Travel Therapist ???

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

84 months ago

I have been a travel respiratory therapist for just over 1.5 years now. Honestly, I love it and could not imagine taking another permanent job.

All the companies offer pretty much the same general benefits, with slight twists in their offerings (some twists good and some awful). The best agency for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Are you traveling alone, with another healthcare provider, or with family? To determine whats best for you, ask TONS of questions and get those answers in writing. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of agencies out there.

I didn't care for CompHealth at all (low pay). I'm pretty happy with Aureus. American traveler, Cross Country, & Club are the same company as far as I know.. nothing good to say there either. Other great agencies for respiratory are Soliant, Maxim, Intelistaf, RT Temps, ROC, Titan.

Never believe a recruiter until you get everything in writing. They all pretty much get the SAME job listings.

To start getting your name out to the agencies, post your resume on absolutelyhealthcare.com

Standards offerings are weekly pay, insurance paid 100% by agency (unless you need family coverage), vacation pay, licensure reimbursement, CEU reimbursement, travel expenses paid both to and from an assignment, weekly tax free per diem to cover meals and expenses, free furnished housing (some will actually charge you if you need a larger place), agencies furnish completely, but others require you to bring your own linens, dishes, etc. YUCK!), paid utilities (some agencies cap that at $100/month, others pay the whole thing).

Questions to ask (to weed out those icky agencies).
How often do you pay?
Direct Deposit?
Do you pay travel to and from?
Insurance available 1st day or 1st of month following contract start?
How much per diem?
Do you pay a car allowance?
Do you fully furnish housing (linens, etc. and all utilities paid)?
Licensure assistance?
Bonuses paid?

Good Luck!

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Sarah in Houston, Texas

83 months ago

What does a travel RT do?

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

83 months ago

Well, in order for agencies (and hospitals) to accept you as a healthcare traveler, you need to have solid skills with more than 1 year experience (as a minimum.. for example, I have 12 years exp in adult critical care, ER, trauma), excellent professional references, and interview well by telephone. CRT's can get work however most hospitals prefer RRT's when recruiting respiratory therapists.

Sarah.. I'm assuming here you are a Respiratory Therapist credentialed by the National Board For Respiratory Care? As travel therapists/contractors, we provide exactly the same services as any therapist in any provider location. We are merely temporary employees.. if you will. We do NOT work for the hospitals we are contracted to, but instead are employed by agencies who mediate the contracting process. Most contracts are generally 13 weeks but some may be as short as 2 weeks and I've seen 26 week contracts offered also. We are there to fill a need whether it be for vacation coverage, a staff shortage, to fill in for someone on medical leave, or if you really want to be bold, as a strike breaker, if you are available and willing when they occur. (which pays exceptionally well)

In order to survive as a traveler, you have to be quick to adapt, be able to blend in seamlessly with the full time staff, and open to new and sometimes really odd ways of doing your job. You have to be extremely dependable and committed to completing any contracts that you accept, whether you find yourself in a 'hospital from hell' or a very nice facility. Walking out on a contract is very damaging to a healthcare travel career.

The upside to all this? The opportunity to work all over the country, allowing time to really see and explore an area, living in great housing, and seeing how other hospitals 'do it'. Time off? Well you only get that BETWEEN jobs but you can take off as long as you wish, whether its a few weeks or a few months.

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vreyes in Mount Sinai, New York

81 months ago

If anyone has worked as a Travel therapist, please help.

What are some good states/counties to work in? What are the things you've seen and done [doesn't have to only be work related, eg. white water rafting/museums.] What the average pay scales in those states?

How do you tell your current job, what about references [think it is rude to ask my current employeer, could I ask co-workers & perhaps a former superviser -she's leaving to new job]

any advice? Plan on applying at the end of year trying to settle some things.

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

81 months ago

Back when I first began looking for a contract, my coworkers and employer were quite willing to provide excellent references for me. I got written letters of recommendation from therapists, nurses, and physicians as I told them farewell. I also ask a few people at each contract location to write up a short recommendation along with their contact information when I'm leaving an assignment.

