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Traveling the country for work may sound like a dream to you. Getting to move around to new places every couple of months and explore this vast countryside seems pretty exciting. However, as SLPs, we tend to be more of the organized, type A personalities who like to overthink and plan out everything. So, the idea of traveling for work may be something that you are problem-solving and organizing months to years in advance. You may have this lingering question on your mind: Is now a good time to be a traveling SLP?
This is a hard question to answer. There are so many factors to consider when deciding if travel is for you and if now is the right time. A lot of the factors are very personal and as a writer, I cannot tell you if now is a good time for you to take a travel job or not.
The Job Market
As far as the JOB MARKET goes, it is a HOT time for traveling SLPs who are interested in working in the SNFs and schools. Depending on the staffing company, there are over 200-300+ jobs nationwide for SLPs! For updated statistics on the SLP job market, check out Nomadicare.
Jeremy Grimaldi, senior Allied Health recruiter sums up the current state of the market by saying,
“For the first time in 10 years, I can say that the SLP market is number one. I would expect it to keep steady and possibly rise. The OT market is at its lowest and the PT market is in a waiting period while the recent changes work themselves out. Undeniably the SLP market is the new front runner.”
While the SLP market is definitely hot, most of these jobs are in the SNFs and schools. In fact, over half of the travel jobs are for SNFs. If those two places are your jam, then you’re good to go. If you prefer to work HH, inpatient, acute, or outpatient, you may not be able to find a contract in your given timeframe and states you’re licensed in.
Your Why For Being a Traveling SLP
Traveling can be challenging and I truly believe that you need a strong reason why you want to travel to be successful. Before you decide if it’s a good time for you to travel, I suggest you narrow down WHY you want to travel and research if those goals are achievable. If you have a very specific goal (e.g. work in a hospital in Austin, TX), you may never achieve that goal with travel. You would be far better off applying to work a job in Austin as a perm employee. However, if you have a goal that is more broad, such as working 11 months a year so you can take a month off, then that’s more achievable.
Along with your why, I would take a look at if you truly want to embrace the travel lifestyle. SLPs tend to be very detail-oriented and organized. We crave stability and routine. Travel life is the exact opposite of that. You have to be flexible to travel across the country with a day’s notice and start a new job with little to no orientation. You may walk into a job that is completely disorganized and has not had SLP coverage in weeks or months. For some people, travel may never be for you. For others, you may be craving a challenge or change and travel is exactly what you need.
Time Of Life
Sometimes travel just doesn’t line up with the timing of your life. Maybe you have kids in school, are caring for aging parents, or have a lot of weekend plans coming up over the spring and summer.
You need to consider what works with your timing before you take the leap into travel. Once you set out on an assignment, it can be very challenging to get time off during contracts, go home on weekends, or go home if there is an emergency in your family. Think about your family, personal needs, and what works with your timing.
So is now a good time to be a traveling SLP?
So to answer the question “Is now a good time to be a traveling SLP?”, for some YES and for others this could be a hard NO.
What’s stopping you from traveling now?
The job market for SLPs is great and there is a desperate need for them across the country.
And, if you don’t like an assignment or travel, it’s only for 13 weeks. You can always go home; nothing is permanent.
Photo By Daniel in Palm Spring for Flytographer.
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