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Taking 13-week contracts as a travel therapist can be a difficult career to jump into. One reason that often holds people back is feelings of being alone on the road and lack of mentorship. If you are thinking about taking a travel assignment, you might be wondering how to find a travel therapy mentor. The good news is that you can find both clinical and professional mentorship as a travel therapist.
What are you looking for in mentorship?
When you say you want a travel therapy mentor, think about what that means to you. Specifically, are you looking for clinical mentorship to help you through assignments? Or, are you looking for professional mentorship to help you navigate traveling itself, such as contracts, moving, etc.? A clinical mentor will have a different perspective and skillset than a professional mentor. In this article we will talk about finding clinical mentorship first and then professional travel therapy mentorship.
Ways to Find Clinical Mentorship as a Travel Therapist
- Work for a travel agency that provides mentorship
- Search for an assignment that provides mentorship
- Find supportive online communities
Find a travel agency that provides mentorship
Different travel agencies offer different benefits and services. Some agencies offer tele mentorship for new grad therapists. Mentors are available on call and via email to answer clinical questions as needed.
One of the largest clinical mentorship programs that I’m aware of is through MedTravelers. They provide mentorship for CFs and for new grad PTs and OTs. A benefit to this program is that they vet mentors and make sure that they have the clinical skills and background to provide mentorship. You can learn more about the program here: MedTravelers New Grad Mentorship Program.
Search for an assignment that provides mentorship
For the most part, travel therapists are expected to hit the ground running. You are anticipated to get a job, and do your job without relying on other staff to help you through the day. However, there are some travel jobs that have much more supportive environments. These jobs may have the staff to provide mentorship and supervision for new therapists.
If clinical mentorship is important to you in a travel therapy job then I highly recommend communicating that with your recruiter. Make finding mentorship a priority in your job search. Let your recruiter know that you are looking for a position that has staff available for mentorship. In my experience, recruiters tend to be familiar with jobs that are “new therapist friendly” and the ones that really throw therapists into the wind.
Again, if mentorship is a priority then be prepared to make that your non-negotiable for this job search. You might have to be flexible with things like location, setting type, or money in order to match with a job that has good clinical supervision.
Find Supportive Online Communities
There is a digital space for everything, including clinical support and mentorship for all different kinds of therapy niches. Many content creators who specialize in a certain therapy area offer group or individual coaching, online communities, or membership groups.
Go to where you like to consume content, and search for what you’re interested in, e.g. “dysphagia therapy” or “speech therapy”. Find creators or online groups that meet your needs and feel supportive. Facebook is filled with tons of free groups where therapists ask and answer questions. There are also a growing number of paid coaching and mentorship programs that offer high calibur clinical mentorship.
If you are seeking less formal mentorship/learning, I highly recommend purchasing a subscription to MedBridge Education. MedBridge is an online platform that provides evidence-based continuing education courses, live patient demos, and interactive learning assessments. While you travel, you can take MedBridge courses from anywhere at any time. I’ve used the MedBridge CE library to develop my clinical skills on the road.
How To Find a Professional Travel Therapy Mentor
Finding a professional travel therapy mentor is not too difficult from finding a clinical mentor, although the intentions for your search are going to be different. A professional mentor is going to be somebody experienced in travel therapy. This is going to be more of an aspirational mentor for you; somebody who you want to become and learn from their experiences.
Check out this website
This is a shameless plug, but if you landed on this website you came to a great place to find travel therapy mentorship. I recommend these blogs as great places to get started with travel:
- How to become a travel therapist
- Understanding travel therapy pay rate
- How to find short term housing for 13-week assignments
- What is travel healthcare?
I’ve been a traveling speech-language pathologist since 2010 and have an extensive amount of knowledge about the travel therapy industry. You can follow me on social media for more free travel therapy tips and inspiration here:
I also have an exclusive course that provides step-by-step guidance on how to be a successful travel therapist. You can learn more and see when it is open for enrollment here: The Guide To Travel Therapy.
Ask your recruiter about mentorship
While your agency might not have a department for clinical mentorship, they may have a resource list of travelers who will provide travel therapy mentorship. Your recruiter may also have a sense of which traveler might match you personality wise. I found some mentors through my recruiter and I think it’s always worthwhile to ask if you are looking for mentorship.
Seek Mentorship Online
Again, there is a digital creator and community for everybody and every topic online. You can find a lot of mentorship available online in the form of free online Facebook groups (Travel Therapy Therapists), websites, and social media accounts run by travelers. As a guideline, make sure that you’re respectful and follow any guidelines of the community. Also, if you find a creator that charges for mentorship, don’t expect them to work with you for free. Everybody’s time is valuable and creators try to maximize their time by providing a lot of free resources and then higher ticket coaching programs or training to those interested in learning more.
Being a traveling therapist does not mean that you are alone. You can find both clinical and professional mentorship as a traveling therapist. You are not alone, there is a whole community out there and lots of support. You got this!
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