Every contract can be an opportunity for a new adventure. I travel with my younger children so our sightseeing is always geared towards family type activities. We spent our christmas this year in Manhattan.. the Rockefeller Center tree was great, with lots of shopping and seeing the city. We have been to Martha's Vineyard, the beaches here are very nice in the summer, hiking in New Hampshire, of course its now skiing season, but I'm not a skier.

No matter where you decide to work, there are always things to see and do and its so much fun exploring and learning about different areas of the country. I highly recommend breaking out of your shell and being open to new places because you might just find you love it.

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

81 months ago

vreyes in Mount Sinai, New York said: If anyone has worked as a Travel therapist, please help.

What are some good states/counties to work in? What are the things you've seen and done [doesn't have to only be work related, eg. white water rafting/museums.] What the average pay scales in those states?

How do you tell your current job, what about references [think it is rude to ask my current employeer, could I ask co-workers & perhaps a former superviser -she's leaving to new job]

any advice? Plan on applying at the end of year trying to settle some things.

I'm sorry, I didn't answer your question about pay. It can vary from contract to contract or agency to agency. If you are looking for money, the San Francisco area is good. There are contracts available in exotic places such as Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, but those are more for fun and you certainly won't make a whole lot, but I've heard for a good 'working vacation' its great. There are great places to work all over the country. For whatever reason I tend to work in New England quite a bit, but have also worked in OH, MO, IL, TN, and KY. The pay offered will depend on your skills and experience.

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QueenRRT in Overland Park, Kansas

80 months ago

Have you looked into Favorite Staffing? They are all over the place. Require a lot of information but they not only place you, they pay for referrals. I used to work for them and they were honest and paid well.

Good luck!

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John in Sacramento, California

80 months ago

Anyone know what the pay is around in San Francisco? I have a friend who is traveling and was offered $26 in Stanford, CA. It seemed like she was being low balled. I am also looking into being a RT too.

Thank you

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

80 months ago

It really depends on what else they offered.. how much in travel, how much in daily per diems, what kind of housing/allowance is offered, are they providing a rental car or car allowance... stuff like that. You have to look at the complete package being offered to know whether its a good deal. Is it a union hospital that pays OT for anything longer than an 8 hour shift with 12 hour shifts being scheduled?

Have your friend figure up the total value of the package including the tax freebie income in addition to the hourly rate.. only then will she actually know what she is making.

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

80 months ago

Aureus assigns recruiters based on the area the contract is in... IMHO this can be both a good and bad thing, because, yes I believe that different recruiters give different levels of service with this company. The good part about that is that whomever you are dealing with is fairly knowledgeable about the area in which you are working. They have built up their contacts and if you want them to market you in a particular part of the country they certainly will have someone do that. The down side.. well if you are working in a part of the country and you don't particularly care for the account manager for that area-- well you are just kind of stuck dealing with them. After you are on a contract, they will have someone from the company call you and have you 'rate' your account manager, not that I've seen that make any difference in the quality of service from that person.

Overall, I think my experience with them has been positive, but like everything else, has its ups and downs. Problems I've personally experienced.. my furniture and household goods has always been late being delivered. A phone call and they do get it taken care of, but its unnerving expecting to 'move in' and arrive to a completely empty apartment with your family in tow... sitting around in the floor for hours knowing that you need some sleep because you have to go to work (but nothing to sleep on) and waiting for some furniture to arrive lol. Once it arrives, they do it all.. set everything up, put everything away and the guys they send to do set up are great, but geeze it was aggravating. But you have to remember.. a housing specialist (not your account manager) handles the housing part.

The MAIN thing I don't like about Aureus, is licensing assistance.. there isn't any. You want a license somewhere.. well get on it because they sure aren't going to and it can get complicated after you have many licenses-- trust me. They will reimburse you for you the expense.

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Kevin L. in Greeneville, Tennessee

80 months ago

Hi. I am a recruiter from Maxim and appreciate the kind words you have said about my company in the top of this blog. I just want to inform you that Maxim just opened up a brand new travel division located out of Tampa Florida, called TravelMax. Maxim combined its top talent (sales and recruitment) from all over the country and put us all under one roof. During my tenure with Maxim I have been responsible for solely recruiting RT's for the past 1.5 years so i am pretty knowledgable about the travel respiratory industry. If you have any questions and are interested in learning more about Maxim and the positions we have please do not hesitate to email me at kelucani@travmax.com. Thanks!

