Wages Rose for Rehab Employees in Long-Term Care in 2017

Wages are slowly climbing for rehab directors and therapists in the long-term care sector, according to the latest report from the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS), a national health care and salary and benefits research firm.

The report, Rehabilitation Salary & Benefits Report 2017-2018, tracked responses from 2,485 providers of long-term care, which includes skilled nursing and rehab services. Respondents reported wages, benefits and bonuses for a variety therapy positions.

Highest paid positions in long-term care


Here are some of the listed national averages for hourly and salaried positions in long-term care, not including bonuses:

* Area Director of Rehab, $102,154

* Director of Rehab/Rehab Manager (physical therapy), $93,530


* Director of Rehab/Rehab Manager (occupational therapy), $90,244

* Physical Therapist, $45.08 per hour

* Occupational Therapist, $42.72 per hour

* Speech Language Pathologist, $42.86 per hour

* Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, $30.03 per hour

Among long-term care providers, home health agencies, and hospitals, it was hospitals that paid hourly therapy employees the lowest amount, according to Rosanne Zabka, director of reports for HCS.

“In general, hospital hourly therapy employees are paid the lowest of the three [sectors],” Zabka told Skilled Nursing News. “One usually thinks of hospitals as the top of the pay tier”

Other takeaways from Zabka: “Hourly rates for home health rehab employees are higher than long-term care. Home health also pays a higher percent of health premiums, with this year’s report showing 77.86% of the premium paid by the facility, with long-term care paying 68.29%.”

Pay raises ahead

Staff therapists all saw their pay tick up this year, according to the report. Speech language pathologists earned 2.25% more in June 2017, while both occupational and physical therapists and got 2.24% more, year-over-year.

Directors also saw their pay climb this year, with those in physical and occupational therapy seeing 2.20% more, and those in speech language pathology earning 2.21% more.

Looking ahead to next year, speech language pathologists can expect a 2.40% pay bump, while physical and occupational therapists should earn 2.31% more, according to the report. Directors will also see a pay jump to the tune of 2.33% for those in speech language pathology and 2.25% for those in occupational and physical therapy, according to the report.

States differ

Long-term care workers earned different average amounts depending on where they resided.

Physical therapists in Mississippi earned the highest average wage of $54.09 per hour, while those in South Dakota took in just $38.66 per hour, on average.

Mississippi also saw the highest average hourly wages for occupational therapists, who earned $54.58 per hour in that state. The lowest spot again went to South Datoka, where occupational therapists took in just $35.27 per hour, on average.

For a speech language pathologist, the highest reported average earnings were $50.24 per hour in Texas; the lowest was $35.13 in Alabama.

Written by Tim Regan

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