an in state school. The amount of money I am paying back is equivalent to the price of houses where I currently live (and that is without the interest that is accumulating)! I also went into the program on a scholarship and with enough money to pay for most of my first semester and after the first year I (and a couple other people in my class) had lost our scholarships! However, I think I can pay this back within ten years. I am working 6 days a week at my full time job and do a few home health visits a week after work. It's just too much! One of the reasons I went into physical therapy and not medical school is because I wanted to have time to enjoy life, and it is hard to do that when I have to work alot to pay back student loans.
 

jbizzle

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Dec 19, 2008
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Summerx, where do you live and work?
 

TheOx777

Moderator Emeritus
Jun 25, 2010
477
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Status
If you asked 10 different PT's about salary, don't be surprised if you get 10 different answers. From most of my research, PTs tend to make more money if they live/work on either coasts to account for the cost of living. Even then, you will hear varying rates for salaries, per-diem etc.

This is what I have heard from actual PTs
New Grads: 55k-70k annually
Experienced PTs: 70k-90k annually(typical on the coasts and lower in the midwest and southern states)

I have seem numerous jobs that are in the 100k-135k range, especially in the Mid-Atlantic region of United States , yet the cost of living in these places are relatively high, thus a person would need to make this amount of money.
 

jbizzle

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Yeah I just checked out VAcareers.gov and saw a range from 47k to 88k all depending on the location. The 47k was in Florida and the 88k was in San Francisco.
 

summerX

7+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2010
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1
Status
I live in Texas, work in a long term acute care facility (LTAC). Am hoping to switch to outpatient ortho in a year or so.
 

dizzy88

5+ Year Member
Jul 9, 2010
234
4
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PT salary is so variable. But, let's just say, if you want to make money....you can make money.
 

markelmarcel

7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
1,109
79
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So then I guess you know it all depends on location then right. The more rural the higher paying. .
Bizzle? I actually view this in the opposite, at least in the area I'm in... It's rural and PTs make about 50-70k but in Pittsburgh it seems like some can start at 75k or better... Of course, you have to calculate in cost of living. ;)
 

jbizzle

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Well, I was just going off of what I heard lol. If a hospital in a town of let's say 2,000 people want to hire someone, do you think a PT would go if they only paid $50.

And btw you said 50-70. Well, 70k is a lot to me!!!!!!
 

lee9786

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Feb 3, 2009
616
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http://www.sacbee.com/2010/11/15/3185264_a3184989/fastest-growing-jobs-in-the-region.html

This is for the Sac region....but still interesting. Expected median salary for PTs by 2018 around $88K
What's that presumption based upon? As more Medicare beneficiaries come on the scene, providers will most likely be getting less. The best argument would be that reimbursement would increase with inflation, which is most likely to happen in the near future due to the government's history of endorsing "Quantitative Easing," which will decrease the value of the currency.

The problem ultimately is Medicare is a prepaid pot of money. There's only so much of it. So if inflation increases too high, which many economists believe is inevitable, than some major changes in reimbursement are bound to follow. Beneficiaries and providers will be getting less. Some believe that these "entitlement" programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will have to be phased out much sooner than projected.

If this happens, be sure to have a business model in place. As PT is considered ancillary to medicine, services may have to be provided on a cash-for-service basis. All signs point to these systems compensating the provider a lot less (i.e. Medicare artificially sets payments higher than the market). Mixed / Honest Chiros state their income in around the 30k/year area. I don't see how PT would be any different, except for the fact that traditionally they've worked within the Medical system while chiros have worked outside it. The referrals for PT would help the business. Now is this a irrational concern?

I haven't heard any real good arguments stating why PTs will be getting paid more than they do now in the future. Since the balance budget act of 1997 or so, PT has been on the chopping block. Utilization of direct access might be the best rationale, but not all PTs believe this will significantly increase income. Also take into account an increase in liability costs that would be sure to follow a direct access model of care.

Why does no one else see these issues? Are they irrational? Why or why not?
 

soccer31

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Dec 22, 2008
96
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Bizzle? I actually view this in the opposite, at least in the area I'm in... It's rural and PTs make about 50-70k but in Pittsburgh it seems like some can start at 75k or better... Of course, you have to calculate in cost of living. ;)
Where did you get this info from? Pittsburgh is actually one of the most underpaid areas for PTs. I am not sure why. My guess is because it is saturated because of 3 PT programs in the city and another one less than 1 hour away. I still have to meet a new grad that makes more than 45K here, and even some PTs that have been working for a few years are still making just 50K around here.
 