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Omare J. in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

I just got a contract out to Wyoming and I was getting ready to drive even though I living in Virginia. I was told that the company would pay for the flight but the rental car would be taken out of my per diem. So would my per diem be greatly reduced? I work with a traveler and he told me that was completely wrong. This is my first travel assignment and I'm with Aureus, so anyone that can make this clearer for me it would be greatly appreciated.

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

79 months ago

Honestly, I like Aureus and thats who I currently work for, but they don't pay for a rental car or have at least never been willing to do so that I know of, so yeah, if you don't take your car it would cut into your pay. They do pay for your milege to and from your assignment, and the rate is quite decent. What I like about Aureus is that since I travel with a family, I need a much bigger place to live and they always provide and pay for all of it, which many companies won't do, and instead try to charge me for excess rent, extra furniture rental, and only pay a portion of utilities. Aureus has NEVER done this to me.

If you don't want to drive your own car and you want a rental car paid for, then try Maxim or Soliant because I know other RT travelers that they always do this for. Me? Well with my kids I would rather have my own vehicle there and not stuck with some compact rental.

Oh, and I do like their health insurance although its a bit pricey for my family coverage.. if your going solo, yours should be pretty cheap.

Gotta love their rewards program too! Points for hours worked redeemable for all kinds of neat stuff and gift certs for airline tickets, gas, and alot of stores like Gap, BestBuy, Walmart, Target and so forth.

Housing (Aurhomes) is awesome too.. always nothing but the best locations and amenities. Funny, sort of, but on my next contract I'm going to a city where my oldest daughter lives and I requested a place near her (a safe & decent, but 'gasp' working class area) and they are hesitant, but willing.. they would rather have me in the nicest (i.e. most expensive) area in town. I can't complain, they really try to make sure everything is perfect.

Good luck with your first contract!

Susan

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Pablo Pujana in Dallas, Texas

79 months ago

Omare J. in Norfolk, Virginia said: I just got a contract out to Wyoming and I was getting ready to drive even though I living in Virginia. I was told that the company would pay for the flight but the rental car would be taken out of my per diem. So would my per diem be greatly reduced? I work with a traveler and he told me that was completely wrong. This is my first travel assignment and I'm with Aureus, so anyone that can make this clearer for me it would be greatly appreciated.

Ive heard very good things about Aureus and I hope i dont step on any toes here, but i just wanted to leave my input. It might be a little bit biased since I am a recruiter. But from my experience and from what my travelers tell me, every company is different. Some of them have so many rules in place that it handcuffs what the recruiter can pay for. What I would advise most techs that are new to traveling is to talk to a few different recruiters and see how flexible they can be. Most of the time its not that they cant offer you a rental car, its that paying for one out of their budget might not allow them to have a high enough profit margin, therefore making you pay for it from the per diem.
Most recruiters can get as creative as you want with their budget, for example as far as paying for your cell or your gas. Just keep in mind one way or another your paying for it. You just ask yourself would you rather have the company pay for it or have all the money in your pocket and decide for yourself how to budget and spend it.
Certain things as far as lodging and car rental can be beneficial for you to let the company handle it since they get national discounts depending on the size of the company. Have the recruiter break down how much he is paying for lodging and every little detail. Take all the bills and devided by how many hours you work and it will give you a better idea on how good of a deal you are getting.

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Laura in Sacramento, California

79 months ago

John in Sacramento, California said: Anyone know what the pay is around in San Francisco? I have a friend who is traveling and was offered $26 in Stanford, CA. It seemed like she was being low balled. I am also looking into being a RT too.

Thank you

I live in Northern Ca, but we just recruited an RT from Kaiser in San Francisco and she said she was making about $40.00/hr. I think your friend is being jipped.

