The onset of COVID-19 in the United States, almost overnight, drastically changed our routines. The virus shuttered businesses across the country – some forever – and with that paused or eliminated millions of jobs. Healthcare is no exception. Even as some specialties scramble to meet the needs of an increasing amount of critical care, respiratory patients, others can no longer work at all. Allied health and COVID-19 resulted in a pretty hard hit, especially when it comes to therapy jobs that require face to face patient interaction and physical touch. Not deemed life essential in this particular crisis, many of their services are on hold. However, other jobs saw a huge jump in demand, especially in the travel industry.
Here at AlliedTravelCareers.com, we collected data on job demands and metrics that show the extensive changes happening in allied health since COVID-19 arrived in the United States; more specifically since March 2020. Let’s use this data to take a closer look at the pre and post-COVID-19 job demands and outline just how drastically this pandemic is affecting allied healthcare staffing.
Allied Health and COVID-19 | The Top 5 Most In-demand Travel Jobs Right Now
We saw the biggest jump in respiratory tech travel jobs. They actually increased 241% over normal trends that we see during this time. This is because COVID-19 is an illness that affects the lower respiratory system, so there’s a high demand in anyone who specializes in respiratory treatment.
Registered Respiratory Therapy
The second specialty we saw a huge jump in – a 139% increase – is registered respiratory therapy.
Pharmacist jobs, although not directly related to COVID-19 treatment, increased by 120%. This is likely because across the country, as pharmacists get sick someone will have to come in to replace them.
Pharmacy techs didn’t see as much of an increase in travel jobs as pharmacists did. But, jobs still grew by about 54%.
The fourth specialty where we saw a drastic increase in positions is for dialysis techs. These allied travel jobs increased in demand by 38%. Although this is likely not COVID-19 related directly, keep in mind that there are many specialties that are not considered life-essential right now. Therefore, these jobs aren’t as needed at the moment.
Allied Health and COVID-19 | Specialties Seeing a Decline in Demand
We noticed a significant drop in therapy jobs and certain technician jobs. For example, in just one month’s time (March 1st 2020 – April 1st, 2020) we’ve seen the following changes:
- Speech therapy – 34% less
- Physical therapy – 28% less
- Occupational therapy – 18% less
- Physical therapy assistant – 14% less
- Occupational therapy assistants – 3% less
However, there are specialties such as phlebotomy, which is not trending upward or downward but remains as in demand as it always has.
Where Are Crisis Areas?
Some areas are more in demand than others when it comes to needed travel healthcare workers. Travelers can keep an eye on jobs in what the government is designating crisis hotspots. Certain cities like New York, New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago are struggling more than others, as are states like New Jersey, California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
What are travel rates like for Allied Health and COVID-19?
Travel rates for travel healthcare workers are drastically increasing. In both allied health and nursing, rates are doubling, and some agencies are offering generous sign on bonuses to get help where it is needed. Rates vary depending on specialty and location, so you could reach out to agencies in order to find out what they are offering.
How to Sign up to Help
If you are ready to sign up and help treat COVID-19 patients, it is easy! All you have to do is fill out this basic application, and it will send it to all jobs you are qualified for. Agencies will call you to get you started!
How to Stay Safe on the Job
No matter how much money you can make or how badly you want to help, it’s also equally important to pay attention to how you can protect yourself on assignment. The best thing you can do is follow the instructions provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and to make sure to get a clear description from your agency of what will happen to your contract and housing should you get sick during your assignment. Also, keep in mind that although the federal government is directing the country to an extent, many COVID-19 rules are happening at a state level. Demand, procedure, and the extend of social distancing may differ from assignment to assignment. It is important to check with each state’s department of health to get accurate information.
We know this is a very uncertain time for everyone. We are all scrambling to meet these new job demands and to make adjustments to regulations and policy. If you have any additional questions about traveling during this crisis, please reach out to us and we’ll do our best to get you answers.
Thank You Allied Health Workers!