Lets be honest, you didn’t choose a career as a physical therapist to make the big bucks. If money were a driving factor for you, your credentials would probably be MBA, not PT. You have a passion for helping people feel better and getting your patients back to the lifestyles they once enjoyed. You are a honest-to-goodness do-gooder! But even the most selfless do-gooder has to make enough to pay the bills (can we say student loans!)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for a physical therapist in 2015 was $85,790.00. Of course this can change significantly depending on your experience, skill level, location and the type of facility you’re working in. For example, PTs in Nevada on average are pulling down $121,980.00 per year compared to therapists in Montana who can earn as little as $41,440.00. Big differences! But before you start packing your bags and move to Nevada, here are a few other things to keep in mind when contemplating your next job.
Beyond Salary- Other Perks
Maybe you’ve received a job offer from a great new start up practice. Great owner, great staff, but the base salary is just so-so. Before you pass it up don’t forget to ask about other factors that could tip the scales. What does the benefits package look like? Will they pay for your CEU courses? Will they consider a flexible schedule or offer bonuses or profit sharing once the practice hits specific benchmarks? Before passing on a job based solely on salary make sure you ask about all of your other compensation options.
Office Vibe and Culture
Buttoned up Polo’s and khakis or yoga pants and dimmed lights? Every practice has its vibe. A traditional practice will operate predictably and a more progressive group will push the boundaries. You need to understand your personality and what you’re comfortable with and weigh the pros and cons of each.
Roadmap to Success
You wouldn’t walk off into the wilderness without a trail map and you shouldn’t set off to a new job without an idea of where it will take you. Ask about potential career paths and opportunities during the interview process. How long do employees typically stay with the practice, and how long do they hold their same positions? Is the practice growing and are their opportunities to move into a new position with that growth. Make sure this job will put you on a path for your career goals.
Room to Grow
Will this new position allow you to grow professionally and enhance your skills? Larger physical therapy practices may offer more training and development. Conversely a smaller practice may mean more responsibilities and allow you more chances to be part of key decision making. Look for positions that have the best growth potential for your long term goals.
Stability & Reputation
Often now employers are sifting through social media sites trying to get an idea of your virtual life before they hire you. But this is a two way street. You can also turn to the internet to get a better idea of the practice you’re considering. Research news articles, patient and past employee reviews and look for community involvement and overall reputation. Of course you need to consider the source of the information you find online but there’s no harm in taking a good look under the hood before you sign that employment contract.
In the end don’t get me wrong, salary is important when considering a new position but don’t forget to look beyond salary. This will be your home away from home for the foreseeable future and a lot is riding on your decision. Make sure salary is just part of the equation when considering a new position.