Physical Therapist Assistant with patient

The 20 Highest Paying Cities for Physical Therapist Assistants in 2020

These U.S. Cities Pay Physical Therapist Assistants the Highest Salaries based on Cost of Living

Physical Therapist Assistant with patient

Physical therapy plays one of the most important functions in our health system. In the event of a physical injury or illness, physical therapists are relied upon by millions of people to restore their health and mobility. That is why we will always need qualified physical therapist assistants to support patient recovery.

In the event of an accident, a sports injury, surgery, stroke, or other trauma, physical therapist assistants have one goal— to help their patients overcome all physical obstacles to improve their health and mobility.

For anyone who feels passionate about helping people overcome their physical limitations, this profession can be extremely gratifying. Moreover, physical therapist assistant training can lead to greater benefits, higher salaries, and multiple career opportunities across a variety of industries and healthcare settings.

(Click here to learn more about our physical therapist assistant program).

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary

How Much Do Physical Therapist Assistants Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a physical therapist assistant is $57,750 per year (or $27.77 per hour).

This compensation can vary according to several factors, such as industry and location. For example, here’s a look at the average pay for physical therapist according to industry:

Industry Average Hourly Wage Average Salary
Retirement Communities & Assisted Living Facilities $32.08 $66,730
Nursing Care Facilities $31.40 $65,320
Children’s Day Care $31.27 $65,050
Home Healthcare $31.06 $64,600
Psychiatry and Substance Abuse $27.46 $57,120
Hospitals $26.50 $55,120
Doctors’ Offices $25.38 $52,800

Salaries for physical therapist assistants cans also vary based on your location.

Highest Paying States for Physical Therapist Assistants

State Average Hourly Wage Average Salary
Texas $33.60 $69,890
New Jersey $32.69 $68,000
Connecticut $31.64 $65,810
California $30.87 $64,210
Massachusetts $30.86 $64,180

How to Compare Salaries for Physical Therapist Assistants

Anyone who’s traveled in the United States knows that a dollar goes further in some places than others. The same is true for annual salaries—a lower salary may stretch twice as far in one city than a higher salary in another.

To help current or aspiring physical therapist assistants better compare average salaries, below is a list of the 20 best paying cities according to adjusted average salary.

Methodology: What is Adjusted Average Salary?

Average adjusted salary is the calculated annual salary when adjusting for the cost of living index (COLI) for each city. A salary of $35,000 in Texas, for example, is worth more than a $35,000 salary in Southern California, because the cost of living is much lower in Texas than it is in Southern California.

The average COLI for all cities in our study is 166. That means if a city’s COLI is 137, the cost of living is 17.5% less expensive than the average.

Using this system, we’ve compiled the 20 highest paying cities for physical therapist assistants.

(Click here to learn how to become a physical therapy assistant).

The Top Paying Cities for Physical Therapist Assistants

Here are the 20 top paying cities for physical therapist assistants based on cost of living.

Houston, Texas skyscrapers

1. Houston, Texas

Residents in Houston have a saying, “I’m not from here, but I got here as fast as I could.” It’s a fact—people love Houston. The city is undeniably exciting, with its great sports scene, incredible dining, moderate weather, and countless outdoor activities. Home to the Johnson Space Center, Houston is famous for its role in NASA. However, it can also be credited for having a booming health care industry, making it a natural choice for many physical therapy assistants.

Based on cost of living Houston, Texas is the best paying city for physical therapist assistants.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Houston, TX?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Houston make a average salary of $75,080.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Houston is $36.09.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $111,290 or more.
  • Houston’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 150
  • The cost of living in Houston is 9% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Houston rises to $82,165.

 

San Antonio, Texas

2. San Antonio, Texas

You can’t walk the streets of San Antonio without noticing two important qualities. First, the city is filled top to bottom with fascinating history, and two, the city is huge. San Antonia is the second largest city in Texas, and twice the size of Chicago. Furthermore, the city is bursting with energy, history, art, and culture. The city is also famous for its high temperatures, so it should come as no surprise that San Antonio pioneered the use of air conditioning in public buildings. Most importantly, San Antonio is fiercely proud of its tamales, so be sure to give one (or a dozen) a try.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in San Antonio, TX?

  • Physical therapy assistants in San Antonio make an average salary of $66,220.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in San Antonio is $31.84.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $117,700 or more.
  • San Antonio’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 136
  • The cost of living in San Antonio is 18% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in San Antonio rises to $78,066.

