Paying the therapists you employ the best possible salary can help to guarantee they are happy and more likely to provide quality care to their patients. Attracting and retaining top talent is the goal of every physical therapy facility, but how can you be certain you that you are paying a salary commensurate with the industry in order to attract and retain that caliber of talent?
Salaries fluctuate depending on several factors, some of which are within your control, and others that are not. Once you understand the standards that determine competitive compensation for physical therapists, you will probably begin to see a higher number of qualified candidates applying for your open positions.
The Determining Salary Factors
Most physical therapists don’t start off in their career with the intent to earn millions of dollars but rather to earn a solid living and help others in the process. Physical Therapists are specialized with their skill set and should be compensated accordingly. An entry level physical therapist salary can average between $60,000 – $75,000, depending on the following considerations:
- Location. Where is your facility located? In some cities, there is a big gap between what is considered reasonable pay, and what the pay needs be to compensate for the high cost of living. When your staff is worried about their personal bills and how they will manage daily expenses, their ability to provide excellent care is diminished. Researching the cost of living and average salary ranges in your location is easy with PT Solution’s Salary Wizard.
- Experience. Therapists who have been in the industry for a longer period of time have more knowledge because this is a field where the therapist will learn something new with each patient. Each new case brings new challenges and as time passes, therapists gain a reputation and demand for their services grows due to their increased abilities. This experience usually translates into higher salary expectations.
Certifications and specialties can also lead to a higher wage, although not in every situation. PT Solutions was recently asked to help recruit an experienced Physical Therapist who had specialized training from the Herdman Course in Vestibular Rehabilitation. This employer was offering a starting salary of $100,000 for a therapist with this specialty.
- Setting. Salary expectations vary depending on the type of therapy being provided. Out Patient salaries tend to be slightly lower than Inpatient salaries, because of the laws of supply and demand. Out Patient Rehabilitation Providers have a larger talent pool to choose from, and their lower reimbursement margins force them to try and keep their wages as low as possible. Schools may also pay lower wages or only offer part time hours, but the work/life balance of a work schedule that matches your children’s school schedule often more than compensates up for these differences. In contrast, prison or workers comp settings offer some of the highest wages because therapists who want to work with these populations are in short supply.
- Hourly vs. Salary. Paying hourly overtime quickly eats up any staffing budget, however, when your salaried employees are constantly putting in overtime hours, they can start to become unhappy and stop providing excellent care consistently. Consider the amount of overtime your staff will work and decide if paying salary or hourly would better suit the situation. Ask for input from your therapists if you start to sense some tension in the office and see if you can improve the situation by hiring part time or PRN help to cover the extra hours. If you aren’t sure how long the extra help will be needed, you can hire a temporary employee by using a contract therapist from a staffing agency, like PT Solutions.
For more information on pay rates for physical therapists in Zeeland, MI and around the country, contact PT Solutions. We have knowledgeable recruiting professionals who can explain how to pay qualified candidates and help you attract the top talent that will add value to your facility.
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