There’s No Need To Go It Alone, Take the Clan With You

The possibilities are endless with a traveling therapy career and having your family along with you can easily be a part of it. With limitless locations to choose from, experiences a plenty and the rewards that are constant, it would be a shame not to share that with the ones you are closest with, your immediate family. Relocating with the entire family, including any pets you have may seem like a chore, but working with the right staffing agency can prove you wrong. When it comes to traveling with your loved ones an attentive traveling allied health agency will ask you what is most important to you and your family, like the best schools in the area, what locales are best for raising a family and so on.By relaying to your recruiter what priorities you have for your family and moving will insure a pleasurable experience to be had by all.

The possibilities are endless with a traveling therapy career and having your family along with you can easily be a part of it. With limitless locations to choose from, experiences a plenty and the rewards that are constant, it would be a shame not to share that with the ones you are closest with, your immediate family. Relocating with the entire family, including any pets you have may seem like a chore, but working with the right staffing agency can prove you wrong.  When it comes to traveling with your loved ones an attentive traveling allied health agency will ask you what is most important to you and your family, like the best schools in the area, what locales are best for raising a family and so on. By relaying to your recruiter what priorities you have for your family and moving will insure a pleasurable experience to be had by all.

Wherever it is you choose to go with your travel therapy career, a great staffing agency will suggest a number of locations that will fill the needs of you and your family. Whether you want to venture across the country or just a few hours from your present home, your recruiter should be able to find exactly what you wish for.  One of the many benefits associated with a traveling therapy career is the paid private housing. You can either let your agency find your next home with enough room for everyone at a discount since most agencies will only pay for your own living quarters,  or use the housing stipend which you could apply to locating your own housing to accommodate your entire family.

While most travel therapy assignments usually will last at least 13 weeks with the probability of an extension or two; bringing the whole family along is more possible than you originally thought. On an extended assignment, your kids could continue their schooling by placing them in local schools or if your assignment is shorter, there is always the option of home schooling. If you and your spouse are both traveling therapists, you could adjust your schedules  so there’s a parent always present and you could trade times in providing the teaching or at least be the mode of transportation. With a traveling therapy job there’s always an option. Having a family with kids and pets should never be a deterrent from pursing a rewarding career in travel therapy.

Can you just imagine the benefits of exposing your children to the many different people and places across the nation?  It’s as if your job has become a working vacation for all those involved! I remember all the road trips my dad I took together and can say it was most memorable and am glad we got to be up close and personal with our experiences rather than just hopping on a plane and getting to the next destination. There’s a little lost in those types of adventures. Wouldn’t you like your children to look back and think that they’ve grown into the person they are because of all the people and places they got to meet and see for themselves? I think so.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 6 – Finding Your Travel Therapy Recruiter.

One of the most important things you are going to do during your travel therapy career is build a relationship with a recruiter. A good recruiter is going to be your guide through this process and someone you can rely on to help you through any rough patches you may go through during your travel therapy job. They should:

  • feel like your friendtravel therapy recruiter
  • be knowledgeable resource about the industry 
  • be easily accessible, especially if you are new to your travel therapy career

But if you are a more experienced travel therapist you may feel that you have enough experience dealing with the ins and outs of the travel therapy process, like state certifications or setting up housing, and not need to rely on your recruiter as much.

No matter which relationship level you prefer it helps to know ahead of time when you are talking to different travel therapy companies how they are structured so you will  know what kind of relationship is possible. Some travel therapy agencies are built location first while others are built relationship first.

What does that mean? If the company is built location first then the recruiters will be internally structured to assigned states, which means that depending on what you state you want in a travel therapy job who your recruiter is may change based on that. This set up usually means that your recruiter will also be the one contacting the hospitals, skilled nursing facilities or home health companies on your behalf. Which can have some advantages, but also means they will have less time to devote to you.

However, if  the company is built relationship first you will be assigned a recruiter who will be with you through your entire time with them. This structure means that the company is probably split in some form between recruiters and a client manager who deals with the healthcarefacilities, homehelath providers, hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. This lets the recruiters focus on you and not have to do two different jobs.