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Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island

79 months ago

I'm still guessing that your friend who was offered $26/hour is not adding in housing, perdiem, insurance, and travel payments and that this is just the 'hourly rate'-- not the whole pay package, which must be evaluated to decide if a travel contract pays enough.

I'm sure I posted a reply on here somewhere on how to calculate your complete compensation package and break it down into an hourly rate which includes all variables for comparison.

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Pablo Pujana in Dallas, Texas

78 months ago

Jekiwaki in Saint Petersburg, Florida said: I am a traveling occupational therapist who works for Cariant Health Partners. I have been traveling for almost 3 years now. I used to work for Soliant Health, but I was amazed at what an increase in pay I got when I switched to Cariant. I think most of the companies have basically the same benefits, but some recruiters can be such weasels. That's why I switched to Cariant, and I am very pleased (except they don't have dental insurance). I think traveling is awesome; I've been all over the country, and I would recommend it to anyone. Although I'm sure it would be hard to do with a family.

if you dont mind me asking, how much do you make? i currenly work for Platinum Select, its a part of AMN which also owns Med Travelers. Just kind of curious what the competition is doing. thanks!

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AMBER in Frederick, Maryland

78 months ago

CAN NEW RRT GRADS TRAVEL OR DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE A YEARS WORTH OF EXPERIENCE.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

78 months ago

Most agencies who place travelers require a minimum of 1 year experience. You can get a contract with 1 year of working experience, but more is certainly better.

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kyjelled

77 months ago

vreyes in Mount Sinai, New York said: Anyone here a travel therapist or worked as one? I'm currently looking into agencies but not sure which one is better. Looking for good pay, benefits, bonuses would be good, etc.

I've looked into Aureus, American Traveler, Cross Country, Club Staffing , MedTravelers, CompHealth [only ones I know of].

any advice?

I had looked into club staffing and they told me all kinds of things that made me jump for joy, but everything was fine until they contacted my current manager for whom I still worked for. The next day I got a call saying they couldn't work with my references and good luck in my endevers. When I called back to see what happened ( my bosses said they gave me great above average reference), they never called me and ignored my phone calls. Til this day I have no clue what happened. If any body might have a clue, please reply.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

77 months ago

Well you obviously had to give them more than 1 reference.. if you are sure that all your other references were good then I would wonder if your current employer was being honest. Could it be that they are shorthanded and don't want to be short yet another therapist? There isn't much telling, but I sure wouldn't lose any sleep over not getting a job with Club Staffing.

Next time, why don't you tell a prospective agency that they cannot contact your present employer but to ease their mind, send them a copy of your last evaluation along with a good mixture of professional recommendations from other therapists, registered nurses, and a physician or two.

Good Luck,
Susan D.

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TONYA in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

thank you for the info

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Gwen in Sunnyvale, California

76 months ago

I am a traveler and out of curiosity, if you current travelers don't mind sharing...

What is a reasonable pay raise offer for extending your current contract?

Do companies pay for shift differential (ie evening shift, night shift)?

Thanks in advance!!

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Catalina in Houston, Texas

76 months ago

Has anyone ever worked for PRCS? I have been speaking to a recruiter and am kinda hesitant to sign on. This will be my first travel assignment either to Tucson or Hawaii. Any suggestions or comments about the agency and/or the cities...? Any details would help
Thanks,
-Catalina

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

76 months ago

Catalina in Houston, Texas said: Has anyone ever worked for PRCS? I have been speaking to a recruiter and am kinda hesitant to sign on. This will be my first travel assignment either to Tucson or Hawaii. Any suggestions or comments about the agency and/or the cities...? Any details would help
Thanks,
-Catalina

A fellow RT/traveler/coworker of mine here in Louisville has talked quite a bit about PRCS... all good. She goes to Scottsdale with them every winter. She went home for the week so I will ask her more next week when she returns.

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Tonya in Prescott Valley, Arizona

76 months ago

I am a recruiter and hear a lot of good and bad from travelers. I have an RT that has worked with Michelle at PRCS and he says she is great! You might try her. His name is Ted if she asks. His wife just told me they are really easy to work with and they never had any problems.

