I’ve been interested in travel physical therapy for the past year or two, and finally decided that I want to pursue this right after graduating from PT school this fall. It took me a while to get over my initial fears of travel PT, and while I’m still afraid, I think that a lot of this fear is associated with starting my first job in my chosen profession.
Why I’m excited to start traveling:
- Obviously, to travel and see more of the United States. I’d love to get a better idea if I’d like to eventually settle down in California, or if I like another state more.
- I want to work in various physical therapy settings and see which one I’m most passionate about. I’ve gotten a better idea of what I want to do just by completing my clinical affiliations, but I’d love to continue exploring inpatient, home health, and pediatrics settings.
- I’m eager to meet more people, and learn from as many clinicians as possible.
If you’re interested in travel PT or if you don’t know much but are interested in learning more, make sure to follow the following steps:
1. Learn More About Travel PT
Start by reading the Ultimate Guide to Travel Physical Therapy from Covalent Careers. If that doesn’t answer all of your questions, continue to step 2!
You should be able to answer these questions:
- What is travel PT?
- Where can I work as a travel PT?
- What settings can I work in?
- Are new grad PT’s able to travel? (Hint: yes you can!)
- How long is a typical travel PT contract?
- How do I find a job?
2. Follow travel PT gurus on social media
There are so many incredible resources for learning about travel PT. Many of the websites also have Facebook pages and other social media for you to follow. I have learned everything about travel PT by networking with other therapists, posting questions on Facebook groups, and spending hours reading through my favorite blogs.
View my favorite websites and Facebook groups on my Social Media page.
3. Determine your “Why”
Everyone has different reasons for wanting to travel, and those reasons might even change for each contract that you work. What interests you about travel PT? Here are some of the common “Why’s” that I’ve encountered:
- To help pay off student loans
- To travel the country
- To meet lots of people and treat a wider variety of patients from different cultures
- To learn from a variety of settings and a variety of clinicians
- To get a better idea of what you’re looking for in a permanent job once you’re finished traveling
- To avoid burnout
- To have more freedom to take vacation days (or months), do medical trips abroad, take more time off for holidays, etc
- To find the perfect location for you to live permanently
It’s normal if you don’t know what your “Why” is right now, but do any of the above speak to you? If so, I encourage you to keep exploring this possible career field!
4. Set up Informational Interviews
An informational interview is a brief conversation where you can ask questions and learn more about a specific career. I set up about 10 informational interviews with physical therapists when I was first interested in PT school. It really helped me get a better idea of the role of physical therapists, I was able to learn about the pro’s and con’s of this career field, and it helped me figure out that PT was something that I’m interested in!
I did the same thing when I was interested in pursuing travel PT. I spoke with 3 travel PT’s on the phone for around 60 minutes, and it really helped answer all of my questions, helped calm my nerves and fears about traveling alone, and improved my confidence with pursing this career as a new grad PT.
The travel community is really friendly, so you could always email anyone with a travel PT website or you can make a quick post on one of the Facebook groups and ask if anyone would be willing to speak with you! As always, you can ask me for the contact information of some travel PTs that would love to speak with you.
5. Learn about travel PT through courses and conferences
The Traveler’s Conference (TravCon) is held every year in Las Vegas, NV. It’s an affordable conference even for a broke PT student, and is full of various courses, networking, and social events. If you’re pretty sure that you want to become a travel PT, this conference is a MUST, especially as a new grad. I haven’t attended the conference yet, but it’s on my list of future conferences to attend.
There are several travel PT courses you can take if you’d like a more organized way of learning about this career. Here are a few that I know about:
- Debt Free PT Mentorship Program – This is a really helpful free program that includes mentorship, an ebook, and videos. I’ve personally done parts of this program and it’s been really helpful! Emma also offers a paid course.
- New Grad Travel Therapy Boot Camp – Another free travel PT course!
- The Ultimate Course and Mentorship Program for the New Traveling Physical Therapist: I have not taken this course, but I have found their website to be amazingly informative. I’m sure their course is one that you won’t regret taking.
Are you already a traveler? Check out these free downloadable resources for interview questions and tracking your finances.
Thank you so much for putting together this website, it truly is so helpful. Do you know if you have to be a US citizen to apply for PT Travel?
I am also looking for any information from non US citizens on applying for a PT school and dealing with financial side of PT school. If you know anyone I would love to talk to them.
Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! 🙂
In order to be a travel PT in the United States, you need to have a license in every state that you would like to work in. I’m not sure if you need to be a US citizen to work in the United States. I would read this article posted by the American Physical Therapy Association: http://www.apta.org/CareerDevelopment/ForeignEducated/
If that article doesn’t answer your question, I would call or email them as well. They would be able to help you the best. http://www.apta.org/ContactUs/
Thank you for this, I have been thinking if I should do traveling or become a CHT. Still undecided but with this information hopefully it will lead me to the one I want to do.
Bit first get accept to PT school lol!! Anyways have a great day!
Thanks for leaving a comment! 🙂 I really appreciate that you took the time to read this.
Yeah, it’s difficult to decide, and your clinicals will really help you figure that out! A really nice thing that I figured out during PT school is that you don’t need to decide what you want to do for the rest of your career. PT is such a cool career in that you can always switch specialties if you want to try something new. You can always try out travel PT, and if you don’t like it, you can just stop. You can also try to get a travel PT job in a clinic that has a CHT so you can learn from them. It’s that simple. It’s less of a commitment than a permanent job, at least in my opinion.
Since you’re interested in CHT, have you also looked into OT as a future career? You can also travel as an OT.
Good luck at getting into PT school, and feel free to contact me if you need anything!