Healthcare Insider Blog

DPT Career Spotlight: Travel Physical Therapist

  • Healthcare Alvernia

There are countless ways Alvernia Doctor of Physical Therapy students can use their degree after graduation. In this blog post we’re going to spotlight one career possibility — travel physical therapist.

Travel PTs differ from traditional PTs in the sense that rather than being attached to a specific practice or facility, they travel on assignment, moving to different locations across the country for the duration of their assignment.

Travel PTs are paid hourly and often qualify for tax-free per-diem to cover housing/living expenses associated with living out of town while maintaining a residence back home while on assignment. An article by PT Progress sites the APTA 2013 Median Income Summary Report, stating that the salary of a travel therapist can be anywhere between 1.5 to 2 times greater than that of the average PT.

Just like any career, working as a travel physical therapist has its ups and downs. Here are a few:


  1. Generally receive a much higher pay.
  2. Constantly moving from assignment to assignment will give you a great variety of experience, as well as allow you to sample different work environments, management systems and locations to help determine what your preferences are.
  3. Opportunity to do some traveling and see more of the country.


  1. Opportunities for advancement are more difficult, being as permanent, direct-hire employees will generally be offered promotions long before a traveling PT.
  2. It is difficult to feel rooted — constantly having to build camaraderie with new coworkers and adjusting to new towns and environments because of short assignments.
  3. Repeatedly learning new systems, new documentation and facility protocols.

In a My PT Solutions blog post, DPT Justin Johnson shares his first hand experience and best practices when it comes to obtaining licenses as a travel PT. He also includes resources to get started for DPT students and current practicing professionals interested in this career path.

To learn more about a career as a travel PT, My PT Solutions provides FAQs on the subject, as well as addresses and answers common concerns about working this type of job.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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