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PTA Blog Talk

Therapy Pay Rates

Published August 1, 2013 8:19 PM by Jason Marketti

After negotiating wages for our skilled service, we may run into someone who gets paid more. Or worse, who does less and performs mediocre treatments for the patients we normally see. Maybe having a national standard pay scale could rectify this. I've known therapists who made five dollars more but did less work when progressing patients. I applaud them for their ability to coax that much more out of an employer and their dedication to making the most money with the least amount of work, but I question whether they should be doing what they do with that attitude.

Those who work for a per diem rate generally make more money for the same work full-time employees do. They work for a higher rate and forego benefits and other perks of full-time work. But they still make more per hour for doing the same work as a full-time employee. I have also seen a discrepancy in the per diem rate. Sometimes this will fluctuate by 10 dollars depending on the solvency of the company at the time the therapist signs up for work. Would a reduction in the per diem rate "weed out" those therapists who simply do it for money and not love of the job and patients?

Maybe those who make more money have better credentials, better CEUs for the position, or are simply better negotiators for a higher pay rate. The other factor for an increase in pay rate is supply and demand. If a therapist comes across a position that has been advertised for a long time, he may be able to ask for more money and the company, which is eager to fill the position, will pay the higher-than-normal rate. Is this fair to pay a therapist who is simply out for the money and not for the best interest of the patient? What would happen if our pay rate was nationalized, would we still do it for the patients and not for the financial gain?

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2 comments

The generalized statement that per diem therapists work with less effort, passion and commitment for their patients is an unfair.  I have worked per diem for the last 12 of my 30 years secondary to family needs. Many of my fellow PTs have done the same. I promise you that each one of us has as much work ethic and passion for our patients as our coworkers who choose to work full or partime with benefits. As a per diem therapist not only do I have to pay for all professional expenses such as classes, dues, liability insurance, I also do not get paid time off.

Laura, PT August 5, 2013 5:09 PM

As a full time employee you need to  include the cost of your benefits (PTO, Health Ins ect) as part of you overall hourly rate. When you calculate all of of those benefits you may find your compensation to be higher than a PRN employee.

Cheryl , PTA August 1, 2013 8:15 PM

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    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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