Top 6 Questions About Becoming a Travel Therapist


Recruiter Explains It All – The Top Questions About Becoming a Travel Therapist


What is a Travel Therapist?

A Travel Therapist is a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist or Allied HCP that works on a contract job that is typically 13 weeks long, often with the possibility to extend. They have a tax home (their permanent residence) where they are paying rent, and while on the contract assignment they have temporary housing (airbnb, room for rent, short term lease apartment) where they also pay rent. If the temporary housing is an unreasonable commuting distance away from their tax home, they are considered a “Travel Therapist” while working under contract.


Do I get free housing or additional money for housing?

A Travel Therapist receives a majority portion of their pay as a tax-free housing and meals & incidental stipend. This allows your take home pay (after-tax) to be substantially higher, which is designed to offset the cost of duplicate expenses a Travel Therapist incurs, such as rent. For example, if there is a $45/hr offer, and you qualify as a Traveler, your pay will be broken down into $20 as your taxable hourly rate, and the remaining $25/hr, is paid out as the lodging and meals & incidental stipend. In this example of a traveler in CA, he or she is taking home $1,673 more AFTER-TAX per month (or $20,072 after-tax per year) then he or she would as a Staff Therapist getting taxed on the entire $45/hr.


Can I take a contract assignment that is closer than 50 miles to my house?

Yes, but whether or not it would be as a “Travel Therapist” would need to be determined. If the contract is in an area with heavy traffic to the extent that the commute is long enough to require an overnight stay, it would be a travel contract. If not though, it would be considered a local contract and you would receive a single taxable hourly rate, just as a Staff Therapist. This is still a great way to try out different facilities in your local area, and it can potentially lead to a permanent position (this is also true of Per Diem jobs – learn about per diem here).


Can I receive benefits as a Travel Therapist; is it different than an Independent Contractor?

Yes, Travel Therapists are offered the same benefits that internal employees get. You are not an Independent Contractor. Unlike an Independent Contractor you are offered Medical, dental, vision, 401k with employee match, CEU reimbursement, and much more. Also, Independent Contractors are exempt from overtime and not covered under our professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation, unemployment, and more.


Can a newly graduated Therapist Travel?

In fact, if you ask your clinical instructors, a lot of them will advise doing Travel Therapy for a while once you graduate, before settling down somewhere for the next 5yrs+ of your life. We only place new graduates at facilities where there will be other Therapists there to answer questions, and where we know they will be successful. Preferred Healthcare has been staffing Therapists for over 25 years and we know to make a good match. We have resources to ensure your success along the way whether it is talking to a senior member of or our team, or even a fellow Preferred Therapist to guide you through any doubts or concerns.


What states do you staff and what settings do you offer?

We staff ALL 50 states, in ALL settings. Inpatient, outpatient, skilled nursing, acute rehab, home health, schools, etc. We also get government assignments such as the VA (Veterans Affairs), state prisons, naval hospitals, etc. PRO TIP: Many government facilities (such as the VA) are Federally regulated, so they’re exempt from state licensure requirements – that means that you can travel and work in those facilities under any state license!  If you’re still in school, do yourself a favor and read 4 Reasons to Consider Clinical Rotations at the VA


Additional travel therapy resources:

Everything You Need to Know About the PT Licensure Compact

The Secret to Landing the Perfect Travel Therapy Job

Reasons to Consider Working Per Diem and How to Find a Good Agency

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