The Current Travel Job Outlook for Physical Therapists

Attention: Travel PTs of the world! We have some exciting information to share with you regarding the current job market. Of course, we know how strange and difficult a year this past one has been, with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

Not only has it affected your lives, but also your careers. That’s why we want to shed a little light on the situation, to offer insight into how the PT marker has been affected, and show you where the market is trending now. Hint: It’s going up!

The COVID-19 Pandemic and its Effect on the PT Job Market

When Covid first hit back in March 2020, the travel market, in general, was impacted severely. The countrywide stay-at-home orders caused a number of our clients to lay off contract workers and furlough perm staff—especially in the outpatient setting. Elective procedures temporarily getting paused also limited the number of new patients needing therapy services. On the other side of the coin, fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic led to many clinicians holding off on travel to stay closer to home, searching for more local positions.

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A Strong Job Market Return Gives Allied Travelers Cause for Optimism

With the pandemic getting better overall and COVID cases dropping nationwide, we are starting to see clinicians return to the travel market. So many people were forced to stay at home and abstain from traveling for a major period of time, which in turn has spawned a new wave of clinicians wanting to travel for work. Vaccine rollouts, paired with cities and states loosening their restrictions have played a big factor as well in raising demand. After a long hiatus, elective procedures have also returned to normal, which has driven a higher need for outpatient and inpatient rehab services again—bottom line, the market is solid right now for not only PTs but also many other allied disciplines.

As Demand Returns Across Disciplines, PTs Can Take Advantage

Across the board, demand has risen for travel therapy contractors from each discipline. The highest demand we are seeing currently among disciplines are for PTs and SLPs—with OT demand increasing significantly as well. The settings that are most in-demand for PTs right now are outpatient, skilled nursing, and home health, with California, by far, being the most concentrated with job opportunities.

A Glimpse into the Future of the PT Job Market

As things continue to return to normal around the country, we can see the PT job market continuing to climb steadily this year. The triumphant return of elective procedures has created a high demand for rehab services—so settings like outpatient, rehab, and home health will be the strongest in overall job supply and frequency for PTs around the country.

Advice for PTs to Take Advantage of in the Current Job Market

Our best advice would be to capitalize on this strong market by increasing the number of licensures you have in different states. Since the overall job supply is up right now, it would also be the perfect time to try new settings. More than ever, we are seeing clients be open to training new grads and clinicians who do not have prior experience within a given setting. Additionally, we are seeing clients who are willing to wait for clinician licensure and be more flexible on their start date.

All in all, the landscape for physical therapy is looking bright as we push onward into 2021. As a PT, now is your chance to dive into a robust job market and kickstart your next travel therapy assignment.

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