Guest Author: Wes Herdlein – The Do’s and Don’ts of PT Licensure

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travel physical therapist at deskAfter 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

Find local services during your travel PT job with Thumbtack.com

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Thumbtack.comWhen you are on the road during a travel physical therapy job your company is going to handle a lot of life’s little headaches for you, like plumbing problems (yuck!) or setting you up with furniture in your housing.

But there are still bound to be issues that you encounter that you will need to help with. For instance do you know where you would go in a new city to have your computer fixed or watch your dog?

Or what if you just want a massage or need guitar lessons? 

With Thumbtack.com you can easily find people providing these services in the cities your travel physical therapy assignment is in.

Using the site is easy. Here are the basics:

  1. Sign up with your email address and Zipcode – make sure to add new or change your locations if your next assignment takes you to another city
  2. You can search for a service you need (and they have great customized search tools) or post a request using their Personal Concierge Service and they will find someone who provides it for you within 24 hours
  3. And if you want, you can set up your own service to provide and market yourself, although that may be tough for a traveler. However, if you can make money from properly fitting running shoes on the road or sharing that hidden drawing skill while you are on the road why not set one up.

Also, like all good sites like this they have good privacy options that let you set the visibility levels of your profile.

At the very least if you don’t set up your own profile you can browse the services provided in your state (these are listed at the bottom of the site) to find the contact info and web addresses of the businesses on Thumbtack.com, which could make your next assignment easier if you need to find a trusted service quickly.

So check it out.

Under the Same Woof: Take Your Pets With On Your Next Travel Therapy Assignment

Traveling to your next travel therapy job without your furry friends would make things seem incomplete. There’s nothing better than coming home from a hard days work and having your four-legged friend meet you at the door, especially if you’re away from home. Having them along with you during your assignment would help give your new routine some semblance to actually being home, and there’s no reason you can’t bring them.

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Traveling to your next travel therapy job without your furry friends would make things seem incomplete. There’s nothing better than coming home from a hard days work and having your four-legged friend meet you at the door, especially if you’re away from home. Having them along with you during your assignment would help give your new routine some semblance to actually being home, and there’s no reason you can’t bring them. Most agencies will do what they can to accommodate you and your pets, but double-check with your recruiters and the companies you may be researching to ensure that it is allowed. I can imagine if you work for one that does not permit this, you may want to venture out and find a new agency to work with.

Start by talking with your recruiter, they are the best resource to anything you may have questions about regarding your assignments. Tell them that you want to bring along Fido and let them take care of the rest. In most cases, housing can be found that will allow pets, but you may have to pay a little extra for a pet deposit and so forth. It all depends on the location and the housing available, in larger cities it is fairly easy to find places that welcome pets, but in smaller, more rural locations, you may have difficulty. It all depends.

Take your pets with to your next travel therapy job.
Traveling with pets is easy.

When you have your new therapy job lined up, it’s wise to take a little extra time to carefully plan your trip since you’ll be traveling with your pet(s), especially if you are traveling by car. If you plan on flying, definitely check with the airlines ahead of time – there are sure to be some guidelines you’ll have to follow regarding traveling pets.

If you browse the internet and search for “traveling with pets,” you will find a number of great sites and services out there to assist you, either in mapping out a route that is pet friendly or just best practices. One such site is Pets On the Go, which has listings of  everything from B&B’s to major hotel chains that welcome pets.  You’ll also find great travel tips and links to things you can buy for your pets related to traveling.

Another good site to check out is, SureFit.net. They offer a product called, Auto Friends. It’s a hammock-like slip cover that lays over top of your back seat and prevents your pets from sliding should you hit the brakes quickly. It also protects your upholstery from stains and such and is easy to clean and maintain. The site also released a list of the top 10 destinations for traveling with pets.

1. New York City – Between winding trails, off-leash hours and fenced-in dog parks, NYC’s Central Park is the perfect pet hang-out. Plus, pet daycare can be found in nearly every Big Apple neighborhood.
2. Chicago – Dogs are welcome on canine cruises at Chicago’s Navy Pier, and the Windy City is home to a number of pet resorts and patio restaurants that welcome furry friends.
3. Boston – Pooches are welcome to tour Boston Harbor by boat, and dogs are welcome to take the subway.
4. Houston – Local pet lovers praise Barnaby’s Cafe, where pets aren’t just welcome, they’re given their own cardboard bowl to dine from while their owners grab a bite.
5. San Francisco – The city by the bay offers plenty of pet-friendly dining, off-leash beaches, and outdoor areas. Take your dog for a stroll across the Golden GateBridge — or even bring him along on a cable-car ride!
6. Austin – Besides outdoor cafes and off-leash parks, Austin residents tout the Zilker Botanical Gardens and Congress Street Bats as great places for local dogs (and dog-owners).
7. Washington (and its suburb Alexandria, Va.) – Both areas feature plenty of pet-friendly restaurants and parks.
8. Portland, Ore. – The Lucky Labrador restaurant chain is famously pet-friendly. Pets are also invited to visit the Rose Gardens and Saturday outdoor market.
9. Charleston – Bring your pet along on a walking tour of historic Charleston, whether it’s a daytime stroll through Magnolia Plantation or a nighttime ghost tour of the city’s haunted haunts.
10. Ann Arbor – Pets are welcome to frolic in many of the city’s outdoor spaces, including the Nichols Arboretum, a large botanical garden at the University of Michigan.
So you should be ready now to hit the road with furry friends, don’t forget the treats! Bone voyage!

