Working as a travel Physical Therapist allows one to enjoy a lifestyle that few get to experience, living a vagabond existence, exploring all sorts of new and interesting destinations while learning a lot and making some good money at the same time. In fact, you’ll find the pay offers some of the best in the field.
If you’re an independent type of person who loves to travel, is flexible and enjoys helping others, being a travel physical therapist may be the ideal career for you. Sound intriguing? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Travel Physical Therapist?
You probably already know what a physical therapist is, but we’ll go over it briefly – PTs, are licensed healthcare professionals who help patients restore or improve mobility, and/or decrease the pain that’s associated with it. The therapy can often be successfully employed without expensive surgery and may also lessen the need for long-term prescription use.
Instead of working directly for a facility or physician’s office, a travel PT works with a recruiter at a healthcare travel company who helps set them up on assignments in various locations, typically for 13 weeks at a time. This can include all types of patients as well as PT environments, from hospitals, residential and rehab facilities to a doctor’s office or even home health.
The Benefits of Being a Travel Physical Therapist
There are many benefits that come with being a travel physical therapist, from the opportunity to advance your career to experiencing new places and meeting new people. As a travel PT, you’ll also earn a higher salary and get free private housing, free travel, insurance, direct payroll deposit, and in many cases, your immunizations and licensure will be covered too.
How Much Does a Travel Physical Therapist Make?
Just like most jobs, salaries for travel physical therapists vary significantly according to the location. It can vary by as much as nearly 50% from one state to the next. For example, in South Dakota, annual salaries start at about $52,023, while the annual salary in California ranges from $75,013. In general, popular U.S. vacation destinations pay quite well. Enjoy the palm-lined beaches of Hawaii and make around $109,980 a year, or the wilderness of Alaska, and you can make $130,744 per year. California offers a travel PT an annual salary of $124,696.
When considering the cost of living compared to salary, the best-paying travel positions are generally found in Iowa and Minnesota.
Overall, a travel physical therapist can expect a salary that ranges from 50 to 100% higher than the average rate for a traditional PT job.
Can New Grad Physical Therapists Become Traveling PTs?
Despite what you might have heard, you CAN travel as a new grad. In fact, there are many travel opportunities for physical therapist new grads – though there are pros and cons of accepting such as position.
As a new grad PT in a traditional job, you’ll have a mentor for a long period of time, but when you work as a PT traveler, you’ll get less time with your mentor (or mentors), so you may need to seek guidance elsewhere. Still, if you love to travel, aren’t concerned about building long term rapport with a mentor, and you want to earn the best possible salary, then becoming a traveling physical therapist may be the perfect career choice for you.
How Do Physical Therapists Find Travel Jobs?
Just like most healthcare travel jobs, PT travel jobs can be found through travel staffing companies. One way to find the best travel job is to research travel staffing agencies individually to determine whether they have travel assignments that meet your needs and interests. Of course, the downside is that this can be incredibly time consuming as there are hundreds of travel staffing companies out there.
Another option for landing the right PT travel job is to search job boards. A keyword and location search is usually all it takes to return results that match your preferences. The downside to searching job boards is that you’ll most often find that the job you are interested in is already filled. PT travel jobs tend to get filled quickly, which results in outdated job information on the Internet.
The simplest approach to finding a PT travel job and getting matched with companies that can meet your needs and interests is to use our free service for Physical Therapists. By submitting a brief online form, we’ll match your preferences with the industry leading travel staffing companies. You’ll no longer worry about jobs being outdated as you’ll gain access to unadvertised travel jobs and you’ll save time on researching companies. Start here!