Updated: Aug 26, 2020
The year 2020 has been a roller coaster ride in almost all areas of life—the Respiratory Therapy job market is no different. Through this blog, I want to provide some info on where we have been, where we are, and where we may be heading to help you make decisions about your career.
Disclaimer: this is my best guess based on current events, current job trends, and my best deductive reasoning. You are in charge of your career and have to decide what is best for you.
Many of you remember when that there were a many jobs available in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other hot spots at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. There were hundreds of jobs paying upwards of $10,000 per week in some cases. Many of the highest paying jobs were cancelled prior to starting, but some travelers were fortunate enough to see their contracts to the end. Then, as things got better with the virus, those jobs faded way.
Beginning in June/July, states such as Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas became the new “hot spots” with “special projects” and paid just as high as New York. This time, the facilities understood they could not just hire hundreds of travelers and limited so there wouldn’t be a lot of cancellations.
Now, many of those jobs have been filled. Things are looking better in terms of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the country, so there aren’t many new crisis jobs opening on a daily basis like before.
So, what does this mean for you?
As the demand for therapists is going down, so are the pay rates provided by the facilities. Where some of those “special projects” from before were paying $10,000 per week, now crisis jobs are generally paying somewhere closer to $1,700 - $2,000 per week— and that is if you are fortunate enough to find a crisis contract.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are still normal/non-crisis positions available! Though they don't have an elevated pay rate, they still generally pay more than a full-time job would. They are still great options to consider.
Looking into the future, some people believe a resurgence of cases will happen, which could create crisis jobs again. However, there is no guarantee that will happen. With new therapies and potential vaccines coming, one can conclude that there may not be a ton of situations like New York coming up in the near future.
So, my suggestion for you is this: decide what you want to do long term.
If you want to travel for years to come, now would be a good time to prepare yourself to make less than what the crisis jobs paid. If normal travel jobs don't pay enough for you, now may be the time to stay put or head back to the perm job. The beauty of it is that it's your choice.
Do you have more questions about travel healthcare? Comment below!