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Travel Dialysis Tech Jobs: Are Travelers Self-Employed?

Travel dialysis tech jobs allow you to work in several different facilities throughout the year on a temporary basis to fill in for staffing gaps. Since you work in many different places, you might wonder if you’re considered self-employed or an employee as a traveling dialysis technician. This has a huge effect on not only your taxes, but many things about your everyday life. So, it’s important to know the difference and where you fall. Generally, if you work with an agency like AHS RenalStat, you’re an employee and therefore get a W2 at the end of the year. However, that doesn’t mean that every agency out there follows those guidelines. In this article, you’ll learn more about the difference between self-employed and employee statuses as a traveling dialysis technician. 

If you’re ready to start your career as a traveling dialysis professional, contact our recruiters or see our job board now.

What are Travel Dialysis Tech Jobs?

Tax forms for travel dialysis tech jobs.
For most travel dialysis tech jobs, you’re an employee, not self-employed.

First, you might be wondering what travel dialysis tech jobs are. These are jobs where you temporarily work in a particular facility that needs your help. This is generally because of staffing gaps. For instance, common reasons facilities might hire travelers include:

  • Dialysis tech quitting or getting fired
  • A tech taking extended leave
  • Unexpected increase in patients

In these cases, it can take weeks or even months to find a permanent hire to fill the gap.

Also, there may be some situations where there’s a temporary increase in the number of patients. For instance, this is common in warm areas during the winter due to snowbirds traveling from cold places. In these cases, they may only need extra help for a certain period of time. That’s why facilities may hire for travel dialysis tech jobs. 

Travelers are qualified dialysis technicians with some experience under their belt so they can jump in and help as needed. Usually, these assignments last about 13 weeks and travelers move temporarily to the area to work (hence the name travelers). You can find travel dialysis technician jobs practically everywhere, as there’s a nationwide shortage of healthcare workers.

Am I Self-Employed for Travel Dialysis Technician Jobs?

So, for travel dialysis tech jobs, does that mean you’re self-employed? Also known as 1099 employees or independent contractors, these are people who basically work for themselves. Generally speaking, travel dialysis techs are not self-employed. Here’s why: 

The IRS has some pretty strict guidelines around who is considered self-employed. These are people who might work with clients to provide services or products, but have complete control over things like when and how they accomplish them. With self-employed people, the client might have control over the final result, but not what leads to it. Also, self-employed people don’t get benefits like health insurance from the companies they work for. They’re also in charge of when they work, take breaks, and the supplies they use. Basically, it’s like running your own one-person business. 

Self-employed people are in charge of many different things, including negotiating contracts with their clients, invoicing/billing, keeping track of all income and expenses for tax purposes, and finding their own health insurance, liability insurance, and retirement plans. 

However, for travel dialysis tech jobs, you generally don’t have to do any of that if you work with an agency. The agency takes care of negotiating contracts, providing benefits, and other important aspects. Also, keep in mind that even though you have a lot of freedom as a traveler (like which assignments you take and where you go), the facility you work in usually controls when and how you perform your job tasks. So, in most cases, you’re not self-employed as a travel dialysis tech. 

Am I a W2 Employee for Travel Dialysis Tech Jobs?

Most travelers are actually W2 employees of the agency they work with. This means that your employer has control over your work. They also provide things like tax withholding throughout the year, medical insurance benefits, and other key things that require a lot of research and paperwork. In addition, your agency is the one who negotiates the pay for each assignment and is the one who submits your application or resume to the facility. Your recruiter does a lot of the legwork in finding dialysis technician jobs that make sense for you.

As a traveler, this way you can basically just focus on providing the best care to kidney patients during your assignment. It also means you’re an employee, not self-employed. As an employee of the medical staffing agency, you receive a W2 form at the end of the year for your taxes.

Some Agencies Incorrectly Categorize Travelers as Independent Contractors

Now, as we mentioned, most people working for an agency are probably W2 employees based on the IRS guidelines. However, some agencies incorrectly categorize their travelers as independent contractors. This may be done because of a misunderstanding of what an independent contractor is. Sometimes, it’s because hiring independent contractors means saving money for the company. With independent contractors, their clients don’t have to offer things like health insurance and don’t have to do the administrative work to withhold taxes from each check. Therefore, many companies, including medical staffing agencies, try to miscategorize employees as self-employed to save money. 

This is actually illegal. The IRS even has penalties for employers who do this. However, it doesn’t stop many from trying. Remember, the IRS has pretty clear guidelines that suggest most people who take travel dialysis jobs aren’t independent contractors because they don’t control things like schedule and how they perform their duties. 

Why Work with an Agency to Find Dialysis Tech Jobs Instead of Being Self-Employed?

There are several advantages to working with an agency to find travel dialysis jobs. For example, there’s a lot less work involved than working directly with the facilities. Also, many facilities won’t even work with independent dialysis technicians. 

Reduces the Amount of Work and Record-Keeping

As an independent contractor, you’re responsible for a lot of different things. You must find facilities interested in your services, negotiate contracts, and bill them for your pay. Additionally, you must track all taxable income and potential deductions to use at the end of the year. You also have to pay estimated taxes quarterly and also pay annual taxes. Additionally, you’re responsible for finding your own medical insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits that W2 employees generally get through their employer. 

Working with an agency takes care of this for you. So, there’s less research, paperwork, and overall administrative tasks involved. You just focus on what you do best: caring for dialysis patients. 

Ensures You Can Find Dialysis Tech Jobs

Also, many facilities just won’t work with independent contractors to fill travel dialysis tech jobs. It takes a lot of internal resources to hire someone, especially on a temporary basis. That’s why most facilities prefer to work with agencies like AHS RenalStat to help them fill spots for their staffing gaps. Trying to be an independent contractor often means that you’ll struggle to find facilities willing to work with you directly instead of through an agency they trust. 

Travel Dialysis Jobs with AHS RenalStat

If you’re a dialysis technician or nurse, our team at AHS RenalStat is here to help you match with travel jobs that fit your needs. We are a staffing agency specializing in dialysis professionals and work with countless facilities across the nation to provide opportunities for you. Get started today by reaching out to our recruiters, submitting a resume, or looking through our job board