It’s true: the future of the physical therapy profession is as bright as ever. With ever-increasing growth, physical therapy is now a prime field for those who love to travel and gain experience around the country.
Are you seeking an incredibly rewarding career that allows you to do what you’re passionate about both on and off the job? A travel physical therapy profession might be the right choice for you.
With a huge uptick in the need for Physical Therapists happening right now and no slowdown in sight, travel PTs are a breakout segment in the future of the physical therapy profession.
Future of Physical Therapy Profession: A High Demand
In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that 71,800 new Physical Therapist (PT) jobs would be created by 2024.
That’s an increase of 34 percent, which is much faster than the average profession.
There are a number of reasons for this increase.
More and more Americans are suffering from chronic diseases such as:
- coronary disease,
- and arthritis.
At the same time, more people are living longer, which means they need health care to help them manage age-related diseases and musculoskeletal problems.
To become a Physical Therapist, you need a doctoral or professional degree in physical therapy, as well as a license from the state where you want to practice.
In addition, you can continue your training in order to become specialized in a specific type of physical therapy such as pediatrics, sports, or geriatrics.
The average pay for a PT is $39.61 per hour, but that can be higher or lower depending on your experience, specialty, and location.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that 71,800 PT jobs would be created by 2024 #alliedhealth” quote=”Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that 71,800 PT jobs would be created by 2024. “]
Traveling Physical Therapists Are Reaping The Benefits
While the outlook for regular, full time Physical Therapists is good, it’s even better for traveling Physical Therapists! A physical therapy professional who wants to travel is in great shape to out-earn many other medical specialties.
Ever since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, there has been a measurable increase in the number of people seeking medical help.
Many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities were forced to lay off a lot of personnel during the recession. These organizations now find themselves short-staffed, particularly during busy seasons.
The logical and most affordable solution is to hire medical staff on a temporary basis.
And that’s where a traveling physical therapy professional comes in. Healthcare organizations hire traveling PTs to ramp up their workforces when necessary.
For example, many seniors travel to Florida, Arizona, or New Mexico during the winter months. These are typically times when there’s an increased demand for physical therapy—and organizations hire travel PTs to meet that demand.
With states like South Carolina and North Carolina also experiencing a rise in part-time residents at retirement age, the need for traveling Physical Therapists only continues to grow.
Since the engagements are temporary, the organizations don’t have the same obligations towards travel PTs as they would to full time employees. They can let them go when they are no longer needed, without having to deal with severance pay and other employment issues.
The travel Physical Therapist, for his or her part, simply circles back to the agency and moves on to the next assignment.
Be Part of the Future of Physical Therapy Profession
There are a number of aspects to the travel physical therapy profession that make it very attractive to certain professionals.
First, though, it’s important to emphasize that it’s not for everybody.
Being part of this niche means you’re on the go vs. staying in familiar surroundings, close to friends and family. Some people prefer the comforts of home over traveling and to find a full time job that offers attractive advancement opportunities.
When considering a traveling profession, understanding your professional aspirations, your lifestyle preferences, and your interest in forgoing routine in favor of adventure is key.
You are best advised to be honest with yourself about what you want before choosing a profession as a traveling Physical Therapist.
If you think you’ll enjoy being a traveling PT, it’s good to have some insights as to how this profession can enrich your career and your life.
Here’s a closer look:
1. Explore new places.
If you love to travel, you know that the average vacation is never long enough to really get to know a place. It takes time to sink into the beauty of a new city and time costs money, especially on vacation!
You’re not earning money or gaining experience on a vacation, but, as a traveling Physical Therapist, you get to do both.
With a travel physical therapy profession, you can choose where you want to go and when. Plus, you’ll be earning money while you’re there. You can enjoy each location as a visitor and see the sights.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a new home to hang your hat, you can gain a good impression of what it’s like to live in a specific place before committing to it.
In addition to that perk, you receive a few weeks of time off between assignments, allowing you to be a full-time tourist in the city or cities of your choice.
SEE ALSO: Top States for Physical Therapy Jobs
2. Find direction in your career.
During your studies, it’s impossible to try out a wide variety of specializations and healthcare settings.
Yet there’s a big difference between working in inpatient care at a public hospital or giving physical therapy to outpatients at a private pediatric clinic, for example.
As a traveling PT, you have the opportunity to explore different settings and various kinds of physical therapy in-depth before you select one focus area and one employer.
Gaining this type of evolving experience proves invaluable. Not only will it help you narrow down your professional specialty, it will open doors in your career for years to come.
3. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field.
Another benefit of such a varied professional path is the ability to work with a plethora of experienced individuals throughout the country.
When you’re always on the go, it’s also easy to stay ahead of the curve.
Those shaping the future of physical therapy profession are also those seeking motivated PTs for exciting new assignments that require flexibility and adaptability.
As a full time PT, you can learn about new technologies and methods in your field—but whether your employer acquires the necessary equipment or knowledge (by means of training) depends on its budget.
As a traveling PT, you’ll work for multiple employers that all have their own budgets. That means the likelihood of you being exposed to new developments and technologies is much higher.
4. Receive higher pay that reflects actual hours worked.
We all know that a 37-hour work week in healthcare is usually more like a 47-hour one.
And when you enjoy your job and you are being paid well, you’re usually willing to go the extra mile. However, that takes its toll in terms of stress and fatigue.
If you’re wondering, “how much do traveling Physical Therapists make?” you’ll be happy to know this:
As a traveling PT, you earn an hourly wage that’s higher than you would in most full time positions. Plus, you get paid for the actual number of hours you work.
This means you’re in a better position to pay off your student loans, get a mortgage, or simply save your money!
[clickToTweet tweet=”A traveling PT, earns an hourly wage that’s higher than most full time positions. #traveljobs” quote=”A traveling PT, earns an hourly wage that’s higher than most full time positions.”]
5. Reap the rewards of non-taxable perks.
The costs of travel, accommodation, food, and anything else you need because you’re away from your actual residence are all non-taxable.
In most cases, your agency either provides you with housing or offers you a stipend so you can arrange it yourself.
Note that it’s important to keep track of what part of your income is your actual taxable salary and which portion consists of non-taxable reimbursements.
The perks for traveling employees are outstanding. Two main tax breaks make traveling very enticing:
- Travel expenses
- Professional expenses
While on assignment, you can deduct things like airline tickets and rental cars, all costs associated with accommodation and meals (plus tips), the costs of your uniforms, including dry cleaning and laundry costs, any phone, Internet, and computer related expenses and so much more.
6. Enjoy the support of your agency 24/7.
In the best-case scenario, your career is a breeze from your first day as an intern to your last day as a retiree.
However, in real life, you are bound to encounter some challenges along the way.
When you’re a traveling PT, your agency is always available to help you resolve any issues, from paperwork glitches to housing problems.
Your agency will also help you when you need to acquire a new state license. In addition, many agencies provide support when it comes to continued education and earning additional certifications.
This support is only outdone by the fact that the cost of your job search, licensing and many other professional-related fees are tax deductible!
It’s no secret that the future of the physical therapy profession is on an upward trajectory. While this certainly encompasses stationary PTs, a travel Physical Therapist enjoys opportunities that full time employees just don’t get.
Enrich your career and your life with these reasons to travel:
- Explore new places.
- Find direction in your career.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field.
- Receive higher pay that reflects actual hours worked.
- Reap the rewards of non-taxable perks.
- Enjoy the support of your agency 24/7.
Traveling for your profession with the help of an agency offers both comforting stability and exciting adventure. Stay on the cutting edge of your profession with us!
As the future of physical therapy profession evolves, how do you envision your career path?
Share in the comments below!