Salary Survey (new grads)

Updated Dec 16, 2016567 respondents. 

Dec 16, 2016: I am still enjoying the relative freedom of a home-health environment. I like the ability to visit different houses during the same day; some are nice and others not so nice (although I have not come across any filthy ones so far), but they are all different. It’d be hard for me to work in a clinic because I’d get tired of seeing the same four walls day after day. That would remind me too much of my time in the corporate rat-race… I plan to make a chart comparison of 2016-2015 results as I have some free time over the holidays. Stay tuned.

July 23, 2016: I often think of my HH gig as a form of time-travel; I get the opportunity to see a fair number of older adults in their own home environments and can get a good idea of their lifestyle, diet, family support, etc. I find that all this generally correlates with how well they recover from surgeries (knee or hip replacements) or CVAs. This also gives me an incentive to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle, so I do not end up as some of the patients I am caring for. You could say that this gig allows me a glimpse into alternate futures: one where I stay on the couch and watch TV all day long, and the other where I remain active, work (even part-time), and exercise into old age. I certainly know which one is the preferable one!

June 11, 2016: I encourage new grads to look into home-health for a first job. The autonomy is great, and I enjoy the variety of patients and homes that I encounter. The drawback is that employers often require prior PT experience for such positions. I was fortunate that I went back to a place where I had done a clinical, and the folks there knew and trusted me well enough to hire me for a home-health spot. So always do your best when you go on rotations, and keep in touch with your CIs. They can be great mentors and sounding boards, or even job leads after you graduate.

Apr 30, 2016: I am currently working a home-health position in a rural area. Pros: relative freedom when planning my day, mileage reimbursement can sweeten the paycheck, good experience and training for moving to a more urban area later on. Cons: lots of driving (make sure you have a fuel-efficient car if you pick HH), the cleanliness of some homes is less than ideal (a colleague brought bedbugs home), relatively poor health literacy in the patients, and filling out the Medicare paperwork can be tedious.

Feb 7, 2016: The comparison between 2015/2014 grads can be found here. Please note that I update the graphs only once every couple of months, so the spreadsheet below will always have more up-to-date data. If you download the spreadsheet, you will be able to sort it in any way you wish (by geographical area, by work setting, etc). Click on the Excel symbol on the lower right-hand corner of the sheet to download it.

Potential PT students and new grads should also check out this site which analyzes the earnings by city: http://www.macprible.com/blog/2015/pt-earnings-data-by-city

And the flip side of the matter is the tuition costs to become a PT: http://www.macprible.com/blog/2016/1/9/what-does-it-cost-to-become-a-physical-therapist (please note that you will need to add living expenses to those figures)

My last rotation was in Home Health; typically, Home-Health PTs’ reported salaries are higher than average. This is possibly due to the addition of mileage reimbursements to their regular paycheck. In 2015, the IRS rate was 57.5 cents/mi. For 2016, it’s 54 cents/mi. If you drive an average of 50 mi/day to see patients in 2015, you’d see more than $7K added to your regular salary (assuming 250 working days/year). This money is meant to offset the gas costs and wear-and-tear on your car.

Nov 20, 2015: I have noticed an increasing number of facetious answers to the survey, for ex. “year of graduation: 2027, entry salary: $150K”, etc. This makes it more time-consuming for me to comb through all the entries and update the Excel table below. I am putting my own time and money in running this survey (I have to pay, to have the survey hosted) and am doing it solely to help graduating DPT students secure a fair job offer. So if you are not interested, just ignore this whole thing and refrain from making frivolous and fake entries. Thanks.

Sep 27 2015: An updated chart comparing the data for 2015 new-grads vs 2014 new-grads is here

Some folks may be getting to this page without necessarily coming from the SDN website. If so, you may be interested in this thread about the salaries of new grads and the future of the profession; scroll to the very end of the thread to see discussions on debt levels and taxes. There is also a link to the survey, if you haven’t already taken it: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=931151

Another SDN thread discussing DPT salary: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/trends-in-pt-salary.1041375/

Here is a very good discussion on how to negotiate your salary. One person was inspired to negotiate his/her offer by looking at the results of this survey, and was successful in bringing the offer up from $70K-$75K to $75K-$80K. Congratulations!

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13 comments

  1. lista de email · · Reply

    great work by posting this…thanks.

  2. futuredpt · · Reply

    thanks so much for doing this — very interesting and helpful!

  3. thanks for all the helpful information! very much appreciated

  4. This is great. Is there anyway you could make the columns searchable by type (i.e. location…southwest, southeast, etc.; another column by clinic type….outpatient, SNF, etc.). It would be easier to use.

  5. @ Molly: if you download the Excel sheet (click on the Excel symbol on the lower right-hand corner), you will be able to sort it any way you wish.

  6. Reblogged this on A Daily Dose of Sun and commented:
    Well this sure is an interesting, ongoing survey for the soon to PT school grads out there.

  7. I know you’ve had this posted a while — but salary alone isn’t the best indicator of an offer. I had 3 offers who’s “salaries” were similar – but in terms of benefits (medical/dental/vision, 401K matching) and compensations (con-ed, relocation fees, etc.) it makes a huge difference. It would be interesting if you also had a few columns that included this information. For example, my I had one job offer that was almost $15K higher, than my first offer but half of that increase came from benefits that the larger clinic was able to offer me. Just food for thought.

    1. @ Emfo: I realize that benefits can differ significantly from offer to offer, and can be the deciding factor in many cases. I have originally thought of including them in the survey and finally decided against it. The reason is twofold: first, they add a layer of complexity to the survey and it may be hard to do a straight comparison. For ex, you have a 401k with 50% matching up to 6% of your pay. Somebody else has a 401k with 100% matching up to 5K/yr. You have 3 weeks of PTO for the first 5 years, but no sick days. Somebody else has 2 weeks of PTO but unlimited (within reason) sick days. Capturing all these subtleties on a simple survey is impossible. This brings us to the second point: I wanted the survey-takers to be able to complete this survey in less than 30 seconds. I don’t know about you, but I tend to ditch any survey that requires more time than that.

      I trust that DPTs will have enough intellectual horsepower to compare the benefits between different offers, once the major item (salary) is out of the way.

  8. Thank you so much for setting this p and keeping it running.

    1. You’re welcome, glad I can help.

  9. Thank you for your time devoted to this! Very helpful!

  10. Exceedingly helpful! Will contribute after I graduate. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  11. Thanks for the update.

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