I’ve been getting the same type of question from new traveling Physical Therapists a lot lately…. so let’s hash it out in public. The question goes something like this: “I want to travel, I know where I want to go, but where do I start?”
I have had a “getting started” page for a while now, but just tuned it up, it should be a good companion resource to this blog: https://hobohealth.com/wordpress/faq/
Below I have pasted an email conversation I had recently had (lightly edited for anonymity). I hope this helps some of you out there get your travel career going.
I am a PT, and I happened upon your blog after beginning to research travel therapy. My husband (also a PT) and I have been working for almost a year and are planning to become traveling Physical Therapists this summer. We have a couple of PT friends traveling now and have gotten some perspective from them, but their experience is still pretty limited.
Thought I would reach out to you for a bit more perspective. Here are a few things we’re curious about:
-best companies/recruiters to work with
-states requiring significant paperwork/time for obtaining license
-what comes first: obtaining a license or obtaining an assignment
Any other tips to get started travelling would be greatly appreciated!
Very glad you found the site!
My wife and I have been traveling Physical Therapists together for 7 years now… we originally thought we would travel for 2 years. We absolutely love it, and I hope you guys find some fun in it too! I started into travel after 6 months of working in private practice, and my wife started after a year of practice. I think you guys have done it right by getting a little steady experience before jumping into travel. I so often find myself trying to convince new grads to get just a few months of experience becoming a traveling Physical Therapist. So, good work, you’ve gone about it the right way!
We have worked with a bunch of different recruiters and companies at this point, and always search with 2-3 companies when looking for a job. I have heard of people sticking with one company for years, but I definitely don’t think that working with just one agency offers you the best selection of jobs available. I make sure to use recruiters that will have my back if something is not right about an assignment, and who won’t encourage me to continue working an assignment if it is toxic (i.e. ethical or scope of practice issues – rare).
California is notorious for licensure taking forever (4-6 months). I recently heard from someone that New Jersey is a pretty big process too. Otherwise, the process varies state-to-state, but shouldn’t take more than a month or two if you get all your ducks in a row with the paperwork. The more licenses you have, the more complex getting additional licenses becomes. So, I recommend that if there’s a few states you know you want to work in, get all of them now.
Start licensure ASAP, a lot of jobs won’t hire you until you have a license – but some will higher you conditionally with a projected start date if you’ve started the process. I would also get in touch with some recruiters soon. They can help inform you of how long licensure takes for particular states and help you start getting an idea of what kind of jobs may be available where you want to go – some agencies have resources to help you with licensure. New jobs pop up constantly and other jobs are filled quickly, so the sample of actual jobs will change, but the recruiter will be able to help you see what a particular geographic market is like.
OK! I’ve gone on too long. Here’s a simple page about starting travel PT if you haven’t seen it yet. https://hobohealth.com/wordpress/faq/ Let me know if you have other questions, and keep in touch about what happens with you guys!