This is definitely an area to look into when you choose your travel therapy company and recruiter.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 5 – Weighing your housing options

The next thing you are going to want to think about in planning your travel therapy assignment is your housing options.

First off you need to decide if you are even going to need housing. If you have decided that you are going to work an assignment that is within an hour of your home then you can opt to receive a housing stipend instead of worrying about setting up housing. But if you are going to need housing you basically have two options.

1. Have the travel therapy company find you your housing
or
2. Take a housing stipend and find your own housing

Having the travel therapy company find you your housing has its pros and cons, but most of the better companies will provide it for you if you want it. One of the main benefits of having the travel therapy company find it for you is that it becomes one less thing you have to worry about. They also have the expertise, time, knowledge of the area and established relationships that may allow them to get discounts you may not be able to get on your own, so they may be able to find you better accommodations than you could on your own.

But on the flipside there is an element of unknown when someone else chooses where you are going to live for the next 3-6 months. Here are some key questions you should ask regarding housing if you go with the company provided housing to avoid surprises.

Who pays for?

  • Rent
  • Moving Expenses
  • Utilities (check if there is a monthly allowance and which ones are covered by the company, including cable and internet)
  • Deposit (if there is one)

Will the housing be?

  • Close to my hospital (check on your own using Google Maps)
  • An extended stay, apartment, duplex or  house
  • Located in a safe location
  • Private
  • Furnished with basics like a bed, chair, microwave, television, TV stand, washer & dryer, etc. (find out what you will need to bring if anything)
  • Equipped with things like plates, utensils, pots and pans, towels, etc. (again find out what you will need to bring)
  • Big or small (ask about the square footage so you are not surprised when you get there)
  • Central Air 

Can I bring?

  • My Spouse/Significant Other or Roommate
  • Pet

When can I?

  • Move in
  • Move out

Now if you decide instead to take a housing stipend and set up your own housing or stay with family or friends who live near your travel therapy assignment, you will receive a monthly stipend to cover your costs so if you enjoy spartan living or already have housing with a family member or friend you can really use this as an opportunity to make some extra money. If you have to set up own travel therapy housing it will require some leg work and a fairly big time commitment to set it up. But here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  If it’s too good to be true then it probably is.  Stay away from renting from individual owners.  It’s a better idea to go with a property management company that has to follow HUD rules and regulations.  Our experience with individual owners has been that some, not all, like to keep money from deposits to continue work or updates on their rentals. 

2. Make sure you ask about fees and deposits.  Normally anything named a fee, like a Pet Fee, or Administration Fee are non refundable.  Deposits are usually fully refundable if there are no damages.  Some places charge deposits but then automatically take money from that deposit for the clean at move out.  Therefore if you ask up front you will know exactly what to expect at move out. 

3. Always get pictures if possible.  If you have pictures of your unit before you move in, then you can make sure to take pictures at move out.  Therefore you are not charged for any damages that aren’t yours. 

4. Double check your lease.  Even after discussing on the phone the rent, lease term and other items the lease could come back differently.  Look over dates, rent amount, fees, day that rent is due, notice to vacate, utilities or any items included in the rent, and who is responsible for maintenance, yard care, and snow removal.   Knowing all these things up front will save you a lot of time when something goes wrong.

5. There are a lot of rental websites out there.  A couple favorites are Apartments.com, Apartment Guide.com, Rent.com, ForRent.com, and MyNewPlace.com.  In smaller towns Google Map the town and then search for apartments.  In smaller towns you may also have to reference the paper and chamber of commerce.  Once finding an apartment you can look up furniture companies online at Yahoo Yellow Pages.  Enter furniture rental and these are one of your best resources as far as quality and location of the apartments you are looking in to.  They live there and deliver furniture to these places so don’t hesitate to ask their opinion.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 4 – Know who’s going with you.

