4 Tips for Getting Hired for the Highest Paying Physical Therapy Jobs

Are you looking to make the most of your PT career? Let’s take a look at what you need to do to qualify for the highest paying physical therapy jobs in terms of geographical location, area of expertise, advanced specialty certification, and thought leadership.

1. Geographical Location Affects Earnings

Location always has an impact on potential earnings.

Regions that are relatively sparsely populated have fewer patients and therefore offer fewer positions and lower pay while densely populated areas have more patients and more positions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states with the best paying physical therapy jobs in 2018 were:

  • Nevada
  • Alaska
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • California

Before you decide to look for a job in one of the highest paying states, it’s important to take into account that the cost of living is much higher in these states.

2. Focus on Your Area of Expertise

Physical therapy focus areas range from specific anatomical and physiological systems to physical activity to patients’ age to long-term care. Sarah White, writing for Monster, states that some of the highest paid physical therapist specialties include:

  • Geriatrics
  • Long-term care
  • Wound care
  • Home health

3. Earn Advanced Specialty Certification

To earn a top physical therapist salary position, pursue an APTA advanced specialty certification.

The benefits of becoming a board-certified specialist include becoming one of the highest paid physical therapist practitioners plus recognition as one of the distinguished selection of PTs with demonstrated clinical expertise.

The APTA offers advanced specialty certifications in the following nine areas:

  1. Cardiovascular and pulmonary
  2. Clinical electrophysiology
  3. Geriatric
  4. Neurology
  5. Oncology
  6. Orthopedic
  7. Pediatric (PCS)
  8. Sports
  9. Women’s’ health

Certification Process

As can be expected, the specialist certification process is considerably more stringent than that for regular CEUs.

In order to take the exam, you’ll need a current license to practice PT in the U.S. and proof of completing a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience working with your patients in your chosen field of experience.

Becoming certified could get you into a good position of earning in the bracket for the highest paying physical therapy jobs.

4. Provide More Value with Thought Leadership

The final factor that influences how much you can earn is thought leadership. Professionals who regularly contribute to trade publications, conferences, and educational endeavors are seen as experts in their field. This type of visible expertise comes with a significant dollar value – but it doesn’t happen overnight.

You can begin by starting your own blog and publishing posts about your area of expertise. In addition, you can reach out to trade magazines and pitch ideas for articles. Or, you can contribute to things like scholarly journals.

You should take advantage of any opportunity you get to contribute to interviews, whether they’re written, audio, or video.

If you have the time, start to build a social media following. Platforms like Twitter and Google+ offer an effective way of bringing your work to the attention of colleagues and the general public.

Landing the Highest Paying Physical Therapy Jobs

To get hired for that high-paying PT job you want, speak with your recruiter and explain to him or her what your area of expertise is and what types of positions you’re looking for. He or she will be able to help you plan a series of career moves that keep bringing you one step closer to your ultimate career objective.

Finally, keep your résumé, website, blog, and LinkedIn up to date at all times while always having business cards with you.

Looking for additional support to get a high paying physical therapy job? Contact us to learn how we can help you.


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