Travel physical therapy company reviews – thumbs up or thumbs down?

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thumbs upWe have seen a lot of traffic coming to Rehab and Therapy Jobs.comlooking for information on who the best traveling physical therapy companies to work for are.

That’s why we built our own easy to use travel physical therapy company review tool (you can find under “Travel PT Career Guide”). It allows you to see what companies other travel PTs think are the best.

We used a simple interface; if you like a company give it a “thumbs up”, if you don’t give it a “thumbs down”.

We attempted to add all the best travel therapy companies in the industry, but we may have missed some, so if your company isn’t there click the green briefcase to get it added.

This tool will only be as good as the people participating in it. The more travel physical therapists nurses that that rate companies the better it will be, so if you are your company’s biggest fan or had a terrible experience give them a “thumbs up” or vice-versa.

What to expect as a new grad moving into a travel physical therapy career

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s a physical therapist new grad or one approaching graduation in the coming year you may find your friends and family starting to ask a lot of questions. Questions like:

  • Where you are going to work?
  • How much are you going to make?
  • What do you want to focus on?
  • How are you going to pay off your school loans?

If you are facing similar questions, I came across a great article from a physical therapist after his first year as a travel PT that you may find helpful. He had similar questions before he started down his career path, so if you are considering a career in travel physical therapy yourself it is definitely worth reading. You can find it here.

Here are some of the highlights:

Before you start you will need to:

  • Be prepared to be met with skepticism from professors concerning the experience and environment they think are needed for new grads
  • Keep an open mind to their warnings, but also to the possibilities of a travel career
  • You will realize the benefits of a traveling physical therapy are great for new grads
  • Be prepared with questions be afraid to ask them of the travel physical therapy companies, it is your career we’re talking about

After you start you will:

  • Learn that a travel PT career allows for great control over your post education education (the stuff you learn that they don’t teach you in school)
  • Realize that the risks everyone warned you about probably won’t happen
  • Have the ability to control your environment much better than a single job lets you
  • Be exposed to different management and clinical operation strategies making you a more well rounded therapist
  • Find that a travel physical therapy job offers great compensation thanks to high starting salary, real hourly pay and tax-free housing and living allowances, which means you can pay down your student loans faster
  • Get great benefits including health and dental insurance, as well as access to a company 401k plans
  • Enjoy the chance to take 1-2 week breaks between assignments made even more possible by high pay

So give the article a read and remember there are tons of opportunities out there to begin your physical therapy career.

On an assignment is no time to get ill.

No, we’re not talking about the Beastie Boys, we are talking about your health and well being. As a traveling therapist you are well aware of that certain something that it takes to be a successful traveler. You must have the right personality to be able to jump right in and be confident in your skills, no matter where you are. You must be able to adapt quickly, for many surprises can arise… And one that most therapists are never ready for are illnesses and being away from home can make the situation seem much worse. You’re not able to enjoy the comforts of your home like you’re use to and to make matters worse, you may not have anyone available to you to look in on you or bring you anything you may need from the pharmacy or store, for like say some Hawaiian Punch (it’s not a sick day without it)!

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No, we’re not talking about the Beastie Boys, we are talking about your health and well being. As a traveling therapist you are well aware of that certain something that it takes to be a successful traveler. You must have the right personality to be able to jump right in and be confident in your skills, no matter where you are. You must be able to adapt quickly, for many surprises can arise… And one that most therapists are never ready for are illnesses and being away from home can make the situation seem much worse. You’re not able to enjoy the comforts of your home like you’re use to and to make matters worse, you may not have anyone available to you to look in on you or bring you anything you may need from the pharmacy or store, for like say some Hawaiian Punch (it’s not a sick day without it)! So what are some things you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick while on the job? Here are a few suggestions:

  • There are many things you need to do prior to leaving and a lot of time people forget to prepare themselves and their bodies as well. Packing, paperwork and all the various things you need to do before you leave can be taxing on the mind and body, so be sure and get plenty of rest leading up to your departure, this will help you stay energized, and ready and able to adjust to your new schedule .
  • Try and stick to your normal routine. If you exercise for instance, keep the same schedule so that you’re not shocking your body. This too can lead to unneeded stress.
  • Here’s an easy one. Wash your hands! Use hand sanitizers too!
  • If you’re on any medications, bring them along with you and make sure you are connected to a pharmacy with a nationwide network in case you need them filled at any time during your traveling assignment.
  • Make sure you have your recruiters contact information handy at all times. In the unfortunate event of an emergency they can be contacted and relay your health insurance information and any other pertinent information needed so that you will receive the proper care. Also, always have your other emergency contacts with you – just in case.

If you so happen to be employed at a hospital, it should be fairly easy to get the care you need.  If not and you’re not sure where to turn there are a number of resources you can use to find the medical attention that you need. If you’re so sick and can’t get there by yourself you can use an in-home doctor service like InnHouseDoctor, Physician Finders at WebMD and  Find A Doc. My wish is that you never have to use these services or seek any medical attention while out enjoying the experiences of being a traveling therapist… but you just never know, so being prepared can never hurt. Good luck out there and safe travels to you all.

If you have any other suggestions for those on the road seeking medical advice or care, please share them in our comment section below.