Unlocking Exciting Opportunities: Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

Unlocking Exciting Opportunities: Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

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Ever wondered what it feels like to combine the fulfilling, dynamic profession of physical therapy with a love for travel? If so, this article is for you. We delve deep into the exciting world of physical therapist travel jobs, exploring what they entail, how to get started, challenges and opportunities, and predictions for the future. Whether you're a seasoned physical therapist looking for a fresh adventure or a physical therapy student mapping your future career path, this comprehensive guide will provide the insights you need.

Understanding Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

Physical therapist travel jobs involve licensed physical therapists taking temporary assignments at healthcare facilities around the country. Instead of being permanently employed at one clinic or hospital, travel PTs work through staffing agencies to fill 13-week contracts at different locations. PT travel jobs offer adventure, higher pay, career development, and a flexible schedule.


Definition and Scope of Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

A travel physical therapist is a licensed PT who works on a contract basis at healthcare facilities around the country. Assignments typically last 8-13 weeks. Travel PTs work through staffing agencies that connect them with facilities in need. Jobs may be in hospitals, private practices, skilled nursing facilities, schools, or home health settings.

Travel PTs enjoy a unique lifestyle of constant change. One month they may be working in Arizona, and the next they're off to Maine. Travelers get to explore new places while pursuing their career. These temporary assignments also allow PTs to develop diverse skill sets by working with different patient populations and treatment approaches.

Benefits of choosing Physical Therapy as a Travel Profession

There are many advantages to working as a travel PT rather than a permanent staff member:

  • Higher pay - Travel jobs typically offer hourly wages 20-50% higher than permanent positions and may include stipends or bonuses.
  • Change of scenery - Travelers get to explore new cities/states while gaining professional experience.
  • Flexibility - PTs can choose assignments based on location, setting, schedule, etc. Time off between contracts allows for vacation.
  • Career development - Exposure to different clinical practices, patient cases and specialties expands clinical knowledge.
  • Adventure - Traveling for work opens the door to experiencing new cultures and activities.
  • Networking - Travelers connect with PTs nationwide, leading to future job opportunities and friendships.
  • No politics - Travelers avoid office politics, stress and bureaucracy that permanent staff face.

Factors that influence the demand for Travel Physical Therapists

Several key factors drive the need for temporary travel PTs in healthcare settings around the country:

  • Staffing shortages - Many facilities struggle to find full-time PTs leading to the need for travel contractors.
  • Leave coverage - Travelers fill in when permanent staffers take maternity/sick/vacation leave.
  • Seasonal census spikes - Higher patient volumes during flu season and summer months requires extra PT staff.
  • New service launches - Bringing on travel PTs allows expansion into new clinical programs/services.
  • Facility growth - Opening new locations or expanding units necessitates additional PT capacity.
  • Specialized expertise - Some patients/procedures benefit from seasoned travelers with niche skill sets.
  • Budget flexibility - Hiring contractors avoids long-term benefit/wage costs.
  • PRN support - Travelers fill weekend, evening and shift gaps in PRN schedules.

Embarking on the journey: How to get started in Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

Essential Educational Requirements and Licensures

A travel PT job requires proper education and credentials. Typical requirements include:

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or Master of Physical Therapy degree from an accredited program
  • State PT license for every state worked - involves jurisprudence exam and application fees
  • Malpractice insurance
  • CPR and basic life support certification
  • At least 1 year of experience in orthopedics, neuro-rehab, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, pediatrics etc.
  • Pass a criminal background check and drug test
  • Provide proper immunization and health records

Additional Skills required for success in Travel Physical Therapy

Beyond academic and legal qualifications, travel PTs need certain soft skills and traits:

  • Adaptability to thrive in new environments and handle unexpected challenges
  • Communication skills to establish rapport with patients and facility staff
  • Problem-solving abilities to address complex treatment situations
  • Self-motivation to stay productive without direct supervision
  • Time management and organization to juggle high patient volumes
  • Emotional resilience and positive attitude when faced with job stresses
  • Cultural competence to interact with diverse patient populations

Finding and Applying for Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

The best way to find travel PT assignments is through a healthcare staffing agency. These firms recruit candidates, liaise with client facilities, and handle contracts. When searching for an agency, look for:

