Travel Therapy as a New Graduate
There is no better time to start your travel therapy career than as a new graduate! If you’ve recently earned your graduate degree in therapy (occupational, physical, or speech language pathology) and you’re wondering what’s next, congratulations — this is an exciting time for you! Rather than taking time off to travel after graduation, why not consider working where you travel and traveling where you work?
Most new grads therapists opt to work for a clinic or hospital right out of school, but that isn’t necessarily the only, or best, option. Travel therapy is in high demand, making it the perfect career path for you to build your resume and gain valuable, hands-on experience right after graduation. Plus, therapy travelers typically make significantly more money than those who opt for a permanent position. Excellent pay and resume building are just a couple of the many benefits that come with this unique career choice.
Therapy is one of the few healthcare specialties that allows new grads to accept higher paying travel PT, OT, or SLP jobs post-graduation. Marvel Medical Staffing offers travel therapy jobs in all settings from coast to coast so you can check off those bucket list destinations while working your dream job!
What is a Travel Therapist?
Travel therapists are requested by facilities and clinics across the country that have immediate staffing needs and/or an increase in patient care. This includes physical therapists (PTs), speech language pathologists (SLPs), occupational therapists (OTs), certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs), and physical therapist assistants (PTAs). In many instances, rural communities do not have access to quality healthcare, so travel therapists are able to supply patient care where it is needed most!
To become a travel therapist, you’ll need to meet all the same requirements as a permanent therapist. You will need both a degree from an accredited therapy program and to have passed your national licensure exam. The difference is that you select short-term contracts, usually 13 weeks (about 3 months), in different locations versus staying in one place indefinitely. The best part is that you get to choose which assignments to accept and when. With a multitude of flexible travel therapy assignments, it’s no wonder this lucrative and rewarding career is raved about by travelers nationwide.
Perks of Choosing Travel Therapy
Freedom to Choose
With Marvel Medical Staffing YOU are in charge of your career by deciding when, where, and how long you travel! In between contracts you can take time off, visit friends or family, check off those bucket list destinations, or just recharge your batteries and catch up on your favorite Netflix shows! Having great flexibility in your therapy career allows for a healthy work-life balance and less chance of burnout.
Make More Money
With physical, speech, and occupational therapy needs in high demand, travel jobs offer more diverse assignment locations and generally higher pay than permanent positions! This allows you to pay off student loans, save more money for the future, and have additional spending money for all the cool trips and activities that you’ll get to experience. In addition, most contracts offer housing and meal stipends! At Marvel Medical Staffing we offer licensure reimbursement up to $400 per state and CEU reimbursement up to $200 per year, as well as other great perks like 401K and paid vacation for our travelers!
Diverse Setting Experience
You’ll gain valuable career experience and diversify your resume post-graduation! When you choose a career as a travel therapist, you get to experience working in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), home health, and more! Getting hands-on practice in a variety of settings and for different employers will provide you with more valuable on-the-job experience in less time. You’ll naturally hone the skills that you learned in school plus gain new ones, which will look great on your resume. It’s almost impossible not to sharpen your skills as a clinician when you work as a travel therapist. With a solid work ethic, you’ll have reputable references from all over the country in just a couple of years. Then, if you’re looking for a permanent location one day, your impressive resume can help you outshine other applicants, command higher pay, and land the job YOU want.
You’ll build a huge professional network and make new friends all over the country! You can grow your network of practicing therapists, both travel and permanent. This allows you to stay connected all over the country by being in the know on continuing education opportunities, staying informed on upcoming conferences and seminars, and having access to experienced clinicians that can offer you career advice.
Explore New Places
TRAVEL! New people, new places, new skills, new experiences – that’s what it’s all about! Live like a local in your new city, explore your surroundings, visit friends or family who live in nearby states; there are so many great perks available to you while you take advantage of being somewhere new and different! The lifestyle of a traveling therapist has no shortage of excitement and adventure, because with your skillset you have endless opportunities at your fingertips. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see what life was like by the beach. Or perhaps you’re not sure where you want to settle down later in life and you’d like to explore some options. Maybe you seek self-growth with exposure to new and diverse places and experiences, or perhaps you’re an adventure and adrenaline junkie. We have an abundance of assignments available on the coast, in the mountains, the Midwest, and some of the country’s biggest cities, so all of this is just a contract away. Take a travel assignment and see what’s out there!
Advice about Starting Travel Therapy as a New Graduate
Go into it with an open mind! Doing something new right out of school can be scary, but do not let that hold you back on these once in a lifetime experiences and job opportunities. Make sure you take time to consider all your options and positive outcomes before saying no to an assignment. Sometimes the best opportunities are the opposite of what you thought!
