What should travel physical therapists be paid?

Just starting out as a traveler? Traveling questions or experiences to share? Here's the place.
Robertso010
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What should travel physical therapists be paid?

Unread post by Robertso010 » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:27 pm

I am a new grad and I am not certain what I should expect these companies to offer. I feel I was "low balled" a few times at the $20/ hour range. So my questions are:
1) what should a new grad expect hourly?
2) what should your pay increase look like with positive work experience?
3) what benefits should you expect, ie. housing weekly travel costs, can you expect car rental from companies, should these companies offer health insurance
4) how much money should these benefits offer

Hobohealth
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Hobohealth » Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:30 am

I'll give you my quick answer here, but link to the two blogs below for a more thorough answer. The first link is specific to new grad pay, the second is just about pay in general.

And I would love the hear what other travel PTs are making, but I have talked with a few traveler friends about their rates over the years and I think my expectations of pay are pretty on-point.

Just don't think of hourly pay, think of the total package - per diem, housing stipend, all of that (typically health benefits are very good from agencies). Weekly take home after taxes shouldn't be below $1500/wk. As you gain experience, you might start getting contracts up to $1700 and $1800 per week. And, once you've got some experience, you can go searching for the assignments that really pay out around the $2000/wk range - but typically these assignments are in very rural places or there's some other reason they are willing to pay that much. Always negotiate, the pay system is more flexible than some recruiters may let on at first.

Anyways, the more complete answer to your questions is within the links below, check them out. And if anyone is willing to share what they make on assignments, I'd love to hear it!

http://hobohealth.com/wordpress/2013/04/05/ask-james/
http://hobohealth.com/wordpress/2014/06 ... -you-paid/

-James

Robertso010
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Robertso010 » Tue Aug 11, 2015 3:58 pm

I Wanted to pass this website along. Recruiters are still low balling the crap out of me. Some one told $42/hour with 30 years experience was then best she has ever placed. I think I have less negotiation as a new grad but I feel some recruiters will lie to you. Its definitely a learning experience.

Best of luck to all!

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291123.htm#nat

Hobohealth
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Hobohealth » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:50 am

You're right. That recruiter is BS'ing you... big time. Dump her.

Thanks for sharing the mean wages link.
....buuut, don't let the mean wages skew your expectations too high either. Remember, that includes managers in hospitals and larger corporate outpatient chains that are very comfortably making 6-figures in most parts of the country.

When I graduated in 2006, good new grad pay was $50,000/year in New England - pretty good out of school. I took $52,000 and was psyched. Myself and many of my classmates were single handedly raising the starting-level pay in the practices we were taking jobs with by sticking to our $50,000 mark. A friend passed up a $40,000/yr offer from a major sports clinic in Boston, another turned down an offer of $35,000 at a big ortho/sports PT chain in the mountains of Colorado. Arizona jobs were offering more like $65,000. I suspect these figures have all improved $5,000 - $10,000, but the mountains of Colorado remain notoriously low-paying, just ridiculous.

So, yes, stop screwing around with that recruiter, but also moderate the expectations - I've seen estimates that say with around 10 years of experience you should be making median income in PT.

Please keep us all updated with what you do an where you go.

James

demolagi
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by demolagi » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:06 pm

Hey Roberts,

So I am in the same boat as you and so I don't necessarily know how much we will be making after a few assignments. However I agree with James that it usually varies with setting and it's also more of a total compensation thing. I know one of my recruiters mentioned that I might get paid less hourly however, if I took the contract with him, I would have a better housing and food stipend that would make up for it. However, with the contract I just received I ended up getting $22.50 a hour with a pay package of $330 and housing stipend of $420 (this is with a guaranteed 40 hours a week). After doing some quick calculations I think that gets me right around what James said we should he able to make as new grads. I hope this helps!

-Demo

Robertso010
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:57 am

Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Robertso010 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:20 am

To all,

I have had some interesting experiences and honestly I have dumped several recruiters. I just want an honest person who knows how to handle business. In my experience recruiters have been giving me false information in regards to benefits, pay, and stipend information. My girlfriend is also a PT and we were able to come at the recruiters from two different angles. Both receiving different information at times.
A recruiter I "so far trust" has told be to be careful with the low balling hourly and high stipend as the IRS can investigate tax fraud in the future. In the end its your butt on the line as usual so I have been trying to steer clear of these rates the best I can (any input on this would be greatly appreciated).

Nonetheless, I have a story to tell, for advice. I was offered a position in a single PT setting with 3+ PTA's. I knew this was a daunting task especially without another PT to bounce ideas off of. I was offered a $1,500 weekly package with 40 hours guaranteed. Although good money to start I did not want to find myself in any trouble given my responsibility over 3 or more pta's where I have only delegated to 2 at most. Money is important but experience is equally important at this stage in my career. After my decline another offer was shot back my way with an extra $100 before lunch was over (that's within 30 minutes). This goes to show that there was wiggle room on my first offer and likely even more than that.

I have a friend in IT recruiting and he explained the business model to me. What ever the weekly package is they make money off the top. Hypothetically (in previous story above) the package could have been $2,000 and they pitched to me $1,500. The company makes $500/week and the recruiters get a % of that. Granted this is a business and especially starting out we rely on these recruiters. I think this can be a great relationship but new PTs not knowing much will get swindled. Be careful, be smart, and get EVERYTHING in writing.


roberts

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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Hobohealth » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:36 pm

Great post Roberts. Thanks for sharing - I recently clarified with my tax guy about the too much tax free pay, because I had been told that in the past as well. He said it was much more of a red flag for the recruiting agency, not so much for us - semantics.

