California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Physical Therapists in California

May also be called: Licensed Physical Therapy Assistants; Pediatric Physical Therapists; Pulmonary Physical Therapists; Sports Physical Therapists; and Physiotherapists.

What Would I Do?

Physical Therapists are licensed health care professionals who evaluate a patient’s physical status; establish a plan of care and goals; and administer treatments to restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. They assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that relieve pain, improve the bodys movement and function, maintain cardiopulmonary function, and limit disabilities resulting from disease or injury.

Physical Therapists generally work in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, and private practices that have specially equipped facilities. They also treat patients in hospital rooms, homes, or schools. The job can be physically exhausting as they often stand for long periods of time; lift patients and help them to turn, stand, or walk; and move equipment.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Physical Therapist will appeal to those who enjoy assisting others and promoting learning and personal development.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2015 for Physical Therapists in California was $92,707 annually, or $44.57 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$79,566$92,707$108,870
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefit packages vary among employers. Generally, Physical Therapists receive medical, dental, and retirement benefits. In addition, many employers provide vision, life, vacation, and sick leave. Some employers offer a sign-on bonus.

What is the Job Outlook?

The demand for Physical Therapists should increase due to growth in the general and aging population, the widespread interest in health, and the growth of sports medicine.

How Do I Qualify?

Physical Therapists must be licensed to practice by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Physical Therapy Board of California. To obtain a license, one must possess a post baccalaureate (master’s) degree in physical therapy. Also, they must take and pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), the California Law Examination (CLE), and pass a criminal history fingerprint background check.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Hospitals frequently advertise openings in newspaper ads and some also recruit through private employment agencies. Job seekers should also apply directly to hospital personnel departments throughout California. Applicants who apply for government job openings must first pass a federal or State civil service examination. Many firms can be searched in the telephone directory yellow pages.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Physical Therapists