Questions

Just starting out as a traveler? Traveling questions or experiences to share? Here's the place.
murphy
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:13 pm

Questions

Unread post by murphy » Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:20 pm

Hello Everyone.

I have now been a PT in an outpatient sports medicine clinic for 2 years. I am just finishing an Ortho Residency and am ready to take the leap into traveling. My soon to be wife (November 8th!) and I will be exploring what the world has to offer. I have read a lot of posts on this website, but still am unsure of how this all works. I would appreciate someone with experience reaching out to lend some sound advice.

Hobohealth
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Re: Questions

Unread post by Hobohealth » Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:09 am

Murphy,

Sorry I haven't replied sooner!

You have an advantage coming from a couple years in Ortho, that experience will let you grab some private practice and other outpatient jobs that aren't necessarily available to just anybody!

Here is a link I always refer people to about getting started with traveling: http://hobohealth.com/wordpress/faq/

The real skin and bones of travel is that you call a staffing agency, tell them where you want to go and what settings you would like to work in, and they start looking for jobs for you. When they find jobs that match your interests, an interview will be arranged and you will speak with the clinic director to see if it is a job that fits. Once you two have spoken, you'll each return to the staffing agency to hash out the details. ....that's obviously a very simplified version, but that's how it should work.

I'm sure you have more specific questions, let's hash it out here. Feel free to write back with whatever else you're wondering. I'm on the road over the next few days, so it should be a good chance for me to reply quickly.

James

murphy
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Questions

Unread post by murphy » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:19 am

Thanks for the reply! I was curious how I am going to know if I am getting a good deal as far as pay is concerned.

I know that we are given a housing stipend. That money is used to pay all associated housing expenses such as internet, electric, etc?

How many licenses do you keep current? I am in the process of getting licenses in other states, how many should I do at a time? I am leaning more heavily toward working in Ortho and I know that it is going to limit my options, so I want to make sure if there is not opportunities in one state that I have others to fall back on.

Is there a particular company that has fulfilled all of your expectations? I know I will be working with a few at a time to land the jobs, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time and advice,
Brian

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Re: Questions

Unread post by Hobohealth » Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:19 am

Brian,

Pay is always a tough one to know what you could/should be making. Pay rates do vary greatly by region or state and will also vary setting to setting. For instance, I have heard of pay rates in California that are particularly good, especially desireable place like the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii generally pay less in my experience. Home care can be a more lucrative setting than others. I'm working towards a more direct answer, I promise.

With housing reimbursement, per diem, and the other tax free incomes, it's natural to think you'll be paid those on top of normal PT hourly rates, which is just NOT how it works. Typically, you'll have an hourly rate that is much lower than a permanent PT would get, but with the housing and other tax-free's paid on top, you'll typically make modestly more than a perm PT would. Housing stipend is capped by zip code by the IRS, so as long as your housing stipend does not exceed that amount (the recruiter will automatically make sure it's lower than the limit), it is money in your hand, and as I understand it, not at all affected by what you are actually paying for your housing expenses. Here's a blog post from last month that discusses some of this in more detail: http://hobohealth.com/wordpress/2014/06 ... -you-paid/

My more direct answer: I believe around $1600/wk take-home after taxes is appropriate in most cases. Obviously, areas will vary and pay could be a bit more or less than this target. This is where working with 2 or 3 recruiters can help. You can shop them against each other and see what rates they would expect to pay you in particular areas and settings. Much of your pay will be recruiter driven, but DO NEGOTIATE!

I hope this all helps, I'll jump on email and send you a couple recruiter names, I try to keep the site free of recruiter/agency influence. Keep bringing the questions if you've got them!

murphy
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Questions

Unread post by murphy » Fri Sep 19, 2014 6:38 am

James,

I had a question about claiming a permanent residence. I talked to one recruiter who told me that the permanent residence is where I am living at the time I take my first travel job. I am fortunate enough to be living in my parents retirement house, but none of the bills are in my name. I also have not updated my drivers license to the current address where I am living. Is this going to be a problem?

If you could e-mail me your endorsement on certain companies I would appreciate your feedback. My e-mail address is brmurphy83@yahoo.com.

How long have you been traveling? Has your experience been a fruitful?

Thanks,
Brian

Hobohealth
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Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:32 pm
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Re: Questions

Unread post by Hobohealth » Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:07 am

Brian,

I have been traveling with my wife, also a PT, for 7 years. We love it and couldn't imagine having taken any other path. I suspect that in the next few years we may have to consider "settling down" - whatever that means. We've worked in a ton of different cool places and in a lot of different settings. I most love being a traveling therapist for the opportunity to experience new places through working and living in them. The second thing I love most about traveling is getting out and seeing the endless variety of ways PT can be delivered and the many different roles we can take on. Admittedly, some jobs are better than others, but I have learned something from every single assignment I have ever been on.

Oh, the tax question... ask 10 recruiters about a tax home and you'll get 10 different answers. The best answer is this: Talk to a tax professional. There are plenty out there that deal specifically with travelers (if you search "traveling nursing taxes" you'll find some good results.

I find our tax guy very stingy in his interpretation of the tax code, so maybe we're not getting away with as much as we could, but I believe if we were ever audited, we would be in the clear. I believe our tax guy would tell you that the first thing you should do is get your drivers license, bank account, car registration, etc all at the address you will use as a tax home. He would also say that you need to have some sort of financial cost to that tax home (in your case, maybe pay your parents some rent, I've heard of travelers doing that). Basically, the reason we get tax-free stipends is because we are incurring duplicate living costs by working away from home.

Like I said, I believe this interpretation of the tax law is stingy - you'll find people taking far more liberties and interpreting it differently, but don't take my word for it, or a recruiter's word for it, find a tax person, it's so worth it. You could probably call one today and chat with them for free to figure out exactly what you should be doing.

Here's a post from several years ago that may help as well: http://www.hobohealth.com/phpBB3/viewto ... axes#p1922

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