Tonya Beauchamp
Director of Recruitment
Gemini Medical Staffing, LLC
866-296-8164
tonya@geminimedstaff.com
www.geminimedstaff.com

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Catalina in Houston, Texas

76 months ago

Any opinions on which companies are the best to work with?

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Catalina in Houston, Texas

76 months ago

Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky said: A fellow RT/traveler/coworker of mine here in Louisville has talked quite a bit about PRCS... all good. She goes to Scottsdale with them every winter. She went home for the week so I will ask her more next week when she returns.

Thanks, I apprecite it!

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Orlydj1 in Jerome, Michigan

76 months ago

vreyes in Mount Sinai, New York said: Anyone here a travel therapist or worked as one? I'm currently looking into agencies but not sure which one is better. Looking for good pay, benefits, bonuses would be good, etc.

I've looked into Aureus, American Traveler, Cross Country, Club Staffing , MedTravelers, CompHealth [only ones I know of].

any advice?

Study the market were you are going if you can. Housing, Rental car, per diem, health ins, 401k, CEU money, avoid bonus money get your money up front. what will it cost you if you get sick. how many weekends will you work. recriuters are not your friends keep yor personal life and buiness separate. good luck.

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wu in Dyer, Tennessee

76 months ago

does anyone travel with school age children if so how

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

76 months ago

Absolutely! I travel with my school age children. I see from your post that you are posting Tennessee (my home state too). I home educate my children through a church related school and submit their grades online. Check with the HLDA regarding laws pertaining to home education of children. I also discussed my situation with an attorney before I started traveling. Since it would be quite difficult to keep up and comply with the laws in each state we travel to, and we are legal TN residents we abide by the TN laws.

If you have any more questions, just let me know. Traveling with children certainly adds a twist to things, but with a little planning, it has worked well for us and my kids get to see and do things that most children don't get the opportunity to experience.

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wu in Dyer, Tennessee

76 months ago

Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky said: Absolutely! I travel with my school age children. I see from your post that you are posting Tennessee (my home state too). I home educate my children through a church related school and submit their grades online. Check with the HLDA regarding laws pertaining to home education of children. I also discussed my situation with an attorney before I started traveling. Since it would be quite difficult to keep up and comply with the laws in each state we travel to, and we are legal TN residents we abide by the TN laws.

If you have any more questions, just let me know. Traveling with children certainly adds a twist to things, but with a little planning, it has worked well for us and my kids get to see and do things that most children don't get the opportunity to experience.

how do you structure your schedule for work? Do most places just schedule you certain days or can you self schedule when you travel? sorry to ask so many question, never traveled before. Really wanting to look into it.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

76 months ago

Well, as with any hospital.. you work when they need you, but some larger hospitals with lots of open positions will allow you to choose your own schedule (like where I am at now). I personally prefer 12 hour night shift contracts, but if I really like the facility, I might consider taking a contract which requires 8 hour shifts.

If you don't like what they are offering, then don't accept. There are plenty of contracts available for days or nights and hundreds of staffing agencies out there so there is bound to be something that fits your individual needs.

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K.B. in Phoenix, Arizona

75 months ago

Catalina in Houston, Texas said: Has anyone ever worked for PRCS? I have been speaking to a recruiter and am kinda hesitant to sign on. This will be my first travel assignment either to Tucson or Hawaii. Any suggestions or comments about the agency and/or the cities...? Any details would help
Thanks,
-Catalina

I work full time here in the Phoenix Metro Area. Every year during the busy season, usally December to May, we get alot travelers from PRCS. Because of this I get the opportunity to ask what travel companies are good and which ones are bad. I would say, with a rough estimate, that 95% of the travelers I talk to say they are very pleased with PRCS.
However, keep in mind PRCS's primary focus is the Arizona market. As result if you are going to travel in AZ I would try PRCS first because there is no travel company out there that understands the Arizona RT market better than PRCS.
A little history about PRCS is that the company was started in 1981 by a couple of RTs here in the Phoenix area. Thus their main headquarters is in Phoenix. They have in recent years branched into the Las Vegas market, and they claim they get travel assignments nationwide. However, from what I have been hearing from travelers is that the Lion's share of assignments coming from PRCS are still in the AZ and Vegas area. In fact, (I do not know the reasoning behind their decision) PRCS a few years back had broken into the California market, and then decided to get out of the Cali market.
I personally have been trying to find a travel company that specializes in the California RT market. I think because California is a complicated market that a RT traveler would benifit most by going with a company that specializes in the California scene similar to the way PRCS specializes to the AZ scene.
P.S. Catalina I noticed you are from Houston. What is the Houston market like. My Dad keeps bugging me to move out to Houston because he lives there.

