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Travel Jobs for Occupational Therapists: Explore Exciting Opportunities

Travel Jobs for Occupational Therapists: Explore Exciting Opportunities

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In a profession as versatile as occupational therapy, opportunities are endless – more so when you add travel to the mix. Working as a traveling occupational therapist not only provides a chance to enhance one's professional skills and experience but also makes it possible to explore new places and cultures. In this article, we delve deep into the world of travel jobs for occupational therapists, exploring the various roles they can undertake, understanding the scope of their work, and examining the myriad of benefits that come along with these positions.

Understanding the Scope of Occupational Therapy in Travel Jobs

Occupational therapy travel jobs allow certified occupational therapists (OTs) to work short-term contract positions at medical facilities across the country. As a traveling OT, you can gain valuable experience, see new places, and earn a competitive salary.

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What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a health care field focused on helping people recover, develop, and maintain skills for daily living and working. OTs work with individuals of all ages who have physical, cognitive, emotional, or developmental conditions. The goal is to enable their clients to participate in meaningful activities or "occupations."

Some examples of what OTs may work on with clients include:

  • Improving fine motor skills through exercises or adaptive devices
  • Teaching strategies for managing sensory processing difficulties
  • Modifying activities to accommodate limited mobility or fatigue
  • Building skills for personal care, household tasks, childcare, work, or school
  • Recommending assistive equipment for greater independence
  • Educating about joint protection and energy conservation techniques

OTs must complete a master's degree from an accredited program, pass the national certification exam, and obtain licensure in their state. They work in settings like hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, homes, and nursing facilities.

Role of Occupational Therapists in Travel Jobs

Traveling OTs take on temporary contract assignments, usually lasting around 13 weeks, at medical facilities across the United States. Each state requires its own OT license, but most states offer temporary licenses. Recommended travel companies can assist with handling license applications and renewals.

In travel therapy jobs, OTs may work in roles such as:

  • Providing evaluations, interventions, education, and discharge planning in acute hospital settings
  • Treating orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation patients in skilled nursing facilities
  • Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays
  • Outpatient rehabilitation for adults after injury, illness, or surgery

The medical settings and types of patients can vary greatly, giving travel OTs exposure to diverse diagnoses, age groups, and team dynamics. Experienced therapists can mentor recent graduates. OTs also gain experience with documentation systems, intervention approaches, and productivity expectations at different facilities.

Top Benefits of Combining Travel and Occupational Therapy

Pursuing occupational therapy travel jobs offers many advantages for adventurous, flexible therapists including:

  • Higher Pay: Traveling OTs earn substantially more than permanent positions. Typical pay is $1,500-2,500 per week, depending on location and experience level.
  • Freedom: Travelers can select assignments based on location, setting, caseload, and contract length. It's easy to take time off between contracts.
  • Exploration: Assignments can be across the U.S. from big cities to national parks. Experiencing new places is a major perk.
  • Variety: Exposure to different diagnoses, interventions, documentation, and productivity standards expands clinical skills.
  • Camaraderie: Making friends with fellow traveling therapists adds to the adventure.
  • Career Development: Becoming a skilled travel OT can lead to mentorship roles, manager positions, or owning a travel company.

While travel therapy allows a flexible lifestyle, therapists should be comfortable adapting to new environments and confident in their clinical skills. Meticulous organization and advocate skills are essential. The rewards of travel OT jobs are fulfilling work, great pay, and exciting adventures across the country!

Examining the Top Travel Jobs for Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists have a wide range of opportunities to use their skills while traveling and working abroad. From cruise ships to schools to humanitarian organizations, OTs can find contract positions that allow them to help clients while exploring new places.

Traveling Occupational Therapist

One of the most common travel jobs for OTs is working as a traveling therapist through a staffing agency. We can connect certified occupational therapists with facilities across the US that need temporary contract staff. View the top occupational therapist jobs in On Demand, our powerful web app. Travelers get housing and licensure arranged, allowing them to take on positions ranging from 8-26 weeks in different cities and states.

Pros of travel OT work include higher pay, gaining experience in new settings, having a flexible schedule, and getting licensing reimbursements. Cons can be less stability, changing locations frequently, and managing paperwork/requirements in multiple states.

Cruise Ship Occupational Therapist

Working as an OT on a cruise ship allows you to travel the world while living on the ship. Contracts usually last 9-12 months as the ship journeys across continents. You would provide therapy services to passengers and crew members for injuries, disabilities, and functional needs.

Benefits are travel, room/board, living in unique ports, and higher pay. Challenges can be an isolated social life, small work spaces, and obeying shipping medical regulations.

Military Base Occupational Therapist

Military and VA hospitals hire civilian OTs on bases around the world to work with active duty personnel, veterans, and dependents. You could be based stateside or overseas - common locations include Germany, Italy, Japan, and South Korea.

Perks include working with service members, specialized training, sense of service, and international experience. Downsides may be frequent relocation, safety restrictions, and base cultural adjustment.

International School Occupational Therapist

International and American schools abroad need OTs to support expat students and foreign nationals. Most positions are in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. You would be part of a diverse team in an English-speaking school environment.

Benefits are immersion in new cultures, world travel, free/subsidized housing, and multi-cultural work. Challenges can be finding licensure, adapting to different educational models, and visa restrictions.

NGO and Humanitarian Organization Occupational Therapist

OTs are highly desired by non-profits doing global health and development programs. You may work in refugee camps, disaster response, hospitals, clinics, and community centers. This allows you to make an impact while discovering different places.

