Best 5 Travel Locations for Physical Therapists (PTs)

August 15, 2022


Megan Bebout


Young or old, big or small, sick or injured, there's a large population of the country who need a helping hand from their friendly, neighborhood physical therapist (PT). If you're reading this, chances are you're a PT or at least know what a PT is. But in case you are unfamiliar or just getting started in your PT journey, let's find out a little more about these movement pros.



5 Best States for Physical Therapists



To keep it simple, physical therapists are movement experts who focus their knowledge and efforts on helping patients regain mobility and manage pain. Travel PTs work the same magic, but with patients in different locations all over the nation. So, if you're a PT interested in making your mark on the world, consider a career in travel and allow your job to take you to some of the best states for physical therapists in the U.S. And speaking of best, these are the top locations for PT jobs:


No. 1: California

Image from visitcalifornia.com

California-minIf you’ve never been to California, we would highly recommend adding this sunny state to your travel bucket list. Not only does this West Coast state have countless activities for adrenaline junkies, access to multiple national parks, and an unlimited amount of foodie options for you to get your nosh on!

Other than the obvious perks like sunshine, sandy beaches, and In-N-Out Burger, California also offers a myriad of job opportunities for PTs and physical therapy assistants (PTAs). In fact, the number of California PT jobs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the State of California’s Employment Development Department. How much faster, you ask? Well, PT jobs are projected to increase by 22.4%, adding more than 5,000 jobs each year in California between 2018 and 2028.

How to get your PT license in California

While California is overflowing with benefits, there is one minor detail that can cause some challenges: California state PT licensing. Since California isn't a part of the PT Compact License, which allows physical therapists to practice their specialty across multiple states under one license, physical therapists looking for work in California first must take the state exam to become licensed.

To get licensed as a PT in California, you have to pass two major exams: California Law Exam and National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). The California Law Exam is an hour-long test made up of multiple-choice questions that cover the contents of PT practice, regulations, and statutes. Then, the NPTE is a computer-based exam that assesses your basic knowledge of all things physical therapy-related. Here are some study tips to help you ace each test, you're welcome.

What to do in California

Search for California travel PT jobs.


No. 2: New York

Image from nycgo.com

New york-min

The state of New York is rich with history. From Lady Liberty to Times Square to Central Park to Niagara Falls and more, this East Coast state doesn't disappoint when it comes to tourist attractions. And as it turns out, New York has a wild demand for physical therapists like you!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physical therapist jobs are expected to increase by 32.7% in New York between 2016 and 2026. Some of the key factors behind this profession growth is an active older generation that may experience exercise or sports injuries that require physical therapy. Plus, the Baby Boomer generation is in the age sweet spot for arthritis, heart attacks, and strokes, which increases the demand for physical therapy and rehabilitation care. Aside from an aging population, modern-day medical and technological advancements help increase the percentage of trauma and accident victims who survive, creating additional physical therapist jobs in the area.

How to get your PT license in New York

Like California, New York does not participate in the PT Compact, so you're going to have to prepare in advance if you want to work in New York. To get licensed here, you'll need to provide proof of education and pass the New York NPTE. Don't worry, though, you've got this! And once that's under your belt, you're good to go start spreading your physical therapy magic to New Yorkers.

What to do in New York

Search for New York travel PT jobs.


No. 3: Texas

Image from traveltexas.com


Word on the street is everything is bigger in Texas. Even the need for physical therapists and PTAs, lucky for you! And even better, when you're not busy spreading the PT love in the Lone Star State, you can be chowing down on some mouthwatering BBQ, attending a festival, or spicing up your day in your favorite Texan way, whatever that may look like for you.

And as a physical therapist, there are loads of high demand job openings awaiting you in the second-largest U.S. state. In fact, according to Projections Central, Texas' demand for physical therapists is expected to grow 20.4% between 2018 and 2028. Within that decade, experts project more than 1,150 new physical therapy jobs will open each year across the state. Yeehaw, am I right?

How to get your PT license in Texas

Of course, you know that to practice in physical therapy jobs, you have to be licensed in the state, minor details. In Texas, there are two ways you can get licensed: 1) Through the PT Compact License (PTLC) or 2) Through the state of Texas.