 

Las Vegas strip

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is most known for the nightlife, the casinos, and those dancers who wear the giant feathers, but current residents and Las Vegas natives know their city has a lot to offer beyond the Las Vegas Strip. In addition to its year-round warm climate, world-class dining, and entertainment, Las Vegas is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the western U.S. The city is growing rapidly, and the fact that it doesn’t charge a state income tax makes it all the more attractive. With so many professional sports organizations and golf courses in the area, Las Vegas can be a wellspring of job opportunities for physical therapist assistants.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Las Vegas, NV?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Las Vegas make an average salary of $72,100.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Las Vegas is $34.66.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $109,420 or more.
  • Las Vegas’ Cost of Living Index (COLI): 153
  • The cost of living in Las Vegas is 8% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Las Vegas rises to $77,598.

 

San Bernardino

4. San Bernardino, California

In San Bernardino, California, the influences of Native Americans, Mexican settlers, Spanish missionaries, and Mormon immigrants create a one-of-a-kind cultural atmosphere. Nestled along the iconic Route 66, the city is surrounded by natural beauty—including the Southern California mountain ranges and the nearby Mojave Desert. The city is well known for its festivals, orange groves, museums, and art.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in San Bernardino, CA?

  • Physical therapy assistants in San Bernardino make an average salary of $70,210.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in San Bernardino is $33.75.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $87,470 or more.
  • San Bernardino’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 149
  • The cost of living in San Bernardino is 10% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in San Bernardino rises to $77,259.

 

Downtown Tampa, Florida

5. Tampa, Florida

For anyone who craves sunshine and the Florida coastline but can do without the high prices of Miami, Tampa is an excellent place to live. Many people move to Tampa for the weather—the temperatures rarely drop below 60 degrees. They also love the magnificent waters of its white sand beaches. Nicknamed “Cigar City”, Tampa’s cultural heritage draws from Cuban, Italian, and Spanish influences. With weather as beautiful as Tampa’s, it’s no wonder the city is home to so many outdoor activities—the waterfront, professional sports, beaches, and hiking.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Tampa, FL?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Tampa make an average salary of $66,320.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Tampa is $31.88.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $82,170 or more.
  • Tampa’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 152
  • The cost of living in Tampa is 8% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Tampa rises to $71,777.

 

Dallas, Texas Skyline View

6. Dallas, Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and that’s especially true in Dallas. Big flavors, big personalities, big sports dynasties, and a booming economy all contribute to making Dallas one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Several major companies call Dallas home, such as Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and JC Penney, and the city was recently voted second best American city for graduates. As a central travel hub, Dallas residents can enjoy cheaper flights around the country. This affordability also makes Dallas a great travel destination. If this isn’t enough and you’re still not convinced, the Texas State Fair (hosted in Dallas’ historic Fair Park) will definitely win you over.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Dallas, TX?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Dallas make an average salary of $68,750.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Dallas is $33.05.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $98,990 or more.
  • Dallas’ Cost of Living Index (COLI): 159
  • The cost of living in Dallas is 4% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Dallas rises to $71,502.

 

Wichita, Kansas

7. Wichita, Kansas

Full of small-town warmth and big-city opportunities, Wichita is a booming city that doesn’t feel like a booming city… in a good way. Everything in town feels close by, and despite being one of the largest cities in the state, it’s very difficult to get lost. You may be asked to “pick a side”—there’s a lot of friendly competition between the east and west sides of Wichita—but the entire city is worth exploring. The city is also a great place to shop local, so be sure to check out the local boutiques.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Wichita, KS?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Wichita make an average salary of $59,570.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Wichita is $28.64.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $82,870 or more.
  • Wichita’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 133
  • The cost of living in Wichita is 20% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Dallas rises to $71,305.

 

Night view of Cincinnati

8. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is far from a sleepy Midwest town. A bustling city with professional sports teams, excellent schools, world class dining, and enough museums and galleries to keep you busy for weeks, Cincinnati is considered a great place to raise a family. They also love a good festival, whether they’re celebrating the opening day of baseball season or their German heritage. Cincinnati enjoys a moderate climate, with winters averaging around 33 degrees while its summers settle around 74 degrees. And with the city’s love for sports, a high demand for physical therapist assistants is almost guaranteed.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Cincinnati, OH?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Cincinnati make an average salary of $59,810.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Cincinnati is $28.76.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $80,500 or more.
  • Cincinnati’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 137
  • The cost of living in Cincinnati is 17% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Cincinnati rises to $70,148.

 

Lake Eola Park in Orlando

9. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is a city that requires no introduction. As a tourism hub, Orlando is home to world-famous attractions such as Disney World Resorts and Universal Studios—both of which bring in thousands of jobs. But Orlando is more than just amusement parks… its actual parks are world-class as well, which give residents multiple opportunities to get outside and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Housing in Orlando is surprisingly affordable as well, and thanks to the steady flow of visitors, it’s built a culinary empire with some of the tastiest restaurants in existence. Orlando is a city not only worth visiting but calling home.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Orlando, FL?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Orlando make an average salary of $64,940.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Orlando is $31.22.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $91,650 or more.
  • Orlando’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 154
  • The cost of living in Orlando is 7% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • The adjusted average salary based on its affordability raises a physical therapy assistant’s pay to $69,500.

