Via searchlaboratory.com & ProCare Therapy
Physical therapy is a rewarding but challenging career path. That’s why we’re dedicated to looking at all the factors to help psychologists find the best job opportunities in the right locations. Using wage and location data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cost of living statistics and job opportunities in each city, we calculated the top 50 cities for Physical Therapists in the US. We’ve listed out top 10 locations below, but, as with most job and location comparisons, there are pros and cons to each.
10. Sebring, Florida
Total score: 220
Sebring, in Florida’s Highlands County, is notable for its low cost of living and high average salaries. It also has an attractive number of job opportunities, with Physical Therapists making up 32.96 of every 10,000 employed people.
Although it’s a small city – Sebring’s population is only around 10,000 – it’s widely known for hosting the 12 Hour Grand Prix, which takes place on the Sebring International Raceway.
9. Abilene, Texas
Total score: 229
Abilene pays some of the US’s highest average salaries to its physical therapists, and it also offers excellent job opportunities, with 31.73 Physical Therapists per 10,000 Employed.
As well as being an excellent place for Physical Therapists, Abilene is a great place to call home. With affordable housing, superb weather and three highly-rated high schools – Abilene High School, Cooper High School and Wylie High School – Abilene is considered one of the better cities in the US to raise a family. Niche.com, a website that ranks US neighborhoods, lists Abilene as the 110th best place to live.
8. Scranton, Pennsylvania
Total score: 231
Pennsylvania’s sixth-largest city has excellent job opportunities and a low cost of living. However, its average salaries for Physical Therapists are among the lowest in our top 10.
As a place to live, Scranton’s known for its fashionable downtown and pleasant neighborhoods. Because of this, US News and World Report ranked it among the 125 best places to live in the US,  and the 52nd best place to retire. 
7. Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Total score: 238
Few cities offer better employment opportunities than Rocky Mount. The North Carolinian city, which sits in Edgecombe and Nash Counties, is the third-best US city for Physical Therapists in terms of employment numbers. And although its average salaries aren’t as high as many others in the top 10, they don’t represent significant drawbacks.
Other than the historical points of interest in Rocky Mount, which may have some appeal to tourists, the city has a “small town” feel. However, for those looking for something a little more lively, Rocky Mount is well connected, due to its close proximity to Raleigh-Durham airport.
6. Homosassa Springs, Florida
Total score: 243
Homosassa Springs offers great salaries and low living costs, but it’s let down slightly by its employment opportunities. Of the cities in our top 10, Homosassa Springs has the second-fewest employed Physical Therapists per 10,000.
Homosassa Springs’ low cost of living, excellent educational opportunities and beautiful sunny weather make it a pretty good place to live, too.
5. Cumberland, Maryland
Total score: 250
Cumberland, Maryland is known as the place “Where the South Begins”. It has a low cost of living and impressive employment opportunities, with 31.73 Physical Therapists per 10,000 employees.
Cumberland’s cost of living and nearby mountains makes it an attractive place to live, but it can be quiet in terms of culture. Although employment opportunities are good for Physical Therapists, employment is a slight downside in Cumberland, with a 6.4% unemployment rate.
4. Saginaw, Michigan
Total score: 253
Saginaw is the cheapest place to live in our top 10, but the average salaries of its Physical Therapists are the lowest in our top 10. For every 10,000 jobs in Saginaw, 32.16 are Physical Therapists, so there are plenty of employment opportunities.
Saginaw’s low cost of living makes it a good place to live, too. Housing and business space is affordable, so it’s a great city to invest in.
3. Bay City, Michigan
Total score: 254
Bay City scores positively in all areas, especially cost of living and salaries for Physical Therapists. Although it doesn’t have the greatest employment opportunities in our top 10, it still performs impressively, with 31.47 Physical Therapists per 10,000 employed.
Like Saginaw, Bay City has low cost of living, affordable housing and historical points of interest. Its wet and cloudy climate might be less appealing to some, but could feel cozy to others.
2. Kokomo, Indiana
Total score: 286
No city in the US offers better employment opportunities than Kokomo, Indiana: for every 10,000 employed, 36 are Physical Therapists. Cost of living is low, and wages are high – only Gadsden pays more, on average – making Kokomo a wonderful city for Physical Therapists.
With affordable housing, plenty of outdoor spaces and good public transport, Kokomo’s also a great place to live if you’re after a combination of diverse city living and small-town feel.
1. Gadsden, Alabama
Total score: 294
Topping our list is Gadsden, Alabama. Relative to cost of living, Gadsden’s average salaries for Physical Therapists are higher than any other city in the US, and it’s also among the best for employment opportunities.
Although Gadsden isn’t the industrial heartland it was in the latter half of the 20th Century, it remains a beautiful city. With hiking trails in places like the Martin Wildlife Park and the blissful Noccalula Falls, it’s a pleasant and peaceful place to call home.
Overall, Gadsden ranked highly in every category, scoring 96 out of 100 for cost of living, 100 out of 100 for salaries, and 98 out of 100 for employment opportunities.
If you’re a bit surprised by this list of cities, think about them like this. It typically costs more to live closer to a larger city, and the job opportunities could be sparse depending on the amount of competition. Once you start thinking outside the box, and outside a large city, you may just find more job opportunities, more support and resources from schools, and a lower cost of living.
Instead of focusing on major cities for your next physical therapy position, try something different and consider areas like these. Who knows – you might just find that it was exactly what you were looking for.
Overall ranking was calculated using Bureau of Labor Statistics data on multiple job profiles, including Physical Therapists. All available metropolitan areas were ranked by jobs per 10,000 to get an initial top 50. Each city in this top 50 was then given a percentile-based score for three different categories: cost of living, salary data and number of job opportunities per 10,000 employed. Added together, these three metrics gave an overall score, and these scores were used to rank the top 10 cities for Physical Therapists.
Permissions to share granted directly to the editing team at PhysicalTherapist.com. Interested in being featured on our website? Please let us know!
Latest posts by Editor (see all)
- Generational Conflicts and What To Do About Them - October 23, 2018
- WANT TO BE A BETTER PT OWNER, BOSS, AND TEAM LEADER? - October 5, 2018
- Stop Wasting Thousands Of Dollars On Your Student Loans - October 3, 2018
- Never Have Enough Time? - October 1, 2018
- Step by Step Guide To Becoming A Traveling Therapist - September 28, 2018