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sue in Clackamas, Oregon

75 months ago

Susan D. in West Warwick, Rhode Island said: I'm still guessing that your friend who was offered $26/hour is not adding in housing, perdiem, insurance, and travel payments and that this is just the 'hourly rate'-- not the whole pay package, which must be evaluated to decide if a travel contract pays enough.

I'm sure I posted a reply on here somewhere on how to calculate your complete compensation package and break it down into an hourly rate which includes all variables for comparison.


I am trying to find this can you help. I am trying to decide on contracts and dont know whats best a lower wage and more tax free money

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

75 months ago

Sue,

While the tax free income is nice, remember that the tax free portion of your income will not show up on your w-2's (won't count in applying for mortgages, and some other big ticket loans which require proof of income.) Also, the IRS is quite adept at detecting what is basically income tax evasion when an hourly pay rate is way below the area standard. I knew a traveler who took most of his income tax free and had his hourly rate at around $6/hour, even though he brought home about what I did. I sure wouldn't work any overtime if I were him and would be praying not to get audited.

The tax free money that the IRS allows is to OFFSET part of the expense of working away from home... like the 2nd place to stay. To qualify for tax free housing, you must have a permanent residence (regular mortgage or rent etc.) which is NOT rented out (available for your use at any time)

Some agencies really push the rules on what they call 'tax advantage plans'. I personally would never work for some of those agencies.

I recommend making sure your hourly rate is comparable to what the area average is. Then I would go to www.gsa.gov and see what the government allows as far as housing & perdiems for the area you are going to work in. The maximums listed is what can be paid out by your agency on your behalf without them having to show reciepts and also makes for a good negotiating point if you opt to find your own housing and take a stipend instead (tax free if you qualify).

If you need further explanation just let me know and I will try to help you.

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Nicky Alanis in Pleasanton, California

74 months ago

I don't like what my company is offering and i was sent a Professional service agreement that stated Verbally accepted opportunities shall be binding upon me.I said yes before i saw what was offered in writting. Do i have any room to negotiate?

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Stacey in Sherman Oaks, California

74 months ago

You absolutely have room to negotiate. hat company are you through? Being in Pleasanton I assume they are putting you in Nor. Cal. emember that there are really no respiratory school in nor cal and the ball is very much in your court. I would say that 40% of all opportunities I'm presented with are up there.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

74 months ago

Nicky,

You may have heard the saying "It aint over til the fat lady sings" and trust me, 'it aint over'.

You have every right to negotiate with them and their statement about all verbals being binding.. well its a pipe dream of that agency. You tentatively accepted an offer in good faith before they presented the real offer to you, which you now find unnacceptable. If you don't like what they are offering, then by all means, don't accept (sign) it.

Yes, you may piss off that agency and they might choose not to work with you, however, if they are in the habit of promising then not delivering in writing, then you probably wouldn't want to deal with them anyway.

Good luck! Stick to your guns and don't let them bait and switch you on contract terms.

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Tonya in Prescott Valley, Arizona

74 months ago

Not to be too intrusive but I am a recruiter, have been for years and I can tell you that a verbal is just that. What would they do with you if you were half way there and the hospital called and cancelled the contract? You MUST get everything in writing and make sure you understand what you are signing. It is good you are all chatting here and another good site is on delphi forums, the tnt recruiting board. The nurses there have a lot of experience and you will learn a lot in how to protect yourself.!!
Tonya Beauchamp
Director of Recruitment
Gemini Medical Staffing, LLC
866-296-8164
tonya@geminimedstaff.com
www.geminimedstaff.com

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yong ko in Paragould, Arkansas

73 months ago

i been looking for a good agencys but i realy dont know what to look for... i've never travel for this job bf but wanting to see other places and meet new ppl be and get out of this little town.. so what should i look for in a good agencys.. and what should ask

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

73 months ago

Yong Ko,

Please read some of the earlier posts on this same thread. About 10 months ago I posted a list of questions to ask prospective agencies and some other info when I was still on a contract in Rhode Island.

