Luna Survey: 42% of U.S. physical therapists have current debt over $100,000

Nashville, Tennessee, Tuesday, November 28, 2023—Over 40% of physical therapists have current education debt of over $100,000, according to a new national survey, which highlights the need for industry reform. 

The survey, conducted by Luna, the leading provider of in-home outpatient physical therapy, sought to explore the financial situation of physical therapists and the status of their educational debt.

Of the 2,000 physical therapists surveyed, almost all (96%) took out loans for their education, and 42% had an active loan balance of over $100,000.

The study highlights how supplemental earning opportunities can help physical therapists accelerate debt repayment. For example, at Luna, physical therapists can earn $35,000 in extra income per year with as little as 10 visits per week as a supplemental income to help pay off their debt.

“Our survey spotlights the profound economic challenges that physical therapists face; from large student loan debts, to persistent loan balances, and limited success with debt relief programs. We’re proud to have helped therapists pay down over $50,000,000 in debt via Luna’s supplemental earning opportunities,” said Palak Shah, co-founder and head of clinical operations at Luna. 

With a network of over 3,000 therapists, Luna is available in 55 metropolitan markets across 28 states. Over 190 million Americans have access to Luna’s in-home outpatient physical therapy service, thanks to strategic partnerships, including AARP, Emory Healthcare, Providence, and Intermountain Healthcare.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 264,000 licensed physical therapists in the United States earning a median annual wage of $91,000. The employment of physical therapists is projected to grow faster than other occupations due to an aging population and an increased awareness of the benefits of physical therapy.

The entire report can be downloaded here.

Educational Debt

Of the physical therapists surveyed, 96% reported having to take out a loan or use a credit card to fund their physical therapy education. Among them, the debt levels from their education were substantial: 

  • 38% had education debt of over $150,000 
  • 36% had education debt of between $100,000 and $150,000
  • 20% had education debt of between $50,000 and $100,000
  • 6% had education debt of $50,000 

Current Loan Balances and Interest

Of the physical therapists surveyed, current loan balances were substantial: 

  • On average, the loan balance was $88,933
  • 42% still had a balance at or greater than $100,000

Debt Relief

The survey revealed that almost half of physical therapists (44%) had resorted to debt relief programs, but almost three-quarters (73%) found them to be not at all or not very effective. 

About Luna

Luna is the leading provider of in-home outpatient physical therapy. Unlike virtual or remote care, Luna’s licensed physical therapists provide 1:1 hands-on care in the convenience of a patient's home. With a network of over 3,000 therapists, Luna is available in 55 metropolitan markets across 28 states. The service is covered by most major insurances, and patients pay the same co-pay as facility-based care. Luna proudly partners with AARP, Providence, Emory Healthcare, Intermountain Healthcare, and more. Visit for details.