  • Excellent pay and benefit packages
  • Abundant job opportunities and location choices
  • Strong reputation among healthcare travelers
  • Personalized recruiter support and career guidance

Typical application steps include:

  • Submitting your resume/CV through the agency website or app
  • Interviewing with a recruiter to discuss work history, skills and job preferences
  • Providing proper licensure and credential documentation
  • Completing skills and personality assessments
  • Passing background checks and drug screens
  • Interviewing directly with client facilities that are a potential match
  • Negotiating details like wage, stipends, schedule, facility expectations etc.
  • Signing a 13-week (or longer) employment contract for the travel assignment

The exciting field of travel PT provides the perfect mix of career development, higher earning potential and life adventure. With the right education, skills and agency partner, physical therapists can embark on this journey while making a difference in the lives of patients nationwide.

Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

Physical therapist travel jobs allow skilled therapists to take temporary assignments around the country while earning premium pay and benefits. However, travel PT jobs also come with unique challenges that therapists should understand before pursuing these opportunities.

Pros and Cons of Travel Physical Therapy

Some key advantages of travel PT jobs include:

  • Higher pay rates, with some roles paying $50-$100 per hour or more
  • Generous stipends for housing, travel, and meals
  • Ability to explore new locations around the U.S.
  • Gain experience with different patient populations and facilities
  • More flexibility to take time off between assignments

However, potential drawbacks include:

  • Frequent relocation and living out of suitcases
  • Lack of long-term stability and roots in one community
  • Constantly adapting to new facilities, protocols, and environments
  • Possibility of assignments in less desirable locations
  • Typically no guarantee of a full 40 hours per week

Mitigating Challenges and Maximizing Opportunities in the Sector

Traveling PTs can take proactive steps to minimize the downsides of the role:

  • Thoroughly vet potential assignments, facilities, locations
  • Clarify details like housing, schedules, technology, productivity expectations
  • Plan routines and self-care practices that provide stability
  • Proactively build relationships and learn facility norms
  • Negotiate contracts that provide income stability and other preferences
  • Take needed time off between assignments to recharge

At the same time, travel therapists can maximize benefits like:

  • Earning over $100k+ per year with smart financial planning
  • Experiencing new places and diversity between assignments
  • Developing clinical skills and building professional connections
  • Creating a flexible schedule with substantial time off
  • Laying the groundwork for potential permanent positions

The Future of Physical Therapist Travel Jobs

Trends Shaping the Physical Therapist Travel Jobs Market

Several notable trends are impacting the current and future travel PT job market:

  • Increasing demand for temporary therapists as more clinicians enter travel roles
  • Ongoing clinician shortages, especially in skilled nursing facilities
  • High costs of living driving therapists to higher paying travel roles
  • Desire for flexibility and career growth opportunities among Millennial/Gen Z therapists
  • Rising enrollments in DPT programs increasing clinician supply long-term
  • Tech adoption improving efficiencies but potentially enabling remote work

Potential for Growth and Development in the Profession

The outlook for travel PT positions remains strong for those who understand how to navigate the sector's unique demands. In particular, opportunities exist for therapists to:

  • Cultivate versatility in treating diverse patient populations
  • Gain exposure to different clinical settings and systems
  • Build a professional network across facilities nationwide
  • Position themselves for leadership roles by learning best practices
  • Specialize in higher demand areas like wound care or geriatrics
  • Maximize earning potential while repaying educational debt

Both new and experienced therapists can thrive in travel roles by honing strategies to balance the pros and cons of the profession.

How to Stay Relevant and Competitive in the Future Market

Traveling clinicians should focus on the following areas to ensure they remain in-demand as the industry evolves:

  • Cultivating expertise in specialty disciplines and interventions
  • Embracing and troubleshooting new technologies like virtual reality and telerehab
  • Conveying cultural competency when working with diverse populations
  • Demonstrating leadership skills and initiative
  • Highlighting versatility, flexibility, and ability to quickly acclimate
  • Seeking regular continuing education and networking opportunities

By leaning into emerging practice trends and honing 'soft skills,' therapists can sustain rewarding travel careers long into the future.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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