In my opinion, a good agency is one that has a good reputation, backs up what they promise in writing, and meets your own personal needs, whatever that may be. What may be a great agency for one person might not be a good fit for another.

Do you personally know any other RT's who travel? If you do, then they might be helpful for you. I know its difficult, but try to decide what is most important to you.. working in a particular location, day or night shifts, 12 hour shifts etc. Will you be traveling solo or bringing children, a pet, or a significant other? Will you need the standard 1 bedroom apartment or something larger? Do you need medical insurance-- and do you need it to be in effect from day 1 or can you slide by until the first day of the month following a contract start? Do you want to drive your own vehicle there or would you rather fly and have them arrange for a rental car? Do you prefer larger teaching facilities or smaller community hospitals? In order to negotiate a contract that suits YOU, decide whats most important and then start contacting agencies. Talk to them and see what they have available and can offer you, then make a choice based on your needs and skill set.

Other factors to consider are income taxes. Any seasoned traveler can tell you that taxes can become a little complicated, so it would be to your benefit to speak to a reliable tax professional before you start so you have an idea of what you would be dealing with. Some so-called 'tax advantage pay plans' can get you into hot water with the IRS so be careful, but they certainly aren't all bad.

Read the past posts on this thread and I'm sure you will find alot of the information you are looking for.

Good luck to you. I'm happy to answer more ?.

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Liza in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

My question is for Susan. Hi, I am in my second year of Respiratory school and have two small children that are not quite school age yet. My question to you is how is it done with school age kids? Do you feel like your kids adapt well with each new assignment. I understand what you are saying about your kids getting to do/see many things most kids do not get to see/do. I just wonder/worry about adjustment and finding daycare you can trust when you do go to different assignments? I am a single mom, btw, so if I did traveling it would just be me and my two kids. Just curious how that aspect works out. Other than that traveling sounds like a fun thing to do.

liza

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K.B. in Phoenix, Arizona

73 months ago

I was wondering if anyone that is in the San Francisco area know if the travel oppurtinities are still going strong in that area.

I know there has been alot of recommendations floating out there, but I can tell you from experience it depends what area of the country you are traveling. For example if you want to go to Arizona or Nevada then you would want to go with PRCS because they have that scene locked up. If you want to go to northern California then you would want to go with Per Diem Staffing because again they control that market. Club Staffing seems to have alot influence in Florida and by the way they are based in Florida. Aureus Medical seems to deal primarily with central and eastern American. At one point I wanted to deal with Aureus Medical because I heard alot of good things about them but I gave up on them because they never seemed to have anything in California.
If you are looking for a travel company that is a Jack of all the travel scenes but master of none then I would go with Cross Country. I would steer away from CompHealth because I have heard too many travelers say that have gotten screwed by those guys.
Despite what anyone tells you in this forum your best bet is finding out what travel company has a foot hold in that particular area and going with them.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

73 months ago

Liza (I've got several replies for you) Good childcare is a major concern of a single traveling parent, obviously. Some agencies will attempt to help you find someone at your new contract, other companies won't due to fears that they could be held liable if the childcare turned out to be unacceptable. I don't ask my agency to help me find anyone.

Here is a list of places I look and ask for childcare referrals:
Children and Family Services (or whatever its called in the state I'm going to), the manager of the department that I will be working in (who usually puts me in contact with future co-workers with children), HR at that hospital (sometimes they will give you the hospital discount or allow you to use their daycare, if they have one for employees), www.sittercity.com, www.mamasource.com, by answering and posting ads on the local craigslist for the area that I'm going to. Believe it or not, some of my best sitters I've found through craigslist, churches in the area I will be in, just about anywhere I can think of to be honest.