 

Fort Worth

10. Fort Worth, Texas

If you’ve been to Dallas, Fort Worth is going to feel very familiar. That’s because both major cities are joined at the hip, creating a unique symbiotic community. Fort Worth isn’t as densely populated as Dallas, though, which means you have more room to breath and stretch your legs. And you’ll have plenty of time for both those activities as you explore Fort Worth’s charming downtown scene, ample parks, and journeys into the history of Texas (found at places like the Fort Worth Stockyards or the Stockyards Museum). Jobs are plentiful, the weather is moderate, and overall, Fort Worth just tends to be a place where people are happy to be.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Fort Worth, TX?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Fort Worth make an average salary of $68,750.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Fort Worth is $33.05.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $98,990 or more.
  • Fort Worth’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 165
  • The cost of living in Fort Worth is about average when compared to all the cities in our study.
  • For this reason, the adjusted average PTA salary in Cincinnati is not drastically different from what’s reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $69,011.

 

Downtown Cleveland

11. Cleveland, Ohio

Ohio may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of dream destinations, but that misconception is a big part of what makes Cleveland a hidden treasure. Booming biotech, IT, and advanced manufacturing businesses are generating lots of employment, which also helps local businesses, restaurants, and entertainment companies flourish. Cleveland also has one of the largest percentage of singles for a big city, so it’s also a great place to search for romance. Cleveland’s moderate climate, professional sports teams, and its focus on health and athletics are all clear reasons why so many people love to call Cleveland their home.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Cleveland, OH?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Cleveland make an average salary of $62,560.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Cleveland is $30.08.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $78,630 or more.
  • Cleveland’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 160
  • The cost of living in Cleveland is 9% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Cleveland rises to $68,463.

 

Austin evening

12. Austin, Texas

Austin earns its place on travel bucket-lists across the country for good reason. The city has built an identity of being welcoming, weird, creative, exciting, and unique—from its unpredictable music scene to the wild flavors and authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. Austin is one the top five biggest cities in the United States, but it’s grown with style—the people are just as warm as the weather. Because of its booming population and job market, you can easily fall in love with this city.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Austin, TX?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Austin make an average salary of $65,460.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Austin is $31.47.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $93,660 or more.
  • Austin’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 159
  • The cost of living in Austin is 4% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Austin rises to $68,080.

 

Beale Street in Downtown Memphis, Tennesse

13. Memphis, Tennessee

A city that seems to spring from the banks of the Mississippi River, Memphis is a music and BBQ lovers’ dream. Music is part of the city’s earliest roots, and it still pours out of every city block. The tourists may flock to Beale Street (which is always a great place for a fun night), but the city has so much more to offer. It’s no wonder that businesses such as FedEx, AutoZone, Service Master, and St Jude’s Research Hospital have chosen Memphis as their home base. Winters in Memphis are typically mild (though a little snow isn’t unheard of) and summers can get downright toasty.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Memphis, TN?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Memphis make an average salary of $54,870.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Memphis is $26.38.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $77,070 or more.
  • Memphis’ Cost of Living Index (COLI): 126
  • The cost of living in Memphis is 24% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Memphis rises to $67,998.

 

Richmond Virginia

14. Richmond, Virginia

If you like gorgeous green spaces, a wide selection of craft breweries, outdoor festivals, four mild seasons, and a culture steeped in American history, then there’s a good chance you’ll like Richmond, Virginia (or RVA, as the locals call it). The James River provides RVA with many of its best views and outdoor activities… if you aren’t admiring the water, you’re probably kayaking in it. RVA is also just two hours from beautiful Virginia Beach and two hours from the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Live theater and entertainment are a major part of Richmond’s identity, so there’s always something to see or do.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Richmond, VA?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Richmond make an average salary of $59,280.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Richmond is $28.50.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $90,840 or more.
  • Richmond’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 143
  • The cost of living in Richmond is 13% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Richmond rises to $67,379.

