After 6 years as a traveling PT and obtaining licenses in 11 states, I have learned some lessons the hard way. In an effort to make it easier for the next generation, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
1) Maintain your license in your home state. Even if you rarely work there, this helps support your cause if the IRS decides to question your tax free earnings. It’s a smart move to earn some income in your home state every so often as well. (See Joseph Smith’s blogs on this community for more tax tips.)
2) Create some commonly used documents in the application process and keep them up to date. Make a folder on your computer for “state licensure”. Some files that will be helpful are listed below. These can be in either and Excel spreadsheet or a Word document table.
a. Employment History – start and end date, address, supervisor’s name and phone number, agency name, etc
b. Licensure History: State license number, date obtained, current or expired
c. A record of license expiration dates, renewal CEU requirements, and phone and addresses of the state licensing boards. (You can also organize your Favorites folders in your web browser to include all websites needed for licensing and verifications.)
3) I have uploaded a few files that you can use as templates on Healthcare Travelbook. You can find them at http://healthcaretravelbook.com/files.
4) Be nice. Sometimes you need to grease the wheels to push a license application through. Making a “friend” at the license board is sometimes the best way. Write their name down and thank them. (you might even send their boss a kudos for their professionalism, even if they weren’t so professional. They will remember you and be even more helpful when you need a license verification sent from them to another state. This has worked in some desperate situations!)
5) The good, the bad, the ugly: (good = easy to get a license)
a. Good states: North Carolina, Alabama, Wyoming, Oregon, Vermont, and Texas
b. Bad states: Wisconsin, South Carolina
6) Ugly states: New Hampshire, Washington. New Hampshire is the worst by far! Consider going to Vermont or Maine before attempting this one! I can almost promise delays and frustration! Once you do finally get a license there, it’s beautiful year round.
7) Keep your pistols loaded: Have envelopes, stamps, and pre-written letters on your computer. Pull the file, change the date, print, then send – prevent delays from having to stop to buy supplies. Time can be valuable when you begin the licensure process.
8) Use on-line services for transcripts, verifications, exam scores, etc. whenever possible.
9) Expect delays and account for them BEFORE they start! Be persistent but “nice”!
When just starting, it seems like a endless mountain to climb. But it gets easier as you streamline your system. Obviously the more states you travel to, the more verifications you will need to request when applying for a new state. Verifications for me range from $10 to $50. With 11 of them required (and counting!) this can add up quickly.
Good luck and TRAVEL ON!
Wes Herdlein is a Traveling PT and Founder of HealthcareTravelbook.com