I will email and talk on the phone extensively to prospective sitters, finding out their qualifications, what they charge and if they are available for the times and hours that I will need them. I then select 5 or so prospective sitters to interview in person as soon as I arrive in the area.

The ones that I choose to interview, I let know that I require their permission and information to run a background check and yes, I run one on each one of them (at my expense). The wellbeing of my children are very much worth it to me.

So finally, we arrive in a new area, I've got all the background check information and meet in person with the selected caregivers then choose a primary and then another one for backup. It takes planning but it is doable. Single parent travelers are a minority but our numbers are increasing.

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

73 months ago

To Liza,

I feel that my children adapt very well to a mobile lifestyle. I do tend to take longer assignments, 20 or 26 weeks instead of the typical 13 week one) and have extended at times. When we started, of course there was no real way of knowing how well it would work for us, so we simply agreed to try it with my promise that if they didn't feel comfortable that I would take a permanent job and we would not travel. We have been traveling since May 2006, and they are still as enthusiastic about it as they were from the first day we got to my very first contract.

My children do not attend the local schools but instead are home educated and enrolled in a private school which is located in our home state. They always manage to make plenty of friends no matter where we are. We do tend to travel to the same geographic areas and they are always excited to be able to reunite with friends from past contracts. They do keep in touch by phone, snail mail, and email, with friends they have made during our adventures. My children make friends in the apartments where we live, at church, and I also set up play dates with similar aged children of co-workers. My daughter stays active in dance lessons and my son is in scouting.

Just as a side note, we do keep a scrapbook, highlighting each location we travel to and all the things we see and do. This scrapbook is set up as sort of a bio of their life and begins with pages on family. They really enjoy going back through the pages, seeing where all we have been. I know they will really cherish that book when they are older also.

I also ask my children about places that they might like to see and experience, so yes, any contract I take is a group decision and they know that if they say they don't want to go somewhere, then I won't accept a contract there, but that has not happened yet. Their first request was to go to Alaska so that they could see Denali and beluga whales. We've seen belugas but not AK yet!

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Susan D. in Louisville, Kentucky

73 months ago

To Liza (more on childcare),

More creative options on finding childcare include hiring someone who is single and in your local area and having them travel WITH you and your children as an au pair. College students who are taking a break are sometimes available to do this.. who wouldn't want to have free room/board and a small salary to spend the summer at the beach, etc.? I've also had offers from friends who are fellow travelers to travel together, work different shifts, share housing, etc. in exchange for them watching the kids while I work. This works expecially well if you prefer opposite shifts (days/nights)and go to a larger hospital that has multiple travel contracts available.

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Liza in Houston, Texas

73 months ago

Thank you so much for responding, your info was very helpful.

liza

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Ketra in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

73 months ago

I'm glad to have a forum such as this one...
I am a 19 year old female looking to attend a two year college and receive an AAS in Respiratory Therapy (Associate of Applied Science). The other thing is that I was considering becoming a traveling respiratory therapist, but no one in my area (that I know of) can offer first hand insight. Being that I have no family of my own yet, this is a career choice that I am very serious about. Something that I HONESTLY want to know is "Is this really a good career choice?" I've enjoyed reading everyones comments and this question may seem a bit repetitive, but it's something that I really want to know. My other questions are "How much does a traveling respiratory therapist make," because I could only find information on a "stable" resp therapist in my area makes and according to salary.com they make roughly between $48,000-$55,000 a year. Which I deem as pretty good with an Associates Degree. My other questions were as far as traveling, do you pay the upfront traveling cost <including rental car, food and gas> and are later reimbursed or does the agency take care of that right then? (Including as far as if you choose to fly, who will pay for it) And my last question is about the agencies. Is it true about you being contracted for 12 hour shifts and for 8 of those 12 hours you receive the normal payrate but for the last 4 hours you receive "double overtime?" or is that just a hoax? I think thats my last question and I thank you all in advance for your replies.

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yazee in Ballwin, Missouri

73 months ago

Hi, Just wanted to know what is pay range for RRT in California with 10+ years of experience for travel RT without adding up the benefits for travel agencies.

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