Communication and Transparency
Be honest with yourself and your recruiter about what you do and do not want, but keep your expectations realistic. Know your priorities as a traveler, whether it be setting, location, or pay, and talk to your recruiter about which is MOST important to you. Get excited about plan A, but also have plan B and C in mind in case things go in a different direction. Our dedicated recruiters are committed to helping provide you with the therapy career path you want, and once you gain some travel experience, you will have more opportunities available to you. Marvel Medical Staffing has a large variety of specialties and locations all over the nation, so you will have many travel assignments to choose from throughout your travel therapy career.
Compact License Privileges
Get your PT or PTA Compact License if your home state is part of the PT Compact Agreement! A physical therapy compact license allows you to practice in any state that is a member of the PT Compact Agreement. This saves you time and money by not having to apply for a full state license each time you take a new travel contract somewhere you are not already licensed. If your home state is not a participant in the compact agreement, no need to fret! You can still travel as a therapist and your recruiter will help with any licensure questions!
Understand Your Contract
Read your contract thoroughly and ask questions when you are not sure, especially when it comes to pay, guaranteed hours, overtime, and stipends. Your recruiter is an expert on the ins and outs of your contract so be sure to ask them anything you are unclear on. And remember, travel therapy does not mean you cannot take an assignment in your home state! If you’re feeling homesick, ask your recruiter to help you find a contract in or near your home base. Why not spend six months traveling and then head home for a local contract to catch up with friends and family?
Resources for Travel Therapists
- Your recruiter is your best resource because they genuinely want to see you succeed in your travel therapy career. They are someone you can trust to always be transparent and supportive. At Marvel Medical Staffing, we even offer recruiters who are licensed PTs, PTAs, and COTAs with actual clinical experience, so they know exactly what you are looking for, and just as importantly what you are not.
- Travel Therapy Mentor is one of the best resources for new and experienced travel therapists! It was founded by Whitney and Jared, who are two actual traveling Doctors of Physical Therapy. Their real-life clinical experience and knowledge helps aspiring travel PTs, OTs, and SLPs become successful travel therapists! They offer amazing resources, articles, and videos with traveling tips, and podcasts with advice about taxes as a traveler, travel guides, financial strategies, health insurance, and much more! Travel Therapy Mentor even offers a full comprehensive course with everything a travel therapist needs to know about being financially successful in their career! Be sure to also check out their social media pages and groups!
- Social media is always a great resource to turn to when you’re looking for advice, checking out new assignment locations and facilities, or wanting to network and connect with fellow travel therapists. There are many Facebook pages dedicated as communities and forums for traveling healthcare professionals such as yourself! At Marvel Medical Staffing we have our very own Marvel Travelers page where all our travelers can network and share their experiences/adventures.
- American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA)
American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA)
American Speech-Language -Hearing Association’s (ASHA)
All are great resources! They will help you stay in the loop on upcoming conferences, seminars, online learning, and other events. You can even become a member and have access to discounted or free continuing education courses! They also provide articles to help advance your therapy career, including evidence-based practice resources, payment guidance, and discounts through membership benefits.
- PTCompact.org has everything you need to know about the physical therapy compact license! You can see exactly what states are and are not a part of The Physical Therapy Compact! They also offer a step-by-step process on how to obtain your PT compact license. OT and SLP Compact are in the works – stay tuned!
- MedBridge is a great resource for continuing education, informational articles and free webinars! Be sure to ask your Marvel Medical Staffing recruiter for a discount code!
- TravelTax.com has specialized in tax preparation for travel healthcare professionals for over 20 years.
- Marvel’s Mentorship Program – Once you take a travel therapy contract with Marvel Medical Staffing, your recruiter can set you up with a seasoned travel therapist who will serve as your mentor. Additionally, Marvel’s Therapy Team has 5 clinicians who also provide mentorship!
Ready to start your travel therapy career?
If these benefits make you want to pack up and hit the road, then we are ready to help you take the leap! Becoming a travel therapist means embarking on an engaging career path with incredible benefits. You will have access to resources to help you along the way, and an opportunity for endless new experiences post-graduation. As a therapy new grad, you’re eligible to travel and take your skills where they are needed most as you improve the lives of others. There are endless unexpected and incredible experiences around the corner for you when you choose the lifestyle of a traveler. So, if you’re ready to start exploring your options, then be sure to check out the travel therapist jobs on our website to kickstart your new healthcare career today!