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.
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 friend
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.
When you start looking for a travel therapy job one great place to start are job boards and application portals that let you apply to multiple travel rehab and therapy companies at once.
Job boards are excellent if you are looking for a specific job in an area. That way you can choose to work with travel therapy companies that have jobs that meet your criteria, without wasting time getting to know a company and recruiter only to find out that they don’t have a job you want.
Meanwhile the application portal is a great option if you are just getting your feet wet in a travel therapy career and looking for a company for the first time. They are also a good way to shop around for a new travel therapy company without having to visit a bunch of websites or call a bunch of companies. Why? Because when you put your resume or information on one of these boards the companies will call you. Trust me. So make sure to use an email address or phone number that you don’t mind being contacted at. i.e. not your work account or phone.
But if you do want to be more selective, some travel therapy application portals let you select which companies you want to work with. And also keep in mind that not every company is on every job board so if you rely on these solely to fine your next travel therapy company you may miss out on some really good companies too.
Some good job boards and application portals in the travel therapy industry are:
Don’t look now, but Thanksgiving is right around the corner… With Christmas soon to follow. Hopefully you’re lucky enough to be home or at least be with family and friends during this time but if you’re not, don’t get down on yourself. There are many ways in which you can spend this time and it can make for some great memories.
Unfortunately being a traveler may mean you might miss those treasured holidays that you’re use to spending with those near and dear. It’s just part of the job. So why not make the most of your situation. Hopefully you’ve been working long enough that you’ve made some solid connections with those you work with and maybe even those you’ve met out and about. Perhaps there are a number of you in the same boat and have no where to go, so why not invite a few of your coworkers and others for a bit of a potluck. Everyone can contribute to the meal and it will surely bring you that much closer to one another. Afterall, travel therapy and rehab jobs is the perfect way to meet new people and this is certainly one way to do just that.
If hosting a party of sorts is not your bag, you can certainly spend your time helping others and being thankful for everything you have that others might not. If you have a computer with an internet connection handy, why not look up some places where you can volunteer your time helping serve dinner to those less fortunate? Or you can set up a canned food drive at your work to donate to a local food bank or other charity. There’s no better feeling than knowing you can help brighten another persons day by simply being a friendly face or just offering an hour of your time. I’ve done it myself and the rewards are far greater than coming home with a plate full of leftovers.
You see, you don’t have to be alone over Thanksgiving. There are so many ways you can spend your time while being thankful for all that you have. If you remember what these times are all about, it won’t seem so bad that you’re not able to share that with those you normally do.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out the local rag for parades and other seasonal festivities.
Here are a few sites that can point you in the right direction for volunteering opportunities.
VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.
SERVEnet.org is a website that mobilizes and empowers the volunteer service community to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing local communities.
Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.