If you are planning on traveling far from home for your short-term therapy contract job, then a lot of decisions you will need to make in your travel rehab career will depend on who is coming with you if anyone. This is why it is important to evaluate if you are going to be traveling alone or with someone.

If you are planning on traveling far from home for your short-term therapy contract job, then a lot of decisions you will need to make in your travel rehab career will depend on who is coming with you if anyone. This is why it is important to evaluate if you are going to be traveling alone or with someone.

Is your spouse or significant other is coming with you? A lot of this depends on either the stage of life your spouse is in and/or their occupation. If they stay at home, are retired, have a seasonal job, like a teacher, or a mobile job like a freelance graphic designer, it is going to be easy for them to travel with you and can make your travel therapy job a lot more fun to take someone with you. And if it is your first travel therapy assignment it may be nice to have the comfort of a loved one with you as you get used to the change.

What about your kids? Obviously this depends a lot on your situation and their age since childcare and school is always a concern, but if your spouse or another family member is coming with you it is going to be easier to arrange for your kids to come with you, since they will probably be able to watch them and maybe even home school them. And if it your assignment is during the summer months then imagine the learning and fun opportunities waiting for them in a new town for three months.

Don’t forget about pets. Taking them along with you is also a great way to prevent getting lonely during a travel therapy assignment.

You can also try to travel with another travel therapist if you can both find assignments in the same hospital or skilled nursing facility or at least in the same city. This is a great option for first time travelers if it works out, since you can both help each other out with the new challenges that a travel therapy job can present, like being away from home and having to learn fast on the job.

Or you can go alone, which is the norm and offers so many advantages too, like the chance to do what you want to do in your free time, the chance to be by yourself and reflect and of course to take a “workation” and just get away from it all.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 3 – Know how long you want to work.

Short-term travel rehab and therapy jobs normally last 13 weeks, but many hospitals and skilled nursing facilities prefer to have longer contracts for their travelers. But overall the length of the time can vary, but what is most important is that you as a travel therapist know what you want. Are you looking for a series of short-term travel assignments all across the country that let you see and experience a bunch of new places or are you looking for a travel therapy job that is more stable and lets you stay close to your family and home.

Short-term travel rehab and therapy jobs normally last 13 weeks, but some hospitals and skilled nursing facilities prefer to have longer contracts for their travelers like 26 weeks. But overall the length of the time can vary, but what is most important is that you as a travel therapist know what you want. 

Are you looking for a series of short-term travel assignments all across the country that let you see and experience a bunch of new places or are you looking for a travel therapy job that is more stable and lets you stay close to your family and home. 

If it is your first travel therapy assignment you may want to keep it short with an option to extend, especially if you are going to be working away from home. On the other hand if you are working close to home there is nothing stopping you from working a longer contract or extending multiple times. Whatever you decide is going to be best for your travel rehab career, make sure you let your recruiter know up front so they can work to find you the assignment that is the best fit for you.

Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 2 – Know where you want to go.

The second thing you need to do in the process of starting your travel rehab and therapy career is determine where you want to work. Just as figuring out why you want to travel will play an important role in a lot of the future decisions you will make as a traveling therapist (regarding your career), so will where you want to go.

The second thing you need to do in the process of starting your travel rehab and therapy career is determine where you want to work. Just as figuring out why you want to travel will play an important role in a lot of the future decisions you will make as a traveling therapist (regarding your career), so will where you want to go.

Here are some basic questions you can ask yourself to help determine where you want to go:

  • Are you interested in travel for travel’s sake?
  • Are you looking to get back close to family or friends?
  • Are there certain facilities you want to work in?
  • Do you have a favorite sports team you want to work near so you can see all the home games?
  • Do you have a hobby that can only be done in a certain part of the country? Like lighthouse tours? Or mountain climbing?

Here are some good websites to help you out too:

The choices are limitless, there are open rehab and therapy jobs all across the country so take some time to evaluate where you are in regards to this step and keep an eye out for the next installment of “Your Travel Therapy Career Step-by-Step”, where we will look at how long you want to be a travel therapist.