September 23, 2023
Do you want to know how much physical therapists in California earn? Read on for a comprehensive guide that breaks down physical therapy salaries, explores the factors that determine pay scale, and compares salaries across different cities and states.


Physical therapy is an in-demand profession in California and across the nation. But many people who are considering pursuing a career in physical therapy are curious about the salaries that come with it. Those already in the profession may also want to know whether they are earning what they are worth. Unfortunately, finding reliable information about physical therapist salaries can be a challenging task. This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand how much physical therapists make in California.

Understanding the Salary Range of Physical Therapists in California

The healthcare industry is a lucrative career choice in California. It is also the reason why a career in physical therapy is an attractive option for many people. Physical therapists in California receive a decent salary that is proportional to the state’s higher living expenses and higher median income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum annual salary for a physical therapist in California is $60,280, the median salary is $101,930, and the maximum salary is $141,580.

Breaking Down The Numbers: How Much Can You Earn As A Physical Therapist in California
Breaking Down The Numbers: How Much Can You Earn As A Physical Therapist in California

Breaking Down The Numbers: How Much Can You Earn As A Physical Therapist in California

Physical therapist jobs in California can vary depending on factors such as education level, years of experience, and job title. As of May 2020, the BLS states that California employed 22,350 physical therapists. On average, physical therapists in California make more than the US’s national average. The average annual salary for physical therapists in California ranges from $64,990 to $146,840, depending on the level and years of experience of the physical therapist.

Salary statistics indicate that the lowest-paid physical therapy jobs in California are outpatient roles, which earn just over $82,000 per year. Hospital-based positions compensate their employees at a medium rate of $86,000 a year. Academic research positions pay an average annual salary of approximately $90,000-$100,300. Skilled Nursing Facilities and Home Health Care Services are the highest-paying employer types, offering rewards of $106,000 to $123,000 annually.

Factors Determining the Pay Scale of Physical Therapists in California

Various factors affect the pay scale of physical therapists in California. One of the most crucial factors is education. In California, physical therapists with a DPT degree or a Ph.D. in physical therapy earn more than those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Years of experience also significantly impact salary increases. It is also essential to note that geographical location and area of specialty are significant influencers of a physical therapist’s income.

Exploring The Average Income of Physical Therapists in California

According to an online source, the average annual salary for physical therapists in California varies from $64,990 to $146,840. The annual median salary for physical therapists, according to the BLS, is $101,930. The salary range can vary depending on the geographic location of the physical therapist and their level of education, experience, and area of specialty.

Comparing California’s physical therapist salary statistics to other states and national averages reveal that the Golden State is one of the highest-paying states for physical therapists. The high demand for physical therapy services drives California’s salary statistics significantly higher than other states.

A Comprehensive Guide To Salaries and Benefits of Physical Therapists in California

While salary is one of the crucial benefits of being a physical therapist, many other benefits come with the job. The most common benefit is health insurance, which includes dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage. Most employers in California also offer a 401(k), which is a retirement savings plan. The employer contributes to the plan on behalf of the employee.

The Evolution of Physical Therapy Pay in California over the Years

Physical therapy salaries in California have shown steady growth over the years, a trend that is expected to continue in the future. According to the BLS, the average salary of physical therapists in the country has increased approximately 20% over the past few years. It is essential to note that both the salary numbers and the nature of the field have changed over time and will continue to change to adapt to advancements in technology and specialty areas.

A Comparison of Physical Therapist Salaries Across Different Cities in California

Physical therapy salary statistics in California can significantly vary depending on the geographic location of the job. San Francisco and San Jose are the highest paying cities in California, with an average annual salary of $138,000-$146,000. Other major metro areas like Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and Sacramento have slightly lower average salaries, ranging from $105,000 to $128,000.


Physical therapy is a career path with many benefits, including a great salary and a variety of benefits. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide gave you a better understanding of how much physical therapists make in California. Remember that salary varies depending on a variety of factors, including education, years of experience, area of specialty, and geographic location. To negotiate a higher salary, consider asking for a performance review, discussing continuing education opportunities, or negotiating relocation expenses. Whatever your goal, with preparation and persistence, you can achieve the compensation package you want as a physical therapist in California.

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