Are you a physical, occupational or speech-language pathologist thinking about travel therapy? Have you wondered “how do I become a traveling therapist?” Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the travel therapy industry.
What is travel therapy?
“Travel Therapy” refers to the industry that places therapists in short-term, temporary contracts across the United States. Commonly, travel therapists are used to fill short-term needs due to a staffing shortages and medical leaves.
The concept behind hiring a traveling clinician is that they are experienced in the setting and job expectations and have clinical skills that can allow them to begin work immediately with brief on the job training.
How do I become a Traveling Therapist?
Briefly, you get started as a traveling therapist by looking for a short term assignment through a temporary staffing agency. There are hundreds of temporary staffing agencies. For some tips on how to find an agency read HERE.
Once you find an agency you will need to work directly with a recruiter. Your recruiter will collect your work history, license information, needs and provide you with information about jobs available. When a job interests you, your recruiter will submit you to it via the agency.
After you are submitted to the job, a the facility decides if they want to pursue an interview with you. Then, you can complete a phone interview with the building manager. Finally, if a building offers you the job, you generally have a couple of hours to a few days to make a decision if you want to take it or not.
If you take a job, then you are off to your next assignment. If you do not, then you have to continue submitting and interviewing with jobs until you find one that works.
Which Settings Can I work in as a Travel Therapist?
Practically all setting utilize travel therapists! Acute care, long-term acute care, inpatient rehab, skilled nursing facilities, home health, schools and outpatient clinics.
How Long is a Travel Contract?
Contracts are generally 13 weeks in length for medical settings and 9 months for schools, although the duration may vary. A traveler may be offered an “extension” for a standard 13 week contract. This could extend your time at that location to 26 weeks or more.
What is a “Recruiter” and an “Agency”?
The three main parties are involved in a short-term contract; the clinician, the client and an intermediary party referred to as an agency. The agency is the in-between person who hires a clinician and coordinates a job between a clinician and a client. The clinician primarily works with an agency to secure a travel therapy job. While a clinician works for an agency, his/her main and possibly only contact to the agency is through the recruiter. In the world of travel therapy a recruiter is like your agent. This is the person that is going to place you with a job and try to sell your skills to a client.
How Do I Find Housing as a Traveling Therapist?
Housing can be a challenge for traveling therapists. Some agencies will provide housing specialists to locate or help you locate temporary housing. Networking and online resources are also helpful. For a list of online resources please check out: How to Find Short-Term Housing for 13-Week Travel Contracts
What Happens after the 13 are over? Do I automatically get another job?
At the end of 13 weeks(or longer if you extend) you are a free agent. You do not work for a specified company or agency when the 13 weeks are over. There is no guaranteed work in travel therapy. Depending on your specialty and state licenses, you may go for long periods of time without work and thus with out compensation.
Have questions of your own? Post in the comments below 🙂
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