Thursday, July 5, 2012

Salary Comparisons Make Me Cry

In NY I make $55-130 per hour, working as a contract/independent therapist (salaried it varies depending on what area of practice you're in). In Israel I got offered 70 SHEKELS as a contract therapist.

And people ask my why I come to America to work. Because as an occupational therapist in Israel, I can't made a decent salary. As a single woman I could support myself-- sharing an apartment, bills, paying for food and transportation. But as a married woman, looking at my salary alone-- it can barely support myself and my husband, forget about any expansion of our family in the future.

As a school-based therapist working for Misrad Hachinuch I made about 55 shekels/hour, which is pretty good. And add in the vacation time and seemingly good hours and it seems like I have it pretty good. However, there were so many other things around it-- all the preparatory work that you do at home (treatment planning, reports, etc.), the continuing ed that you HAVE to go to that takes place in the evenings, the fact that you rarely get to meet with teachers/other staff-- that it was about 55 shekels for every hour that I was at my school (I think); I don't know how many hours I spent on the other things, in continuing ed, etc.

In a hospital that is looking for therapists they pay minimum wage. My husband, working as a security guard, makes that or maybe a shekel or two per hour more. That hospital has an excellent rehab department, which is why therapists are willing to work there, but they work there for a year or two and then leave because the pay is so bad. In a health fund they pay 25 shekels/hour (and just for more comparison-- a family friend who is a doctor get 37 shekels/hour).

Israel has socialized medicine, which is a major part of why healthcare pays so poorly. There is some sort of reform starting, or at least that's the rumor, but if you look at the numbers, something has got to change in order to make the salary in the health care system something that one could live on, as a family and not by working 80-hour workweeks.


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