callmecrazy

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Jul 17, 2008
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Bizzle? I actually view this in the opposite, at least in the area I'm in... It's rural and PTs make about 50-70k but in Pittsburgh it seems like some can start at 75k or better... Of course, you have to calculate in cost of living. ;)
If anyone straight out of school says they are starting at 75k in Pittsburgh, I would ask how many jobs they are working. If you check out the employment site for UPMC, you'll see that their PT salaries start in the $24/hr range (~$48k/yr) and they MAX OUT at $35/hr (~$70k/yr). You can make more as a director or at a private clinic, but you still shouldn't expect greater than $50k in the city area upon graduation. On the plus side, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job here (or multiple jobs if you want the extra $), and the cost of living is super cheap for a "city". Plus, it's Pittsburgh, what's not to like:D
 

markelmarcel

7+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
1,109
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Well, I was just going off of what I heard lol. If a hospital in a town of let's say 2,000 people want to hire someone, do you think a PT would go if they only paid $50.

And btw you said 50-70. Well, 70k is a lot to me!!!!!!
Haha, I guess that's true! 70k is a lot to me too! It's just crazy how the economy is, because my boyfriend is making close to 50k and there's no way we could afford to buy a house or anything like that with just his salary alone, ya know?
 

jbizzle

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Dec 19, 2008
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my boyfriend is making close to 50k and there's no way we could afford to buy a house or anything like that with just his salary alone, ya know?
WHAT!?!?!?! Where do you live?

If I made close to 50k I probably would not have been accepted this year because I wouldn't have applied and keep my close to 50k paying job that I hate. I dont really even make that much, but if I made close to that.... I could easily afford a condo (well, at least here in Tallahassee, FL - a nice one too; New construction around 80k). I guess holding off buying a place was blessing in disguise.

Yeah, so people are not going into PT for the salary :).
I know I am not; shoot if a hospital pays for my loans, i will work for them for 60k!
 

lee9786

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Feb 3, 2009
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If anyone straight out of school says they are starting at 75k in Pittsburgh, I would ask how many jobs they are working. If you check out the employment site for UPMC, you'll see that their PT salaries start in the $24/hr range (~$48k/yr) and they MAX OUT at $35/hr (~$70k/yr). You can make more as a director or at a private clinic, but you still shouldn't expect greater than $50k in the city area upon graduation. On the plus side, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job here (or multiple jobs if you want the extra $), and the cost of living is super cheap for a "city". Plus, it's Pittsburgh, what's not to like:D
Wow Pittsburgh is nice but not that nice. <<kidding I here of PTAs making $24-$32/hour. Not necessarily in Pittsburgh though. Disturbing. Callmecrazy you go to school at Pitt right?
 

callmecrazy

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Jul 17, 2008
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Wow Pittsburgh is nice but not that nice. <<kidding I here of PTAs making $24-$32/hour. Not necessarily in Pittsburgh though. Disturbing. Callmecrazy you go to school at Pitt right?
Yeah, I'm at Pitt, and I plan on staying in Pittsburgh post-graduation. My assumption about prevailing salaries here is that there are 3 DPT programs within a few miles of one another in the city. It becomes a supply and demand issue. In addition, the salaries I quoted are for the large university medical center. You very well may be able to make more elsewhere in the city, but UPMC is where the jobs are.
 
Jul 28, 2010
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I've read a joke many times that UPMC should actually stand for "U Pay Me Crap" and that since they are taking over Pittsburgh they can pay less.
They are the number two employer in PA (walmart is #1, haha) so yes, UPMC has the jobs - but not the salary. Most of the job postings I've seen (not UPMC) pay around 60-70k. I did see one inpatient UPMC position awhile ago that was $40/hr but I believe it was part time.
 

lee9786

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Feb 3, 2009
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Yeah, I'm at Pitt, and I plan on staying in Pittsburgh post-graduation. My assumption about prevailing salaries here is that there are 3 DPT programs within a few miles of one another in the city. It becomes a supply and demand issue. In addition, the salaries I quoted are for the large university medical center. You very well may be able to make more elsewhere in the city, but UPMC is where the jobs are.
How do you like the program? Can you get around to clinicals via the public transportation system or do you need a vehicle?
 

callmecrazy

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How do you like the program? Can you get around to clinicals via the public transportation system or do you need a vehicle?
You would definitely need a vehicle; they tell you that upfront. Some sites are accessible by bus or walking distance depending on what area you live in, but that's definitely the minority.
 
May 19, 2009
75
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Rehab Sci Student
If you asked 10 different PT's about salary, don't be surprised if you get 10 different answers. From most of my research, PTs tend to make more money if they live/work on either coasts to account for the cost of living. Even then, you will hear varying rates for salaries, per-diem etc.

