Ask James

Hey everyone. It’s hit that time of year where April comes around and I realize I haven’t posted in 3 months. Don’t worry, I haven’t been working too hard, just skiing too much. 🙂

I thought one quick way to get back in the blog-habit is to post a recent email conversation I had with a new traveler. I think he was asking the right questions and made the right decisions in the end. Maybe our conversation can help someone else out there who is working on getting into travel PT.

Happy reading and happy travels! I’ll write again soon.

 

New Traveler: My wife and I have ventured out to begin traveling therapy. We left sunny SC and drove 2800 miles to cloudy OR last week. My wife had a for sure job but my opportunity fell through somewhere around Wyoming.

But now I have been contacted by a SNF and they want to offer me a contract directly.

They asked me to name a price and I asked to have time to think it over a while.

I have a little idea of what to say because I know what the travel company is paying my wife. But before I respond to them I am hoping to get some advice from y’all.

Here are my details: This will be my first job; I graduated in December. It’s going to be a 6 month contract. I have no experience in a SNF but I had 2 clinical rotations in outpatient (1 manual focused), 1 acute rotation, and 1 inpatient rotation.

One traveling company recruiter told me I should make 1400 dollars a week if they didn’t cover housing or insurance. I have both through my wife’s job.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

HoboHealth: Awesome to hear you guys are taking the plunge and hitting the road!!!

I have two thoughts. If the SNF job sounds like something you wouldn’t mind doing, then go for it. But if you’d rather be doing something else, then I think holding out another week or two may yield some good results if you’ve been seeing other opportunities in the area come and go. So, make that decision first… Is this really an assignment that’ll be ok for you? (Also, since you haven’t done SNF before, are there other PTs to help guide you? …the more the better.) Do you need another recruiter?

My 2nd thought is that $1400 sounds really low to me. I know therapists that made about $1500 wkly after taxes through an agency on their first assignment after only 6 months PT experience. Figure on top of that (or whatever your wife is making) that the agency is charging another $10-$20 an hour. That’s a lot of bargaining room for you. I would say as a new grad doing an independent contract $1600 is a very acceptable starting place for take home ($40/hr). I think you should aim higher $2000 ($50/hr)? I’ve heard of independent home health contracts going as high as $70/hr. Depends how ballsy you’re feeling…. Doesn’t hurt to ask. Also, just make sure you’re getting what perks and reimbursements you can.

Here’s some links in case you haven’t read them already (the second is some sample independent contracts):
The Job Search
Independent Contracts

New TravelerGonna give you a quick update. I went in for the interview on Friday and loved the facility as well as the other PTs and PTAs. I decided that it would be a great first job for me as a PT. The managers do a lot of the extra stuff like billing, etc so it will allow me to concentrate on solidifying my eval and treatment skills. As you know it’s quite different being an actual PT than a PT student. No one looking over your shoulder and checking behind you.

It is a unique situation. The clinic is considered an outpatient clinic because it is in a retirement village and serves an independent living community as well as a SNF so I will see a wide variety of patients.

The pay is good. It’s right around what we were discussing. I feel like it’s excellent for a new grad. $42 an hour initially and $48 after a month because I will decline the benefits. I am insured through my wife’s job.

Thanks for sharing the link as well. I used some of the pointers from your blog when negotiating the contract. The whole process went pretty smooth. My wife and I are planning to stay in Oregon for 6 months and then move on. We want to hit up Alaska in the next year. Maybe y’all will still be there and we can get a beer.

Thanks for the help. Hope to stay in touch.

HoboHealth: Thanks for the update. Sounds like a great gig and like you made some good decisions over the past few days!

Good luck and keep in touch when you start working towards AK!

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