 

Jacksonville Beach

15. Jacksonville, Florida

As with any place in Florida, Jacksonville delivers the necessities—sun, sand, and summer weather, year-round. JAX (as the locals call it) boasts 850 square miles of beaches, parks, and other outdoor attractions. Thanks to events like Jacksonville’s ArtWalk, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, and attractions such as the Museum of Science and History and the Riverside Arts Market, Jacksonville consistently ranks in the top 25 arts destinations in the US. Need to get away? Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Atlanta are all just a short drive away… though with the beautiful Jacksonville beaches, many choose to simply stay put and soak up the sun.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Jacksonville, FL?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Jacksonville make an average salary of $58,540.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Jacksonville is $28.14.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $81,570 or more.
  • Jacksonville’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 142
  • The cost of living in Jacksonville is 14% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Jacksonville rises to $66,891.

 

Providence, Rhode Island

16. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence is an unforgettable New England coastal town—and that entails everything you think it would. Providence is a town of incredible seafood, nautical history, and that invigorating scent of chilly sea breeze in the air. New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia are easy drives away from Providence. In fact, because of its proximity to so many places, most residents can explore their neighboring towns and return home within the same day. As for Providence, the historic architecture and stonework that fills the city is remarkable. Its great schools and nearby professional sports teams all serve to draw more and more people to the area.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Providence, RI?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Providence make an average salary of $63,070.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Providence is $30.32.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $80,140 or more.
  • Providence’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 157
  • The cost of living in Providence is 5% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Providence rises to $66,356.

 

Downtown Oklahoma

17. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City is enjoying a Renaissance period—financial, cultural, and architectural—and word is spreading quickly that Oklahoma City is the place to be. Already a Mecca for football fans, Oklahoma City is one of the top stops for job-seeking millennials, and it was recently ranked the number one city to start a career by CNBC. Looking for a nice, juicy steak? Oklahoma City is one of the top cities in the country for red meat lovers. And the local housing market makes buying a home much more attainable for young families just starting out.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Oklahoma City, OK?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Oklahoma City make an average salary of $54,720.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Oklahoma City is $26.31.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $76,720 or more.
  • Oklahoma City’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 131
  • The cost of living in Oklahoma City is 21% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Oklahoma City rises to $66,161.

 

Indianapolis Public Library

18. Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis is a big city with a small-town feel, a place referred to as the “Crossroads of America”. The city is known for its love of sports, its local agriculture, and its relatively low unemployment rate. The city’s economy was built on pork, railroads, and automobile production, but it has since grown to include major corporations such as Anthem Inc, Angie’s List, Finish Line, and the NCAA. It’s also home to one of the most famous races in the world, the Indianapolis 500. Winters can get a little cold, but the balmy summers are worth the wait. And living here is good on the conscience as well—Indianapolis is working hard to become one of the greenest cities in the nation.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Indianapolis, IN?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Indianapolis make an average salary of $57,250.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Indianapolis is $27.52.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $76,300 or more.
  • Indianapolis’ Cost of Living Index (COLI): 141
  • The cost of living in Indianapolis is 15% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Indianapolis rises to $65,763.

 

Louisville Kentucky

19. Louisville, Kentucky

Caves, baseball, bourbon, and BBQ are all pillars of Louisville, Kentucky. One of the largest cities dotting the breathtaking Kentucky landscape, Louisville takes fierce pride in its parks, college basketball, live music, and infamous bourbon trail. The city is also home to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby (so don’t forget your bowties and oversized derby hats). Louisville is also home to Abbey Road on the River, the largest Beatles tribute festival in the country, as well as dozens of other memorable community activities.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Louisville, KY?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Louisville make an average salary of $55,010.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Louisville is $26.45.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $67,300 or more.
  • Louisville’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 138
  • The cost of living in Louisville is 17% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on its affordability, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Louisville rises to $64,186.

 

View of Nashville

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Last but not least is the rapidly growing city of Nashville, Tennessee, the official home of country music in the United States. According to the last census, nearly 100 people move to the Nashville area every day—that’s a lot of new faces, and for good reason. Nashville is in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, just outside the Great Smokey Mountains, and there’s a lot of money to be made in the area, particularly for those who work in healthcare or technology. While country music tends to be the city’s claim to fame, it’s also becoming well known as a startup hub for new tech businesses, and larger corporations.

How much do Physical Therapist Assistants make in Nashville, TN?

  • Physical therapy assistants in Nashville make an average salary of $59,390.
  • The average hourly wage for PTAs in Nashville is $28.55.
  • For people in the 90th percentile, PTA salaries can reach as high as $78,610 or more.
  • Nashville’s Cost of Living Index (COLI): 153
  • The cost of living in Nashville is 8% cheaper than the average of all the cities in our study.
  • Based on cost of living, the adjusted average salary for physical therapy assistants in Nashville rises to $63,918.

There are hundreds of other cities waiting to be discovered, and opportunities for hard-working physical therapist assistants exist in nearly all of them. Check out Provo College’s accelerated healthcare programs today to find out more about how the right degree can open doors to an exciting new future.