As a respiratory therapist, there are many ways to advance your career. One way is to take your career on the road as a traveling respiratory therapist, filling staffing vacancies at hospitals around the country. But how do you know if this career path is right for you? Like all big decisions, it helps to look at a list of the benefits and drawbacks. Here’s a quick list of the pros and cons of a career as a traveling respiratory therapist.
Pros of Being a Traveling Respiratory Therapist
A Great Fit for Travel Enthusiasts
The main reason many professionals consider taking their career on the road is because they have a passion for traveling. The ability to combine your job with the opportunity to explore new places can be a powerful draw for travel enthusiasts. As a traveling respiratory therapist, you’ll typically work on 13-week contracts that can take you anywhere around the country.
More Job Opportunities in More Places
Respiratory therapists have ample opportunities to find work in a steadily growing field. In fact, between 2014 and 2024, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
By working as a traveling respiratory therapist, you’ll have access to even more opportunities than ever before. Instead of searching for jobs on your own, you’ll have the experts at a staffing agency finding you great jobs at hospitals all across the country.
Earn a Higher Salary
Those who make the switch to a career as a traveling respiratory therapist also enjoy the opportunity to earn more money than before. Due to the high-demand nature of traveling healthcare positions, these jobs often offer a higher base salary than permanent positions. Just keep in mind that pay varies by location and assignment, so your salary ultimately depends on each specific contract. Also, many staffing agencies provide completion bonuses, referral bonuses, and other ways to maximize earning potential.
Since assignments typically last 13 weeks, staffing agencies lend a generous helping hand for their employees as they embark on new adventures. Most agencies offer traveling RTs a choice of either free housing or a housing stipend designed to cover the full cost for housing based on per diem rates in that area. This great benefit can help offset the high cost of living in major cities, plus it allows you to keep more of your paycheck.
Cons of Being a Travel Respiratory Therapist
Adjusting to New Work Environments
While moving to new cities may be exciting, changing work environments frequently may not be a great fit for everyone. If you’re someone who thrives on having a set routine, adjusting to a new hospital and new coworkers every 13 weeks could be a stressful ordeal. As a traveling respiratory therapist, you’ll need to be able to adapt to new surroundings and be able to work well with a wide range of people.
Different State Licensing Requirements
A license is required to work as a respiratory therapist in every state, except Alaska, according to the BLS. However, each state may have different licensing requirements, so there’s a high possibility you’ll have to go through the process of applying for new licenses for each new state you work in. Staffing agencies like LRS Healthcare provide assistance for their respiratory therapists when it comes to applying for new state licenses.
Inconsistent Pay Rates
Many full-time workers are used to receiving the same hourly rate throughout the entire year, so it can be difficult for some to adjust to new wages for each assignment. Also, when you factor in any potential breaks between 13-week assignments, it can require some thoughtful financial planning to ensure that important bills are being covered. Fortunately for traveling respiratory therapists, they won’t have to worry about one of the biggest monthly bills since they’ll be receiving free housing.
It Can Be lonely
For those who like to surround themselves with family and friends, a life on the road could get a bit lonely over time. This is why many traveling respiratory therapists take their family, or at least a pet, along with them on their assignments. Also, if you work for an agency like LRS Healthcare, you’ll have a direct line to your recruiter at all times so you’re never truly alone.
If you’ve decided that a career as a traveling respiratory therapist is a good fit for you, apply with LRS Healthcare today! As an industry leader in healthcare staffing, we’re able to connect you with some of the best respiratory therapist jobs around the country.