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How Much Do Contract Physical Therapists Make?

Looking to enter the field of physical therapy? It is good to get an overview of what a contract physical therapist can make.

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What is a Contract PT?

A contract physical therapist is not an employee of a hospital or clinic. He or she works under contract with various facilities, even traveling from state to state to supply services where needed. When the therapist enters contract employment, he or she is filling temporary staffing needs. One contract may average around 13 weeks, but contracts can be longer or shorter.

What are the Duties of a Contract PT?

A contract physical therapist assists patients who have injuries or specific ailments to recover. Each patient is individual and requires a specific plan for their needs. Contract physical therapists do exams, diagnosis and treatment plans for their patients. Additionally, they can specialize in certain fields such as pediatrics, geriatrics, sports medicine and aquatics.

Average Annual Salary of a Contract PT

The yearly salary for a contract physical therapist ranges from $72,000 to $115,000. The average has been reported to be about $93,700 a year which works out to around $45 an hour, $1800 a week or $7,800 a month. Top earners can make upwards of $130,000 a year. It really depends on skill level and how many years of experience as well as location.

Employee vs Independent Contractor Salaries

Permanent or employee physical therapists usually work as employees in long term care, outpatient facilities, school settings as well as hospitals and clinics. They are on the payroll and have a regular paycheck.

As a contract physical therapist you will make a higher wage – even as much as $20 to $30 more an hour. This is because the employer does not have to pay your health benefits, any unemployment compensation, Medicare taxes or Social Security taxes.

Is It Worth Being a Physical Therapist?

So, is it worth being a physical therapist? If you are looking to become a physical therapist, you are possibly wondering if it is worth the time and effort to become educated and do all that is required to be licensed and start practicing. It’s best to look at all the pros and cons of such a career in order to determine the best course of action. We know that physical therapists are in demand and many hospitals and clinics need your services. But what are some other points to consider?

What Does a PT Do?

A physical therapist works to help patients with ailments or injuries recover effectively. They focus on examinations, diagnosis, and developing a treatment plan. Each person is individual as to their requirements in treatment, and the physical therapist will work out a specific plan for the patient’s needs.

The Pros of Being a PT

With any career, there are pros and cons. The list of pros seems much more inviting than the cons, but it is wise to look at both lists. Here are the pros:

  • Excellent pay – the highest paid physical therapists typically make about $76,000 a year, while others make almost as much. Some can earn as much as $89,000 yearly. Enjoying a comfortable lifestyle isn’t the most important thing to many physical therapists. They like caring for those that need their help.
  • A great balance of work and life – you can choose the type of work you wish to do, setting your own schedule and maintaining the kind of flexibility you require in your life. There are many medical professionals who don’t have that option, so you should take advantage of it.
  • Many kinds of environments – you have a wide choice of environments to work in, such as hospitals, rehab centers, clinics, schools and private practice. You can even work out your career where you can travel, selecting peak seasons in various locales.
  • You maintain your own health – a physical therapist must do a lot of lifting, stretching and other movements which require your health be in good shape. By including a good diet and getting the proper amount of sleep, you stay in good fit condition.
  • Having much medical knowledge – since you have a thorough education to get your license and as you continue your certifications, you accumulate a vast amount of medical information which you will use the rest of your career.

Potential Drawbacks on Being a PT

Of course, any career has its potential drawbacks. Some for a physical therapist include having to spend a lot for school and needing to renew your license every two years. When you work in a hospital environment, it may be more difficult to balance life and work. If you don’t stay fit, it may become very hard to fulfill responsibilities as a PT. In any career, there are pros and cons. It is always wise to look them over yourself and see what you see. A physical therapist is a rewarding job and it is usually well worth the time and effort to become one.

What is a Contract Physical Therapist?

So, what is a contract physical therapist? A contract physical therapist works for someone as an independent contractor, not an employee. They are not staff as such, but work under contract. What is the difference? Below we look at the pros and cons of being both an independent contractor and an employee.

Pros and Cons of Contract PT Salaries

There are a few pros when working as a contract physical therapist. These are:

• Plenty of flexibility in your schedule, less burnout
• Higher hourly rate
• Fewer responsibilities

And of course, the cons:

• You have variable hours so you aren’t guaranteed a certain amount of hours each week
• You have to do your own taxes since an employer isn’t taking out withholding taxes
• Medicare and Social Security tax payments are higher
• No paid time off, no 401(k) assistance, no healthcare

If you need to have a steady paycheck or need the benefits of employment, then a contract physical therapist is not for you. But if you like the flexibility of being your own boss and the higher hourly pay, then it might be just the thing.

Plus and Minus as an Employee PT

As an employee, you have pros and cons to look at as well. The pros are:

  • Steady pay
  • Easy-to-figure withholding taxes with a W-2 sent to you
  • Your employer pays half your Medicare and Social Security taxes
  • Benefits package including low-premium health insurance, 401(k), dental and vision

And then the cons:

  • Schedule is not very flexible
  • Lower hourly rate in pay
  • Additional responsibilities assigned by seniors

It seems that the key points in deciding whether to be a contract physical therapist as opposed to an employee of some clinic or hospital is whether you want the freedom of being your own boss and making better money. It really depends entirely upon you and what you want out of your career. You can always start out as an employee and later embark on the adventure of being an independent contractor.

Lawyer Contract Review

When your physician contract is given a review by an experienced attorney, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the attorney review. Leave it to the experts. If you are in need of a review of an agreement or contract analysis schedule with a Physician Contract Review with Chelle Law today!