Guest Article: How Travel Physical Therapy Jobs Help Prepare PTs for Private Practice

Any job that encompasses travel is perceived to be glamorous, but unless you’ve really been on the move for the better part of your life, you will probably never understand the rigors and hardships that are hidden underneath every breathtaking location you’ve been to. The principle applies to a travelling physical therapist’s job as well – while it may seem desirable and exciting from the periphery, it involves a lot of hard work and a fair amount of instability in your life. But that’s notPhysical Therapist With Patient In Rehabilitation to say that travel physical therapy is all bad; in fact, there is so much that this line of work could teach you. It provides knowledge and information that is not readily available at steady therapy jobs, and because of this, travel physical therapists gain more experience in a relatively short span of time.

If you’re interested in becoming a traveling physical therapist, if you don’t mind travelling to new places for each new assignment, and if you want experience in a wide variety of aspects associated with physical therapy, then travel therapy is the field for you. It’s exciting if you look forward to seeing different places and working with different kinds of patients, it’s exhilarating if you don’t mind uprooting yourself on a regular basis and being unable to settle down in one place, and it’s profitable in the long run if you’re willing to put up with hardships in the short.

In general, travel therapy jobs help physical therapists who hope to set up their own private practice sometime in the future because:

  • They allow you to gain a vast amount of experience in a short period of time.
  • They allow you to work in different settings and gain an insight into how each healthcare environment is managed and administered.
  • They provide you with access to different kinds of patients; so besides gaining experience in all forms of therapy, you’re also able to choose from them and settle on one particular field that interests you the most. In short, choosing a specialization becomes an easier task when you’re a travel physical therapist.
  • They facilitate the process of making enough money to set up your own practice because they pay more than regular therapy jobs.
  • They allow you to decide on the location you want to set up your own practice; you can base your decision using the information you’ve gathered over the years relating to the flow of patients, the kind of payment they’re capable of, the nature of the work environment, the kind of licensing required by the State, and various other factors that you pick up over the course of your travelling assignments.

Setting up your own practice depends on a variety of factors – money, experience, and future prospects. If you’re a travel physical therapist, you’re able to gauge all these factors and make your decision accordingly.

3 great salary tools for PTs and PTAs

Knowing how much other Physical Therapists make is important information to have when you are discussing pay with your travel physical therapy recruiter, so here are three great websites that can give you some of that info.

Physical Therapist Salary Tools

Average Physical Therapist Salary – Salary.com travel physical therapist with pay

Physical Therapist Salary – Indeed.com

Salary Snapshot for Physical Therapist (PT) Jobs – Payscale.com

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary Tools

Average Physical Therapist Assistant Salary – Salary.com

Physical Therapist Assistant Salary – Indeed.com

Salary Snapshot for Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Jobs – Payscale.com

Summertime and the job search can be easy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and relax this summer, soaking up the rays of the sun, gathering with friends and family for BBQ’s and the like? Yeah sure, if you had a job! Life would be much easier during these summer days knowing you’re in a job that is secure. So what do you do if aren’t fortunate enough to be in this position?

Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and relax this summer, soaking up the rays of the sun, gathering with friends and family for BBQ’s and the like? Yeah sure, if you had a job! Life would be much easier during these summer days knowing you’re in a job that is secure. So what do you do if aren’t fortunate enough to be in this position?

Travel Therapy Job Search
Use your summer to find a job, not seashells.

Some job seekers may think that since it’s summertime, the chance of finding work may be slim due to vacations and breaks from those who make staffing decisions, and in turn will take a break from the job search. The days of long vacations are gone and many companies operate the same, no matter what time of year. Sure, people still take vacations and the application process could take a little longer than normal, but there’s no sense in stopping your search and waiting through the three months of summer. Now is the time! You never know, summer could be the time when facilities are gearing up for the fall and winter, so it’s best to a step forward.

Take advantage of summer activities with friends and family. You can meet so many different people during all the weddings, BBQ’s, get-togethers and so forth, so it’s the perfect time to network. Let it be known that you’re looking for work and who knows, you just might get a lead or two.

Even though it can take a little more work during the summer months to find that job, don’t give up. Be persistent and stay positive. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being lazy, so do what you can and keep to a schedule, even if you take an hour out of your day. Remember to leave polite messages with whomever you call. Everyone at that faciltiy is entitled to a break, even receptionists and on their return, they’ll be more apt to relay a nice message as opposed to one who is obviously annoyed that they haven’t been contacted. Even so, you even might get through to the hard to reach hiring manager since their assistant is away. You could now be a couple steps ahead of your competition as they wait it out through the summer.

Make use of your downtime and make sure you have everything in order from your licenses, resume and other pertinent information. Update your resume if you’ve accomplished anything as of late. Keep up to date with your skills and enroll in a couple classes if you must and while you’re there, network with other classmates. Perhaps they know of opportunities that may be well suited for you but not for them.

