What is “travel therapy” and how does it differ from “contract therapy”?
A “contractor” is generally a therapist who lives locally to the facility, but is compensated hourly and paid through a staffing agency. A “traveler,” like a contractor, is also paid hourly and paid by an agency, but has arrived from out of town for the duration of the assignment and usually qualifies for a tax-free per-diem to pay for the expenses associated with living out of town while maintaining a residence back home while on assignment. Contractors, because they are local, do not have these additional expenses and are not eligible for per-diem or housing.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of travel/contract positions compared to direct hire placement?
Travel or contract placement can be preferable for a therapist for the following reasons:
- Pay is generally much higher when contracting.
- If you are traveling in a state or city away from your permanent place of residence you may be eligible for tax-free per-diem to cover the costs of your housing and meals while working away from your primary residence.
- Traveling/contracting is also ideal if you are looking to explore new areas of the country for a while.
Advantages of direct hire placement would include the following:
- Opportunities for professional advancement – a direct hire employee will generally be offered promotions long before a contractor.
- Benefits may be better in a direct hire environment, especially in a school setting. Some facilities have excellent benefits; and although the pay is much lower for direct hire employees vs. contracting, therapists with large families may find that the better benefits package outweighs the lower annual salary.
Should I work in a “Travel/Contract” placement as a new grad?
That depends on your unique circumstances and personality.
Here are some of the advantages:
- Switching assignments every 13 weeks, for another year or two, gives you a great variety of experiences to learn from. This experience becomes a continuation of your clinical rotations, only this time without a supervising clinician. Once you find your favorite setting and location, you can settle down and take a permanent placement with confidence.
- Therapists who choose to pursue more full time education, for example in a doctorate program, may have a short time periods that they need to find employment between semesters or programs.
- Therapists who want to quickly pay back student loans may find working in contract/travel placements to be the quickest way to do so.
Some challenges of working as a new grad contract/travel therapist include the following:
- Facilities naturally treat contract/travel therapists differently from their permanent employees. New grads may not find the same care and concern in their relationships with other staff members that they would find as permanent employee.
- Community with other therapists is disrupted every time you move to a new facility.
- Repeatedly learning new documentation and facility protocols can be tiring and stressful.
- Many contract/travel assignments require one year of experience. Basically, new grads that decide to travel are fortunate when they find a facility that will accept them without this experience.
If you’re ready to consider a career in travel therapy, Team Redspot is ready for you. We equip you with the latest job opportunities and timely support to help you prepare for your next great career adventure.
Redspot Healthcare Services represents the next evolution in medical staffing. We match outstanding personnel to the most current employment opportunities backed by cutting-edge resources that make it all go. That’s why our professionals and our clients look to us first for perfect positions and fail-safe support.