January 5, 2024
Traveling Physical Therapy: An Adventurous Career
Traveling physical therapy (travel PT) is a unique and rewarding career path that combines your passion for helping others with a love of adventure.
As a travel PT, you'll trade in the traditional clinic setting for a variety of healthcare environments across the country, experiencing new places while making a positive impact on patients' lives.
What is a Traveling Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists assess and treat individuals with physical impairments or disabilities. Travel PTs take this a step further by providing their expertise on a temporary basis, typically filling in for staff at hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and skilled nursing facilities facing staffing shortages. This allows you to gain diverse clinical experience, broaden your skill set, and explore new regions, all while earning a competitive salary.
Travel Physical Therapist Salary
Travel PTs generally earn more than their traditionally employed counterparts. According to ZipRecruiter, the average travel PT salary in the US is $104,500 per year, with some experienced professionals making upwards of $150,000.
This information aligns with findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows a median annual wage for physical therapists in the US as $91,550, with travel PTs often earning 15-20% more.
Why Choose Traveling Physical Therapy?
The appeal of travel PT goes beyond the financial benefits, although the earning potential is undeniable. Here are some of the key reasons why this career path might be the perfect fit for you:
Streamlined Workflow with EMR and Telehealth Software
Gone are the days of mountains of paperwork and clunky scheduling systems. Today, many travel PT agencies and healthcare facilities utilize Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and telemedicine software like PtEverywhere. These intuitive platforms allow you to efficiently document patient progress, manage appointments, and even conduct therapy sessions remotely.
No more lugging around heavy charts or struggling with archaic scheduling systems. EMR and telehealth tools boost your productivity, saving you valuable time and energy to focus on what matters most - your patients.
Adventure and Flexibility
Travel PT jobs offer an escape from the monotony of a traditional clinic setting. You'll get to experience new cities, cultures, and landscapes while expanding your professional network. Contracts typically last 13 weeks, giving you ample time to explore your surroundings before embarking on your next adventure.
Enhanced Flexibility and Connectivity
Teletherapy capabilities within certain EMR software programs like PtEverywhere open up a world of possibilities for both you and your patients. Imagine providing high-quality care to patients in remote locations or those unable to visit a physical clinic. This flexibility expands your reach, enhances patient access, and allows you to maintain continuity of care even while transitioning between assignments.
Moreover, these platforms often facilitate secure communication with colleagues and healthcare teams, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing regardless of your physical location.
Diverse Patient Population
As a travel PT, you'll encounter a wider range of patients than you would in a fixed clinic. This exposes you to different conditions, treatment approaches, and cultural backgrounds, keeping your work challenging and enriching.
Skill Development and Specialization
Traveling physical therapy allows you to specialize in areas that interest you. You can choose assignments in specific settings, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or sports rehabilitation, honing your skills and becoming an expert in your chosen field.
How to Become a Traveling Physical Therapist
If you're interested in embarking on a career in traveling physical therapy, here are the essential steps to take:
- Earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Degree: This is the foundational requirement for practicing physical therapy in the US. DPT programs typically take three years to complete and involve rigorous coursework, clinical internships, and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
- Obtain state licensure: Once you've earned your DPT degree, you'll need to obtain a license to practice in each state where you wish to work as a travel PT.
- Gain experience: While not always mandatory, having some experience as a traditional physical therapist can make you a more competitive candidate for travel PT assignments. This experience allows you to refine your clinical skills and build a strong professional network.
- Connect with travel PT agencies: Numerous agencies specialize in placing qualified physical therapists in travel assignments. Research reputable agencies, compare their terms and benefits, and choose one that aligns with your career goals and desired locations.
- Master Key Technology: Before hitting the road, invest in becoming proficient in essential travel PT software like PtEverywhere. Familiarize yourself with its features, practice documentation and communication tools, and explore its teletherapy capabilities. Mastering these skills will boost your confidence, impress healthcare facilities, and equip you for a smooth transition into your first travel assignment.
Making the Most of Your Traveling PT Journey
If you're willing to embrace the challenges and leverage the numerous benefits, traveling physical therapy can be an incredibly rewarding career choice. Here are some tips for success:
Network actively: Build relationships with colleagues, healthcare staff, and agency representatives to secure future assignments and gain valuable insights.
Stay organized and adaptable: Be prepared to manage your finances, housing arrangements, and travel logistics efficiently. Embrace the unexpected and adapt to new environments with a positive attitude.
Maintain a healthy work-life balance: While travel PT offers exciting opportunities, prioritize your well-being. Schedule time for relaxation, exploration, and connecting with loved ones to avoid burnout.
Challenges of Traveling Physical Therapy
Beyond the Glitz While travel PT offers a plethora of advantages, it's important to acknowledge the challenges as well. Here are some factors to consider:
Job Security: Travel PT contracts can be terminated early, and finding new assignments may require flexibility and adaptability.
Housing and Healthcare: Travel PTs are responsible for securing their own housing and often need to purchase their own health insurance.
Social Isolation: Being on the road can be isolating at times, especially for those who value close-knit communities.
Sharpen Your Tech Edge: Master EMR and Telehealth Tools
In today's tech-driven healthcare landscape, proficiency in EMR and telehealth software like PtEverywhere is a game-changer for travel PTs. Imagine arriving at your new assignment confident and prepared, knowing you can navigate documentation, billing, and even conduct virtual sessions with ease. Here's how mastering these tools boosts your success:
- Impress Potential Employers: Highlight your EMR and telehealth skills on your resume and during interviews. Agencies and healthcare facilities increasingly seek tech-savvy PTs who can hit the ground running.
- Become a Workflow Rockstar: Streamline your daily tasks with PtEverywhere's intuitive interface. Charting, billing, and communication become effortless, freeing up your time for what matters most - patient care.
- Expand Your Reach: Teletherapy opens doors to patients in remote locations or those with limited mobility. Enhance patient access and continuity of care, making your expertise truly impactful.
Investing time in mastering EMR and telehealth tools like PtEverywhere is an investment in your future as a travel PT. It's a skill that sets you apart, empowers your efficiency, and allows you to make a bigger impact on patients' lives. So, before hitting the road, dedicate some time to learning these valuable tools and watch your travel PT journey flourish with confidence and ease.
Final Thoughts: Embrace the Adventure, Elevate Your Care
Traveling physical therapy isn't just a career - it's a thrilling adventure where you combine your passion for healing with wanderlust. You'll explore new landscapes, hone your skills in diverse settings, and make a tangible impact on countless lives.
While adaptability and planning are key, the rewards - financial freedom, personal growth, and enriching experiences - are truly boundless. If you're a licensed PT with a restless spirit and a helping heart, unleash your potential with traveling PT.
Ready to write your own story? Explore how PtEverywhere can equip you with the tools and support to navigate your journey with ease and efficiency.