For physical therapists with lingering student loan debt, taking on extra work on the side is a great way to pay down loans. According to a 2020 American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) survey, physical therapists leave school with an average of $142,489 student loan debt overall, and $116,183 if you only include the debt from the PT program. Compare that to a physical therapist’s average salary of $71,624.
Adding a side hustle can help raise your income, even temporarily, to allow you to pay off debt faster. Choosing side gigs within the PT career field is the simplest option, but other side hustles exist that focus on skills outside of your daily work.
Here’s a look at some of the best options for physical therapy side hustles available right now.
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8 ways to make extra money as a physical therapist
The best way to make extra money as a physical therapist is to put your existing PT skills to use. You spent several years in college to become a physical therapist, so tapping into your existing knowledge and experience is your best bet to make top-dollar on your days off.
Here are eight ways to leverage your PT career to make extra money.
1. Pick up extra physical therapy shifts
There might be opportunities to pick up extra hours with your employee or at other local medical facilities. This is especially helpful if you get a higher pay rate for overtime hours. You can try to land PRN physical therapy and be on-call to fill in as needed.
2. Provide telehealth services
In the age of social distancing, receiving remote medical services has become more popular. You can start your own telehealth practice, but the less expensive option is to join an existing business that offers telehealth physical therapy services.
3. Become a physical therapy consultant
You can also put your expertise to use as a consultant. Companies that sell PT products and services rely on physical therapists to provide insight, especially those with extensive knowledge or experience in specialized areas of PT.
4. Offer home therapy services
You can also find more PT work providing in-home services for individuals looking for therapy and rehab care. Several companies exist that offer on-demand home physical therapy. Other home health care work, like working as a home health aide, could also be an option that requires little to no extra training.
Physical therapist side gigs
5. Become a personal trainer
Your unique skill set also makes you a great candidate to offer personal therapy on the side. You can probably do this without any extra training, although some employers may require personal training certification.
6. Become a first aid course instructor
Physical therapists can also make extra money teaching first aid and CPR to other people. You’ll need to get certified to teach CPR, which is available through the American Red Cross.
Red Cross instructors are responsible for teaching more than nine million people CPR and other life-saving skills each year. Becoming a certified first aid instructor is a great side gig you can do on your weekend and evenings off.
7. Get into healthcare and physical therapy freelance writing
Your expertise also gives you a unique perspective and voice that you can turn into work as a freelance writer. The healthcare niche offers several opportunities to write about physical therapy and other health-related topics.
Freelance writing is a side hustle that you can do remotely from anywhere. It’s also a great option because you can fit in freelance work at any time during your off-hours.
8. Start a blog focused on physical therapy
Similar to freelance writing, you can start your own physical therapy-related blog. It can sometimes take time to build a blog enough to make money. You can earn passive income through advertising and affiliate marketing. Your blog can also be a vehicle to sell digital products (an online course, ebooks, etc.) or serve as a profile to land freelance work on other sites.
Side hustles outside of physical therapy
Of course, there are always ways to make money outside of physical therapy and adjacent career fields. You can drive for companies like Uber and Lyft, make deliveries with Door Dash and other food delivery companies, or create an Etsy store to sell physical and digital products. Being a reseller is another popular side gig to make cash on the side.
The reality, though, is that these types of side hustles don’t typically generate the same income available by simply picking up extra shifts doing physical therapy work. Yes, some people build very successful side hustles that generate significant revenue. But for many, it’s not worth the time and effort to learn new skills and a new business.
These types of side gigs may be a good option if you’re looking for a new opportunity as a break from your day-to-day work or want to turn a hobby into cash.
Put your extra income to good use
Whether you choose something in physical therapy or put other skills to use, side hustles are a great way to pay down debt or reach other financial and life goals.
Have a goal in mind to fuel your extra work, or you’ll likely burn out. You can use the money to pay down your student loans, build up retirement, or save toward other goals like a home down payment or funding a wedding.
If your primary goal is to get out of student loan debt, refinancing your physical therapy loans can reduce your debt, considerably, if you qualify for a low interest rate.
Are you a physical therapist with a side hustle that earns you extra income? Let us know what you’re doing to make extra money so that other physical therapists can do the same.