How does pay work for travel therapy?

March 22nd, 2024 7 Min read How does pay work for travel therapy? Blog

Working as a travel therapist is a unique way to see the world, help new communities, and earn some extra income. Here’s everything you need to know about how travel therapy pay works.

What is the average pay for travel therapy?

Many factors go into pay for travel assignments, including location, experience, position, and specialty. In general, occupational, speech, and physical therapists can earn anywhere from $23 to $70 an hour on a travel assignment, whereas OT and PT assistants typically earn $15 to $30 an hour. This is in addition to the tax-free housing stipend and per diem paid out daily for meals and incidentals.

What affects how much travel therapists earn?

So, what factors affect how much a travel therapist is paid? In addition to the position and the therapist’s level of experience, these three factors often play a role:

  • Geographical location. Areas with a higher cost of living will often offer a higher pay rate.
  • Type of facility. For example, a hospital typically pays more than a skilled nursing facility (for travel assignments).
  • Timing. Seasons of high demand in a specific area can increase pay. Areas like Martha’s Vineyard have a high demand in the summer — not only are more people in town to enjoy the weather, but they’re also out adventuring and getting hurt, so the need for therapists is particularly high. However, that demand may decrease in the winter.
Graphic listing factors that affect travel therapy pay

Do travel therapists earn more than non-travelers?

They can! When physical therapist Jasmine Van Dyke started her career, she quickly realized that the therapy jobs in her home state wouldn’t pay enough to put a dent in her student loans. Jasmine explored travel therapy and discovered that it often pays more than non-travel jobs. She was able to pay off her loans much faster than she expected.

“Traveling has allowed me to pay off a ton of money every month. I finished paying off my loans — over six figures in loans — in just over five years,” she says.

Why should travel therapists consider working with an agency?

A staffing agency has access to a large number of job openings and can find one that matches each therapist’s needs, whether those are based on schedule flexibility, location, or experience. In addition, agencies may provide assistance with housing, insurance, paperwork, and more.

Graphic that states: A staffing agency like CompHealth has access to a large number of job openings and can find one that matches your needs.

They can also help with licensing, which is particularly beneficial. Licensing can be a cumbersome and expensive process for travel therapists. When therapists work with CompHealth, the agency takes care of processing and paying for licensing upfront. Other agencies may require therapists to request reimbursements.

“CompHealth is different from some of the other travel companies, and it comes back to integrity,” says occupational therapist Jackie Clark. “They do what they say they’re going to do. If they’re going to check up on something, they check up on it. The compensation, insurance, medical benefits — all those things are also outstanding,” Jackie said.

What does the agency pay for?

In addition to an hourly wage, the staffing agency will typically pay for housing and travel. Most travelers prefer to receive a stipend and coordinate their own housing, but CompHealth also has a housing department to help travel therapists find and organize housing on their behalf if they prefer.

In addition, CompHealth pays for any necessary licensing, paperwork, and malpractice insurance.

Graphic listing what a staffing agency pays for when travel therapists are on assignment

Do travel therapists receive benefits?

Travel therapists are considered W-2 employees of CompHealth and receive benefits. Coverage begins on the first day of an assignment and can be extended for up to 31 days between assignments. Travel therapists can sign up for 401(k) contributions with a match; medical, dental, and vision insurance; and optional extras, such as pet insurance.

Go deeper: All about CompHealth’s benefits for travelers

What does the agency not pay for? 

Many therapists choose to bring their families and pets when traveling, but CompHealth doesn’t cover any additional costs associated with them. However, CompHealth’s housing department can help find a spot that fits everyone and is pet-friendly if needed.

In addition, travel therapists will likely want to use their free time to explore the area or participate in nearby activities or entertainment. This is a great perk of working travel therapy jobs, but CompHealth doesn’t reimburse travel-related costs like rental cars, meals, and hotels.

When and how are travel therapists paid?

Therapists working with CompHealth will enter their time via the MyCompHealth digital portal, and paychecks are deposited into their bank accounts weekly.

How does the staffing agency make money?

Healthcare facilities contract with staffing agencies like CompHealth when they need to fill an open therapy position. Then, the agency finds the right therapist for the job and gets them set up with moving, licensing, and paperwork.

When therapists start working, they submit their hours to the agency, which pays them directly. Then, the agency bills the healthcare facility for that work.

CompHealth can help you find a travel therapy assignment. Call us at 800.453.3030 or look at today’s travel therapy jobs.



Kathleen Stone

Kathleen Stone is a writer for CompHealth from Salt Lake City, Utah. In her spare time, she loves going to the desert, trying new foods and being with family.

See all articles from this author