This is what I have heard from actual PTs
New Grads: 55k-70k annually
Experienced PTs: 70k-90k annually(typical on the coasts and lower in the midwest and southern states)

I have seem numerous jobs that are in the 100k-135k range, especially in the Mid-Atlantic region of United States , yet the cost of living in these places are relatively high, thus a person would need to make this amount of money.
Yes, this is what I'm familiar with as well in my own research. The 70k "for the rest of your life" isn't accurate, unless that's all you want to make. For one, PT salaries trend upward along with everyone else's salaries (to meet inflation, etc.), but not as fast as some, though I'm sure faster than others.
 
Nov 24, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
Yeah, so people are not going into PT for the salary :).
I know I am not; shoot if a hospital pays for my loans, i will work for them for 60k!
Most of us are pre-PT students doing some research and looking for advice on these forums. But, I totally disagree with you when you say it's not about the money. (Therefore, I'm going to put in my two cents ;)).

I don't understand this 50-60 hours a week talk. (Maybe my state's budget deficits are a lie?) One of the doctors I talked to said he recently hired a graduate at $50 an hour who worked 3.5 days a week and was still bringing in 70K.

Last December I almost had a mental breakdown thinking about my future. I mean, I was supposed to do this in high school, right? Let's be honest. Teachers/professors have absolutely no idea what the job market truly looks like.

I'm an Exercise Science major, so you know my heart lies in athletics. But as I started to blow through my school's program with ease, I FINALLY started doing the research on personal training salaries, exercise phys, & anything else related to that field. What I found was a JOKE.

Anyone who says "money can't buy happiness" was over simplifying the phrase. Honestly, what can a person do with $30-50K a year? YES, happiness comes from what you love doing and the relationships you've built around you, etc. etc. But what happens when the 1st of the month rolls around and the bills start stacking up? Would a good salary take that stress away, therefore promoting growth of happiness? Definitely.

I'm not a PT student, yet. I've just begun to set up interns/interviews with several therapy directors in my area, and I want to summarize what I've learned from them.

First, whether you pay about 30K for a school like SLU or 45K for a school like WASH U or Northwestern, employers DO NOT care where you graduate from. All they care about is if you know how to design programs consistent with their therapy philosophy.

Second, starting salaries are fairly consistent, too. In southern IL, fresh graduates can expect to make about 70K. In the more populated areas with vast projected growth, PTs are making between 94-104K. It's simple; go to where the money is.

Third, the PT "ceiling" talk seems like it's just a way to deter students from entering the field. 70K will be enough to satisfy you for awhile, but if it still isn't enough, go out and get a BSN from an accelerated program. One doctor told me it was an additional 50K to his salary. Or how about a specific branch of rehab, like a cardiovascular rehabilitation specialist? Don't forget that the setting matters, too (hospital, nursing home, athletics, etc.)

Lastly, PT isn't a job where you are watching the clock all day. The majority of PTs love what they do. It's not hard work at all, and is actually very similar to personal training in a sense that instead of charging clients $15-20 an hour and telling them to perform 10 reps of leg extensions, I can charge them (one doctor's rate was $250) and still tell them to performs 10 reps of leg extensions.

My last summary was a gross generalization, but that was basically it.

The fact is, there is a starting salary in any professional career. If you want more money, you have to work harder. Just upgrade your credentials. If working at a hospital isn't enough, open up a private practice on the side and have someone else run it while you reap the benefits.

Do I sound greedy because I want money to be a huge factor in my PT career? Maybe, because we are all doing this for OUR future and eventual families. Will I tell my interviewer that money is the reason I'm applying to their program? Definitely not. Will I still provide the best care to my patients, regardless of how much I'm making? Yes.

Life as a physical therapist seems to only get easier as time goes on.

I'm being real blunt about this money issue because it is just that. The amount of money we make will be inversely proportional to the amount of stress we have at bill day.

That's about all of my input for now. Feel free to comment because I would like to benefit from these forums as well :)
 

jbizzle

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Dec 19, 2008
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Anyone who says "money can't buy happiness" was over simplifying the phrase. Honestly, what can a person do with $30-50K a year? YES, happiness comes from what you love doing and the relationships you've built around you, etc. etc. But what happens when the 1st of the month rolls around and the bills start stacking up? Would a good salary take that stress away, therefore promoting growth of happiness? Definitely.

I'm not a PT student, yet. I've just begun to set up interns/interviews with several therapy directors in my area, and I want to summarize what I've learned from them.

First, whether you pay about 30K for a school like SLU or 45K for a school like WASH U or Northwestern, employers DO NOT care where you graduate from. All they care about is if you know how to design programs consistent with their therapy philosophy.


