Opportunities in Physical Therapy Travel
The more than 200,000 physical therapists in the United States enjoy an abundance of career opportunities, with the profession in high demand. Physical therapy travel assignments offer the chance to explore the country and different practice settings.
“We see positions throughout the U.S. from coast to coast, from large towns and cities to smaller communities,” said Mason Stebbins, a senior recruiting consultant at Club Staffing, an AMN Healthcare company. “Physical therapy is one of the hottest job markets for travelers.”
Stebbins said traveling physical therapists (PTs) often want assignments on one of the coasts or near landmarks in the center of the country. Some are looking for physical therapy jobs that place them near family members or friends, while others want to visit new places or grow professionally.
“Everyone has different motivations,” Stebbins said. “We try to match them as best as possible with the positions that fit their needs.”
Club Staffing works to match qualified candidates with physical therapy jobs, so both travelers and facilities are pleased. In addition to placing physical therapists and physical therapy assistants in short-term assignments, the agency also fills long-term and permanent positions. The company has earned Gold Seal certification from The Joint Commission, something important to employers, said Ashley Franco, senior recruiting manager at Club Staffing.
“Some PTs have been traveling with us for the past seven years,” Franco said. “Our PTs are very professional.”
Positions remain in demand year round. Traveling physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can work in a variety of practice settings — from ambulatory care and home health to
hospitals to rehabilitation facilities and schools — and serve patients from children to older adults.
“Physical therapy travel gives them an opportunity to work in different clinical settings,” Stebbins explained. “They can diversify their experience and figure out what they like and do not like.”
More experienced PTs may want the flexibility of taking a month off to travel while still being able to earn money and continue practicing. Stebbins said recruiters serve as career advisors who can help the PTs achieve their goals.
“We do right by our therapists and put our travelers first,” Stebbins said. “That’s one of our core beliefs. We will be their advocate.”
Demand for traveling physical therapists is not expected to let up any time soon, with the population aging and the need for rehabilitation services growing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates employment of physical therapists will grow by 36 percent from 2012 to 2022.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reports PTs earn a median salary of $85,000 annually. Stebbins said traveling physical therapists can make 25 percent to 30 percent more, with full benefits, while traveling with Club Staffing, including health and dental insurance, reimbursement for licensure fees and a match to retirement accounts.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports physical therapy assistants (PTAs) earn a median of $53,360 annually. Opportunities for these allied professionals also are expected to increase in the years ahead. There are more than 68,000 PTAs licensed in the United States, according to APTA. Employment of PTAs is highest in Texas, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and California, according to the bureau. Franco also considers Maryland a good market for PTAs, but the demand is less than for PTs.
Most Club Staffing contracts last 13 weeks, but some are longer or shorter. School contracts might last a semester or an entire school year. Club Staffing covers travel expenses and provides fully furnished free, private housing, typically in a corporate apartment complex 5 to 10 minutes from the assigned facility.
“The job market is strengthening and improving,” Stebbins said. “We are going to see more and more physical therapy jobs open up.”