How Traveling Therapists Make More than Permanent Therapists

November 5th, 2014 by

traveling physical therapistGraduating from a physical therapy program is the first step towards a wonderful career.

The energy of physical therapy makes it a top choice among people who don’t want to be stuck with a desk job. A therapist’s daily routine is never the same each day. This makes going to work challenging, interesting and exciting!

To have a fulfilling physical therapy career, you need to find your area of specialization. There are a selection of work settings, job positions, locations and specialties that make it stimulating but at the same time, daunting. It’s hard to choose something that you aren’t sure about yet. But the beauty of it all is that several choices are within your reach.

Traveling Physical Therapy is a Great Choice for the Undecided

As a new graduate, you might be unsure what specialty or work setting you want. But with traveling physical therapy, you get exposed to various experienced therapists who can mentor you in your desired specialization. At the same time, a traveling therapist always has the option to stay a longer or shorter period of time in a particular work setting.

When I was an active traveling physical therapist, I was able to fully compare working in a skilled nursing facility versus acute care hospital setting. If it wasn’t for traveling, I’d probably be stuck with a likable but not too exciting career.

Traveling: Within Your Country and Abroad

You need to have a certain level of wanderlust to get by as a traveling physical therapist. Meeting new friends and discovering different places are just the perks. Physical therapy salaries range widely depending on if you’re traveling outside of the country or remaining in America. To get the most out of traveling and having a successful career in physical therapy, consider the state you want to work in.

The states of Alaska and California generally have higher salary ranges among other areas. And working as a traveling therapist in Arkansas will earn you $107,000 annually, but working as a traveler in Vermont will earn you around $120,000 annually.

You also need to account for lifestyle costs, physical/environmental conditions, housing expenses and moving costs which can all vary in amount greatly. Luckily, there are ways to save when having a travel position.

Choosing a good travel staffing company is also key since most of them provide housing and transportation allowances. Some even provide medical and/or 401k benefits to keep you in their staffing pool.

More Money

Most of all, salary is the great determining factor for a fulfilling traveling physical therapy career. Clearly, travelers are in high demand, and this brings a higher salary range compared to permanently placed counterparts.

Traveling physical therapists usually get to the higher tier in the salary pyramid because of staffing shortages and temporary staffing needs. It is contract-based but a win-win situation for both the therapist and the work facility.

You get your well-desired income while the facility gets the business they want. While working as a traveling PT, I was assured a 40-hr work week regardless of patient census, and overtime was usually not tolerated.

If you have the time and luxury to do travel PT, you should strongly consider it. Not only will you have the chance to help patients across the United States and abroad, but you get to do a job you love in an ever-evolving work environment.

About the Author:

Joahnna Almero is a licensed Physical Therapist working as a full-time acute inpatient clinician and developing hospital-based patient care projects. She has a bachelors in Physical Therapy from Velez College and licensed to work in Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

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