Third, the PT "ceiling" talk seems like it's just a way to deter students from entering the field. 70K will be enough to satisfy you for awhile, but if it still isn't enough, go out and get a BSN from an accelerated program. One doctor told me it was an additional 50K to his salary.

Lastly, PT isn't a job where you are watching the clock all day. The majority of PTs love what they do. It's not hard work at all, and is actually very similar to personal training in a sense that instead of charging clients $15-20 an hour and telling them to perform 10 reps of leg extensions, I can charge them (one doctor's rate was $250) and still tell them to performs 10 reps of leg extensions.

My last summary was a gross generalization, but that was basically it.

The fact is, there is a starting salary in any professional career. If you want more money, you have to work harder. Just upgrade your credentials. If working at a hospital isn't enough, open up a private practice on the side and have someone else run it while you reap


That's about all of my input for now. Feel free to comment because I would like to benefit from these forums as well :)
Oh yeah hey how are you? Hows your family doing? Remember when we won that overtime game in highschool.

Oh wait, that's right you haven't met me. I don't know you. You don't know me. When I say $70k is a lot I mean it. Go ask a homeless person what they can do for $30-$50k a year. Are you serious? I can do plenty with that. Why would I get a BSN with my DPT? I don't want to be a nurse. What bills are you talking about. I'm the cheapest dude on this forum. Did you even read this thread????
 
Nov 10, 2010
11
0
Status
DPT / OTD
DPT2015!
Thanks for the info!
I don't mind the "money talk".
Actually,I would like to hear MORE about it!

I live in LA and I've asked a PT I know about her starting salary and
she told me she made $65k on her first year.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that she only made 65k.
I am sure it goes up but from what I heard,
it wouldn't go over 88k if you don't open up your own practice.

So where did you get the 94k-100k?
I am not trying to fight here,
but I would like to know becaue 94K is really great and-
I just want to know for sure!

well,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!
 
Last edited:
Aug 7, 2010
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PT's starting out at 50k?! Well, I know there are several jobs by my area offering $30/hr for PTA's to start, which is around 60k I'm guessing, but I'm sure PT's start out at about 80k here in NJ, although the cost of living is considerably high here.
 

MuscleHead

10+ Year Member
Feb 13, 2009
207
2
Ambler, PA
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Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
i live in philadelphia. i just heard of a 2009 graduate of my school who just took a job at a SNF. $80k salary/$15k sign-on bonus.
 
Nov 24, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Rehab Sci [General]
jbizzle,

My two cents wasn't directed at you so don't get upset! I was "just saying", money does matter whether people say so or not. Saying "what can one do with 30-50K" should have been compared to the cost of school. 100K of debt from my own private college and future grad school just to make 50K a year? I definitely will not settle for that. If money truly did not matter, we all would have just stopped after high school and worked minimum wage jobs (as long as we love what we're doing, right?)

The 90-100K were numbers that a doctor from my area spoke of. He's not a DPT, just a general doctor but has owned and ran several private rehabilitation centers. When he produced those numbers I was pretty excited. However, I'm sure the PT's making this money have been in the field for a good amount of time and do more than just try to slave away at their hospital for 60 hours a week. Also, old people seem to dominate the population here, giving no reason that a good, quality PT shouldn't be making bank.

I tried comparing a BSN versus a DPT because of the money involved. It was an attempt to explain a way of increasing your income if you're not satisfied with the average 70K. Employers want you "in and out of school and working for them". A BSN is much faster than getting a DPT, especially if you're already an undergrad nursing student.

DPT's start out at a much higher pay (i.e., 70K vs 50K), but they seem to top off earlier. From my understanding, a BSN allows the person to bill insurance companies in private practice. I was told that this was basically just a "billing ticket" that allowed them to boost income by 50K.

So, I'm just explaining what a couple of people have told me. Sure, 70K is plenty for me RIGHT NOW as a single guy with little financial responsibility, but eventually it won't be enough and I'll either look to open up private practices and/or go back to school again.
 

DPT2DO

10+ Year Member
Sep 22, 2008
69
1
New England
Status
Medical Student
Anectdotal salary info from the New England metro area.
Graduated w/ a DPT in '07, ~ $70,000 in loans.

Started as an outpatient PT, spent 3 yrs working 40 hrs/wk, went from ~60k starting to 70k. I switched to home care and currently make ~90k at 40 hrs/wk.

Most PT's work only 40 hrs/wk. However if that were upped to the average # of hours a physician works, say 60 hrs/wk, then a PT could theoretically make > 100k fairly easily; at least I probably could.

No matter what profession you enter, you earnings will be based on your individual value and willingness to work. First and foremost, make sure you enjoy it; your enjoyment and satisfaction will drive your progression upwards in the profession both literally and financially.
 
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