If you opt for a license through the state of Texas, that will only be effective in, well, the state of Texas. To go that route, you need to pass the Texas NPTE. However, if you choose a PT Compact License, you can use it to practice physical therapy in all participating states, including Texas!

To obtain your PTLC and start exploring physical therapy jobs, you'll need to meet the criteria and have a valid PT or PTA license from your home state and a valid driver's license. As long as you have those things, you're golden to move onto the next step, which is researching jurisprudence (JP) exam requirements for the state you want to practice PT in. Spoiler alert: Texas does require you pass the JP exam before applying for your PTLC. Once you've aced the JP, you'll fill out some paperwork, pass go, and collect your PTLC!

What to do in Texas

Search for Texas travel PT jobs.


No. 4: Florida

Image from visitflorida.com


Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a reason—the sun shines a little brighter and a little longer there. So, it's no surprise that Florida made it to the list of top travel locations for physical therapists. That, plus the fact that the demand for physical therapy jobs in Florida has been rising over the past few years and continues to do so. Let's find out more.

Not only is this Southern state known for its long, sunny days and warm, sandy beaches, but it's also known to be one of the best places for Americans to retire. As such, Floridians aged 65 and up make up more than 20% of the state's overall population and as we already learned, this age demographic tends to require more customized hands-on care.

But that's not all. According to recent research, there were 13,900 Florida physical therapists in 2018 and by 2028, that number is projected to grow to nearly 17,000, resulting in 22% physical therapist job growth over the decade. And where there is a need for physical therapy jobs, there is a need for physical therapists—it's just the math of it.

How to get your PT license in Florida

Unfortunately, Florida doesn't participate in the PTLC, so to work in the Sunshine State, you'll need to obtain your state license. Like other non-compact states, to receive licensing, you must apply with the state board, pass the required state exams, crush the NPTE, and lastly, ace the JP exam. After you've checked those items off your list, you're ready to begin your PT adventures in Florida.

What to do in Florida

Search for Florida travel PT jobs.


No. 5: Pennsylvania

Image from visitpa.com


What's better than a nice, relaxing drive through the streets of Pennsylvania? Answer: Taking a nice, relaxing drive through the streets of Pennsylvania to get to work. And as it so happens, PTs are needed in this historic U.S. destination. Love that for you!

If you're in the market for a physical therapist job, consider this East Coast state and prepare to get your head in the game. Between 2018 and 2028, the PT profession is projected to grow by a whopping 17% in Pennsylvania alone! That means that throughout those 10 years, more than 350 physical therapy job openings will become available each year in a state with a fairly low cost of living. One of them could be yours!

How to get your PT license in Pennsylvania

Before you sign that Pennsylvania physical therapist job offer, make sure you're covered with your Pennsylvania state PT license. Once again, Pennsylvania isn't part of the PTLC, so you won't be able to use your compact license for this state. However, the process to get your Pennsylvania PT license is pretty standard! So, what that looks like is 30 hours of continuing education, a passing score on the NPTE, and a $30 licensing fee. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy.

What to do in Pennsylvania

Search for Pennsylvania travel PT jobs.

State-by-state PT pay breakdown

So, now you know the top five states for physical therapists based on demand. Well, now let's take a look at PT pay breakdown and average salary by state so you know what to expect no matter where you go on your travel adventure:


Annual Average Salary

Monthly Pay

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New Hampshire




New Jersey




New Mexico




New York




North Carolina




North Dakota




















Rhode Island




South Carolina




South Dakota




























West Virginia


















No matter where your physical therapy travel journey takes you, you can feel good knowing you're positively impacting the lives of everyone you touch. Plus, ICYMI, physical therapists and physical therapist assistants both made Indeed's list of fastest-growing health care careers, and as we've learned through this guide, there is a large demand for physical therapy professionals in states across the U.S.

Life as a professional travel physical therapist has many perks: Competitive pay and average salary, job security, travel adventures, skill-building experience, and then some. But one of the biggest pros is you can start traveling as a PT right after graduation! That's right—there's no wait time, no hoops to jump through, and no balls to juggle—it's just you, your wanderlust, and your passion to help others. So, what are you waiting for? Start your PT journey and consider one of these top states as your first destination.