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.
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Pros and Cons of a Contract Physical Therapist
- 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 Physical Therapist
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.
How Much Do Contract Physical Therapists Make?
So, 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. 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 Contract Physical Therapists?
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 Contract Physical Therapists
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.
What Type of Physical Therapist Gets Paid the Most?
So, what type of physical therapist gets paid the most? A wonderful career awaits you as a physical therapist. It is one of the best paid in the country. The high demand for physical therapists makes it a great career path. Positions that pay the highest as a PT are listed below to help you make a decision on which one you might like to pursue.
The Highest Paid Physical Therapist Position
The most lucrative position in the physical therapy field is being a sports medicine specialist. Working with athletes can be very rewarding as well. You might work at a private clinic or perhaps at an athletic institution such as with a college or a professional sports team. You will treat injuries that happen in the sport, but you would also deliver preventative care so any sports injuries could be avoided. The salary is around $76,600 yearly.
Two Other of the Highest Paid Specialties per Online Sources
The next two highest paid specialties for a physical therapist are the cardiovascular or pulmonary specialty and the geriatric specialty.
The cardiovascular/pulmonary specialist treats patients who have had heart or lung surgery. They work to make the lungs and heart more stable. They may work with people who have chronic heart disease, hypertension or bronchitis. Salary for this position is around $76,000 per year.
The geriatric specialist works with older patients. The elderly get more health issues than others and often need rehabilitation for knee or hip surgery. The geriatric specialist can also help older patients with arthritis and osteoporosis. Exercises can be adapted for the activities that commonly confront the elderly in daily living. The salary is around $76,000 a year.
Two More Very High Paying Jobs as a Physical Therapist
Two other specialties that offer high salaries are the neurologic and pediatric fields.
The neurologic specialty focuses on the treatment of people who have traumatic brain injury and other similar conditions. The physical therapist has to be able to assess those with issues like that as well as treat them. Salary is around $74,000 yearly.
For those working in pediatrics, the patients served are adolescents and babies. Health conditions of this age group are what will be focused on, and they may or may not be chronic conditions. The salary for this specialty ranges around $73,000 per year.
You have an outline of the best paying jobs for a physical therapist and can now look at any that interest you.
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