PT vs. OT: Choosing Your Path in Travel Healthcare


Michelle Ravanera | June 26th, 2024

So you’re a healthcare traveler looking to embark on a rewarding career helping people recover and regain independence! But with two exciting options like physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT), deciding which path is best can be tricky. This guide will break down the essentials of PT vs. OT to empower you to make an informed decision.

What is Physical Therapy (PT)?

PT focuses on improving your movement, mobility, and overall physical function. Physical therapists utilize various techniques like exercises, stretches, manual therapy, and modalities (heat, ultrasound) to help patients achieve their goals.

Common PT settings:

  • Hospitals (rehabilitation)
  • Outpatient clinics (sports injuries, post-surgical care)
  • Home health

Is PT a good fit for you?

  • You enjoy working with the body’s mechanics and movement.
  • You find fulfillment in helping people regain physical strength and manage pain.
  • You thrive in a fast-paced environment where progress is often visible.

What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?

OT takes a holistic approach, aiming to help patients regain their ability to perform everyday activities (occupations) independently. This can involve self-care tasks like bathing and dressing, work or school routines, and even leisure activities.

Common OT settings:

  • Hospitals (rehabilitation, pediatrics)
  • Schools (children with developmental delays)
  • Skilled nursing facilities (helping patients with ADLs)

Is OT a good fit for you?

  • You’re passionate about helping people live their lives to the fullest despite limitations.
  • You enjoy working with a wide range of patients, from children to geriatrics.
  • You have a creative mind and enjoy finding solutions to adapt daily living tasks.

The Final Choice

Both PT and OT are in high demand within travel healthcare, offering diverse work experiences and excellent earning potential. Ultimately, the best path depends on your interests and career goals. Consider these questions:

  • Do you prefer a more physical focus on movement or a broader approach to daily living?
  • What patient population are you drawn to helping?
  • What kind of work environment excites you?

By reflecting on these factors, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the travel healthcare path that perfectly aligns with your passions and skills.


Ready to take the next step? Research PT and OT programs, explore travel healthcare agencies specializing in these fields, and don’t hesitate to connect with experienced PTs and OTs to gain valuable insights!


If you aren’t already heading to your next assignment, let’s chat! 😊

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