Rewards include service, cultural insight, community focus, and program variety. Difficulties can be language barriers, rustic living, security issues, and emotionally taxing situations.

Traveling OT Contract Work

In addition to staffing agencies, OTs can find direct contracts with facilities, school districts, early intervention programs, prisons, home health agencies, and other providers while traveling.

Teletherapy for Traveling OTs

Thanks to telehealth, OTs can now work from anywhere with an internet connection. This enables remote therapists to see clients and be location independent.

Pros are flexible hours, mobile lifestyle, reduced commute, and expanded services. Cons can be less hands-on, need for tech skills, licensure issues, and reduced camaraderie.

Seasonal OT Jobs in Tourist Destinations

Certain locales see patient influxes during peak tourist seasons. Facilities and agencies in vacation hot spots often hire short-term OTs to meet demand. Examples are warm weather climates, ski towns, and national parks.

Benefits include exploring popular destinations and high seasonal pay rates. Downsides may be finding housing, limited hours in off-season, and adaptation to a mobile lifestyle.

Occupational therapists have diverse options to travel and work abroad. With some research and planning, OTs can align a fulfilling job with chances to experience new cultures and destinations. Balancing the rewards and challenges will let you maximize this unique career opportunity.

Strategies to Get Started & Maximise the Travel Therapy Experience

Traveling as an occupational therapist can be an incredibly rewarding way to gain experience in different settings while seeing new places. However, it also requires planning and preparation to ensure you find the right opportunities. Here are some key strategies to help you get started and make the most of your time as a travel OT:

First, make sure you understand the requirements and process to work as a travel therapist. This usually involves having an active OT license that allows you to practice temporarily in other states. Research what's needed for a travel or temporary license in your target destinations.

Next, look for open contracts with recommended travel therapy companies and apply for positions you're interested in. Be open-minded about location - popular spots fill up fast. Having flexibility helps increase options.

Once placed, learn about your assignment site ahead of time. Review their common diagnoses, procedures, documentation system, productivity standards, and culture so you're prepared.

At your new site, focus on building rapport with staff and patients. Be proactive in asking questions and offering assistance to get comfortable quicker.

Throughout your contract, communicate regularly with your travel company about how things are going. Ask for their guidance resolving any issues that arise.

Finally, stay organized with paperwork and diligently track details needed for license renewals or future applications. Maintaining your credentials is key!

Education and Certifications Needed

To work successfully as a travel occupational therapist, the minimum requirement is having an OT degree or masters from an accredited program and passing the national board exam to earn your OT license.

However, having additional certifications beyond the entry-level requirements can make you more competitive. Some top certifications to consider include:

  • Specialty certifications like with hand therapy or neuro developmental treatment
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) certification
  • Certification in new treatment techniques like Kinesio Taping or myofascial release
  • Certification from the American Occupational Therapy Association in areas like low vision or driving
  • Advanced certifications like Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests

The more continuing education you have, the more skilled and marketable you become as a travel OT. Just be mindful of only getting certifications relevant to your desired focus area.

Where to Find the Best Travel Therapy Jobs

The key to finding great travel occupational therapy jobs is using resources that match your skills, experience, and interests with nationwide openings. Here are top options to consider in your job search:

  • Travel therapy staffing agencies - Create a profile in On Demand, our powerful web app, and work with our recruiters to find placements
  • Networking - Talk to other traveling OTs about companies they've worked with successfully.

Key Tips to Build a Successful Career as a Traveling Occupational Therapist

Taking on travel therapy assignments for the long-term takes dedication. Follow these expert tips to help build an enriching, sustainable career:

  • Choose contracts strategically - Balance higher pay with affordable living areas. Frequent longdistance moves can be draining.
  • Ask lots of questions upfront - Get details about productivity, documentation systems, facility culture, learning resources, housing stipends, etc.
  • Maintain professional flexibility - Be willing to work weekends, holidays, on-call. Have skills across subspecialties like hands, neuro, pediatric.
  • Manage finances diligently - Budget for periods between contracts. Build savings by living within stipends.
  • Nurture a support system - Maintain fulfilling relationships outside of work. Join networking groups to connect with fellow travelers.
  • Prioritize self-care - Prevent burnout through regular exercise, balanced nutrition, relaxing hobbies. Take PTO between contracts.
  • Keep skills refreshed - Take continuing ed courses. Seek mentorships. Join facility in-services when possible.

Making travel therapy a long-term career takes dedication but provides so much potential for growth and fulfillment!

Utilizing Online Networking and Professional Resources

For travel therapists, connecting with online communities and utilizing professional resources is invaluable for building your career. Here are some top options:

  • Travel Tax Professionals group on Facebook - Get guidance on write-offs, deductions, state exemptions.
  • Gypsy Nurse group on Facebook - Connect with 20K+ traveling nurses and therapists.
  • #traveltherapy hashtag on Instagram - Follow for support, tips, destination ideas.
  • AOTA website - Access research, best practices, tools for OTs.
  • APTA Learning Center - Take online CE courses for professional development.
  • Staffing agency alumni networks - Find mentorships and continuing ed opportunities.
  • TravelingTherapist and HighwayHypodermics blogs - Read detailed experiences, career advice.

Investing time into building your digital community and making use of resources will help you continue developing expertise and feel supported as a travel OT.

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