3 PTAs sounds like a rough deal for even the most experienced PT, and a rough deal for the patients if I'm being completely honest. Good on you to recognize the difficulty with that situation, and to even find out that info.

Always ask who else is on staff!

I'm curious what setting this is in?

tweetytina3
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by tweetytina3 » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:31 pm

I've been a PT for 2.5 years and traveling for almost 1 year, going into starting my 3rd assignment. I thought I was making good money until coming here and seeing posts that we should be making $1500+ a week from assignments. Now I feel like I've been "jipped" because after taxes I've never gotten that for 40 hours; but I've also never thought to negotiate either. So, 2 questions, should I be looking for another recruiter/company, or is that acceptable given my experience?
Alos, If I am taking the housing provided by my company, what then should I expect as my total pay package since I no longer receive that stipend?

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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Hobohealth » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:28 pm

Tina, tough to say if you are getting jipped. If you are talking about packages where they are housing you, then you may be doing fine. I mean the $1500-$1600 bottom line (preferably higher) as a starting point if you are taking the housing stipend and finding your own housing (which I think you usually walk away with more money if you find your own housing). It's tough to translate a package with housing to a package with housing stipend, because housing costs vary so much by location - if they are putting you up, be assured that money is coming out of what you otherwise would be paid.

There are certain locations where pay will be lower (Hawaii and other high-desirability places). Also, some of the giant recruiting agencies are stingier with their money. I would do two things: See if you can negotiate a little more money and also start looking with a second company so you have some sort of comparison.

Good luck!

James

loislane
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Re: What should we be paid?/Sheer Amusement

Unread post by loislane » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:21 am

OK, so everybody wants to sure they are getting a good, fair deal out there, so I will share...

A little background on me:
I am a COTA with 1.5 yrs experience in a SNF and homehealth. I was an "older"" student past 30 when I entered the profession with a long list of jobs with management, 2 small businesses and a B.S. in another area of study. I was the top of my class and wanted to go for my OTR instead of OTA, but ahhh, my marriage came first and I don't regret the decision - maybe the OTR will come later. I had 3 companies bidding for me for my first non-traveling job. All 3 were SNFs in hard to staff areas with bids coming in at $23, $25 and $27 hourly with full benefits. Thankfully the location with $27 was also the best and I went with it...they also offered a $3k sign on to help me move, free unlimited CEUs and other perks. Not too long ago said company lost the contract with the SNF and I have not been happy with the incoming company that offered me prn at $28/hr for up 32 hrs/week. With no benefits, why stay when the call of travel is there, and more money! So the search began...looking on indeed, monster, simply hired, OTjobs, etc and a plethora of travel websites. I started applying, but continued researching. I then came across this website and other blogs that were by seasoned travelers that helped me know what to look for, and so the negotiations and conversations began with staffing companies. For your sheer amusement (you might laugh, or cry!) I'll share with you an exchange I had via email this week with a recruiter and try to protect her identity. Enjoy!

Hi "COTA",

Below is the pay package information for the Travel COTA position you and I discussed today near "podunkville/flatlands with no view" CO.

Taxable hourly wage: $15.00
Hourly Housing Stipend (non-taxable): $8.30
Hourly Meal Stipend (non-taxable): $6.37
Total Hourly Compensation: $29.67
$350 travel reimbursement included
Health/dental/vision/prescription drug coverage included

This is a full time, 13 week assignment in a Skilled Nursing Facility.

Would you like me to go ahead and submit you to this position?


“Also the best compliment to receive is a referral”- ask about our referral bonus program.

All the Best,
Miss Recruiter
Recruiting Manager

SERIOUSLY?! WHAT A JOKE! My response...

Hi Miss Recruiter,

Yikes!

I just turned down a $28.50 hourly position this morning with full health benefits (no stipend). This position would not meet my needs at all. I am currently making $27 hourly FT with $50/month in health coverage while living in my own house with many other benefits such as FREE CEUs, phone discounts, etc.

Is there anything better out there? I am traveling for the money, not the adventure right now (maybe that will change).

Thanks for the info - this is the kind of thing I want to know.

COTA

Who on earth would take this position?! The whole point of the stipend is to pay for a 2nd residence/expensive food because there is not a full kitchen, and I already have a house to pay for. COTA's teach budgeting and home economic principles in nearly every setting. I already spend 50% of my current budget on my house, heat, utilities, improvements, insurance, etc, why on earth would I spend the 2nd half of the budget on a 2nd residence??? There would be nothing left for education, loans, vacation, gifts, CARS, life...

I'm not looking to lose my house, cars, husband, or anything else - other than this recruiter.

FYI- the per diem revalues every 3 years per the gsa.gov website. It just revalued in OCTOBER 2016. If you are looking a contract right now - make sure they are aware of the new rate and don't get ripped off! standard is now $91 house and $51 meals, some areas higher. You can run your location on the websites to find out the correct rate.

Thank you James for some good sources of other companies I can go to! I guess this might qualify for a guest blog at this length, but I hope it was helpful!

Hobohealth
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Re: What should we be paid?

Unread post by Hobohealth » Wed Oct 26, 2016 7:07 pm

Thanks so much for sharing. Always good to have real life examples!!!

"Guest blog" - yup, definitely longer than most of my blogs! haha!

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