2021 Forecast for Travel Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists

By Kelly Grant, Rehab Therapy Branch Manager, Aureus Medical

2020 was a crazy ride that no one expected, but for those in the rehab therapy industry, it was an especially challenging time. In late 2019 and early 2020, the therapy industry underwent sweeping changes to Medicare billing reimbursements, which, in some cases, caused the job market to slightly slow. Then, with emergence of COVID-19 in the U.S. in early spring 2020, many elective surgeries were put on pause, dealing a blow to the job market for both physical therapists and occupational therapists.

Slowly, as restrictions eased and hospitals started to proceed with elective surgeries towards the fall 2020, the therapy industry clawed its way back into a promising job outlook for physical therapists and occupational therapists due to the important role these professionals play in patient recovery.

Many factors continue to support a very positive outlook for the industry. According to HealthCare Appraisers, the already increasingly aging population is expected to double during the next 40 years, requiring more medical professionals in general, including OTs and PTs. There’s also an ever-growing physically active community in our nation, which leads to more injuries that may require rehab. Therapy is also popular as it can help hospitals achieve their goals to compress discharge timelines and limit re-admission. Finally, rehab therapy plays an important part in helping surgical patients recover quickly and with less use of painkillers. All these factors combine to present a very promising long-term outlook for those working in the rehab therapy industry!

Even in the short term, opportunities for PTs and OTs also improve. More states have joined the PT Compact, which gives travel physical therapists more job options. In recent months, therapists seeking home health and outpatient settings have had a broad selection of travel healthcare jobs. Many states have seen a steady increase in travel rehab therapy opportunities in recent weeks, with especially favorable job conditions in Missouri, Wisconsin, Georgia, Texas, California, Maryland, Washington, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas. Click here to explore all current therapy positions available with Aureus Medical.

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