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FYZICAL Blog

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How to Help Your Staff PTs Pay off Student Loan Debt Faster

Feb 15, 2019 7:46:00 AM

It’s no secret that new grads in physical therapy are experiencing crippling student loan debt (as many other new grads are as well). Your staff physical therapists are all likely stressing over their student loan debt and looking for ways to pay it off quickly.

According to WebPT’s State of Rehab Therapy 2018, roughly 26% of new grad PTs have $70,000 to $100,000 in student loan debt by the time they graduate. Some grads have more debt if they attended a private school or borrowed for food, health insurance, living expenses, etc.

New grad PTs expect a starting salary of $60,000 to $80,000 per year – which aligns with industry averages. Physical therapists don’t usually get into this industry to make a ton of money; they get into this industry because they like helping people. Unfortunately, education costs do not reflect this altruistic calling. Especially now that Vision 2020 requires physical therapy students to have the DPT degree to practice, more students need to borrow money to complete their education.

*WebPT Fast Fact: With an annual salary of $70,000, a rehab therapist owing $100,000 on a student loan with an interest rate of 5% will take nearly 45 years to be free of student debt.

As a private practice owner, you’re likely already paying your PTs a fair salary (if not, you should be). However, you may still feel responsible for helping your PTs pay off their debt faster. Especially if you see some of your therapists getting second jobs or a “side hustle” in order to make more money.

Whether you know it or not you actually have the opportunity to provide more income opportunities to your therapists, without necessarily raising their annual compensation.

Providing a fair, performance-based bonus structure is a great way to both increase your clinical productivity AND increase income potential of your staff therapists. Watch this short video to see how performance-based culture can increase your staff’s income potential without putting dollar signs on your patients.

Additionally, paying your PTs the hourly equivalent of their salary to treat before hours, during lunch, after hours or on weekends, will have the same effect. Your PTs will be able to make more money treating in your clinic, rather than needing to work another job elsewhere. Now, you’ll be providing them the opportunity to pay off their loans quicker, and not to mention your profit margins will skyrocket during the additional hours they work (schedule a call with an advisor to learn more about this).

Whatever you do – make sure your therapists stay away from any “loan forgiveness plans” or “income-based repayment plans” they might be hearing about. If you or your PTs are still paying on loans, you definitely need to watch this short video about why these plans do NOT work.

FYZICAL is helping private practice owners build better opportunities for their employees, patients and themselves. Our advisors can help you find the most effective ways to grow your business and create a better future for everyone in your business. To learn more about how to build a better future in private practice physical therapy, click here to request more information.

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