It’s summertime and living can be easy… Just take note of the suggestions above and before you know it, you could land that perfect job before fall arrives.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 8 – Evaluating Travel Therapy Companies

The next thing you need to do is to take the information you put together in the first seven steps and use it to evaluate travel physical therapy companies you may want to work with. This is important because the first seven steps are used to help you know the things that are going to be important to you in a travel physical therapy job.

So keeping these things in mind your first stop is to spend some time on their website. The sign of a good company that are seen in a company’s website are first foremost easy to find answers to your questions and contact information.  You also will want to make sure they have plenty of jobs for you, if you list them on their site, but not every company does. As you click around on their site remember to look for answers about the things we have already covered:

The next thing you will want to do is some background on what other travel  physical therapist think of the company and what it’s like to work with them. Some good places to do this are (in order):

  1. Actual live referrals who you know personally that have worked with the company
  2. Travel therapy company rating sites like MedTravelerClub.com
  3. Former employees of the company provided by the recruiter for you to contact

Next you will want to do some background on the company. You should also be doing this when you are the company’s website, reading their about pages and finding out how long they have been around and look for signs that the company is growing (growth awards, press releases, etc.). You also want to make sure the company is good financial standing as is going to be able to pay you. This kind of information is easy to find for publicly traded companies, but is something you will need to ask your recruiter about with privately held companies.

The final thing you can do to research travel therapy companies is to ask your recruiter questions that help you rate the company. Here is a list of questions we recommend:

  • How long has the travel physical therapy company been in existence?
  • How large (or small) is the company?
  • What does the company have to offer that sets it apart from others?
  • Are there physical therapists who can give references?
  • Is there always someone available to answer my call (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)?
  • Can I see a sample contract?
  • Is my travel physical therapy job guaranteed by a written contract?
  • How much do I get paid during my travel physical therapy assignment?
  • Explain the mileage reimbursement policy for travel physical therapy assignments?
  • Is help (financial and administrative) provided with licensing and my other credentialing needs?
  • Who will I talk to if my recruiter isn’t available?
  • Do I only have one recruiter my entire career with your company?
  • If I want to go perm are there any clauses in my contract to prevent me from being hired as a perm employee? If so, what are the details?
  • What are any areas your company could improve on?

Here are some other questions you may want to ask your recruiter as you are evaluating travel physical therapy companies.

What to expect as a new grad moving into a travel physical therapy career

s a physical therapist new grad or one approaching graduation in the coming year you may find your friends and family starting to ask a lot of questions. Questions like:

  • Where you are going to work?
  • How much are you going to make?
  • What do you want to focus on?
  • How are you going to pay off your school loans?

If you are facing similar questions, I came across a great article from a physical therapist after his first year as a travel PT that you may find helpful. He had similar questions before he started down his career path, so if you are considering a career in travel physical therapy yourself it is definitely worth reading. You can find it here.

Here are some of the highlights:

Before you start you will need to:

  • Be prepared to be met with skepticism from professors concerning the experience and environment they think are needed for new grads
  • Keep an open mind to their warnings, but also to the possibilities of a travel career
  • You will realize the benefits of a traveling physical therapy are great for new grads
  • Be prepared with questions be afraid to ask them of the travel physical therapy companies, it is your career we’re talking about

After you start you will:

  • Learn that a travel PT career allows for great control over your post education education (the stuff you learn that they don’t teach you in school)
  • Realize that the risks everyone warned you about probably won’t happen
  • Have the ability to control your environment much better than a single job lets you
  • Be exposed to different management and clinical operation strategies making you a more well rounded therapist
  • Find that a travel physical therapy job offers great compensation thanks to high starting salary, real hourly pay and tax-free housing and living allowances, which means you can pay down your student loans faster
  • Get great benefits including health and dental insurance, as well as access to a company 401k plans
  • Enjoy the chance to take 1-2 week breaks between assignments made even more possible by high pay

So give the article a read and remember there are tons of opportunities out there to begin your physical therapy career.

Travel Occupational Therapists pay – what’s the number?

For the third part of our look at the salaries of travel therapists we will be taking a look at the pay of traveling OTs compared to a permanent one. The answer is…

$59,000 a year for a Traveling OT vs $50,000 a year for a permanent full-time Occupational Therapist.

This information is based on averages gathered by Simply Hired. Another great use for this tool is to compare what you could bring home as a traveling occupational therapist in other locations than your town. For example let’s take a look at an OT in Detroit, MI who is making $58,000. He could potentially make $71,000 a year in Bostravel occupational therapist with daughterton, MA working short-term contracts. For simplicity’s sake we are using annual salary, hourly or even on 3 month increments may be a better measure.

Now let’s say he wanted to stay close to home to see his daughter more often but still make more money. Like we just said, the average Occupational Therapist pay in Detroit, MI is $58,000 a year, however just a short hour’s drive to Ann Arbor he could increase his salary to the average traveling occupational therapist salary in Ann Arbor, IL of $68,000, his pay from $29.00 to $34.00 an hour.

Plus throw in Per Diem allowances and free housing or housing stipends and it is obvious how working a short-term contract or travel assignment can have a big impact on your income and your family.