The Ultimate Guide To Traveling Therapy


First, here are the best posts to get you started:

What is Traveling Therapy

Requirements For Traveling Therapists

Advantages Of Traveling Healthcare 

Challenges Of Traveling Healthcare

How to Repay Your Loans With Traveling Healthcare

Step By Step Guide to Becoming A Travel Therapist


How I Became A Travel PT

 I discovered the career of traveling physical therapy (PT) by accident. After graduating in 2014, I began working full time at an amazing California physical therapy clinic. I was the lead therapist with a good salary, nice patients, and I could even walk to work. I thought I had found my perfect job!

Unfortunately, shortly after, my long-term boyfriend finished his schooling and began his own job hunt. As a molecular biologist, there were limited opportunities and we had to leave our wonderful family and friends and move to New York.

After months of applying for positions, and with the transfer across the nation looming, I had to make some hard decisions. I did receive several offers to interview in person in New York, but I would have had to cover all the costs accrued during the process. Between the flight, hotels, rental car and food, I was looking at $1000-$2000 at least! As a new graduate with large loan payments, this was something I couldn’t really afford! In addition, there was no guarantee that these companies would offer me the position due to the competitive New York market.

Frustrated with the costs I would incur to interview and concerned that this money could potentially be spent in vain- I looked for more unique opportunities. This is when I stumbled upon traveling physical therapy.


Travel Therapy Concerns

When I started on the career path of traveling healthcare, I was skeptical about the concept. My graduate school had never discussed traveling therapy as a job option and my peers had little knowledge as well. Without any relatable and trusted advice, I felt anxious and doubtful. I felt like I was taking a dangerous leap of faith!

During the process of transitioning to traveling healthcare, I will admit that I often felt lost. I had no idea where to start or how to become a traveling therapist. I was weary of the various travel companies and questioned if they had my best interest at heart. Even more, I was apprehensive of the quality of assignments I would get as a traveling physical therapist.

I admit that there was a lot of hesitation when I accepted a traveling position, site un-seen and manager unmet, in New York! But, I can gladly say that I am so thankful that I made the fateful decision to become a traveler.

I created this website, Ebook and all of my posts, because as a new graduate and new traveler, I had so many unanswered questions, fears and anxiety towards this career path. Looking back on my years as a traveling physical therapist, I wish that I could have had someone that I trusted to help provide me with the answers to my questions. I wish there would have been an easy and comprehensive guide like this website and Ebook that would have eased my fears. But lucky for you, now you have one!

I also want to educate therapists that traveling healthcare is a well-respected and rapidly growing career path. During my career, I have met many traveling physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, physicians and speech therapists that love traveling healthcare and are using traveling to help improve their finances while traveling the globe.

I want this guide to help you feel confident and comfortable on your route to becoming a traveling therapist. I hope this blog simplifies the steps of becoming a traveler and allows you to expand your experience, see amazing sights, and grow your savings!


What Is Traveling Therapy:

A traveling therapist is a PT or other healthcare worker that works for a traveling therapy that is contracted with a facility that has demand for short term therapists. To read more specifics about traveling, read the What is Traveling Therapy blog post.

A traveling therapist often works 13 week contracts, although contracts can be often as short as 4 weeks and as long as 20+ weeks.


Most Common Positions for Travelers include: 

  • Doctors

  • Nurses

  • Physical Therapists

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Speech Therapists


Most Common Settings Include:

  • Outpatient

  • Acute Rehabilitation (Hospital)

  • Sub-Acute Rehabilitation (Skilled Nursing)

  • Acute Care

  • Pediatrics


Where are these positions:

Almost anywhere in the nation will have travel contracts. Contact a travel company to find specific locations and assignments. Most assignments are located in large cities.



Why Does Travel Therapy Exist:

Traveling contracts arise most commonly due to sudden and/or short-term needs. Examples of such occasions are the need for travelers when permanent workers go on pregnancy leave or sick leave. Other examples may include peak seasons and times of a sudden influx of patients.


Traveling therapists can earn 2x more that average therapy position that are permanent. I cannot guarantee pay rates, but most compensation varies between $1200-2000 a week after taxes!!!

In addition to standard hourly rates, travelers can also get extra income by working overtime, getting reimbursed for your therapy license or travel to assignments, and bonuses for completing or starting assignments!


Traveling Salaries Typically Vary By:

  • Type of Setting

  • Location and Cost of Living

  • Facility’s Demand/Need



What Are the Advantages of Travel Therapy:

Here is a brief list of travel therapy advantages. To read more you can click here! 

  • Incredible compensation: $1200- $2000/week

  • Improved starting salary for new or recent graduates

  • Execrated salary upon returning to permeant positions

  • Bonuses: Sign on, completion, re-new

  • Provided housing and meal stipends

  • Health care: medical, vision, dental

  • Travel and relocation reimbursement

  • Life and professional liability insurance

  • 401 K and HSA

  • Short term disability, workers compensation

  • CEU reimbursement

  • Paid license and CPR dues

  • Unmatched freedom and flexibility

  • Travel the nation for free

  • Ability to avoid burnout

  • Unbeatable experience and ability to trial settings before choosing one to focus on

  • Ability to network and meet mentors and friends

  • Grow your confidence and your resume


What Are the Challenges of Travel Therapy:

Just as with all careers, travel therapy is not without faults. Here is a brief list of the challenges you may face as a traveling therapist:

  • No mentorship or little mentorship

  • Difficult to make and keep friends, co workers, relationships

  • Emotional stress and anxiety

  • Increased organization

  • Tax confusion and stress

  • Frequent traveling, packing, re-locations

  • Lack of ability to plan future due to short notice of contract

  • Potential unemployment time

  • Difficulty of abiding by tax regulations set for travelers

Click here to read more about these challenges and how to overcome them as a traveler.

What Are the Requirements of Travel Therapy: 

Here is brief list of the main requirements to be a travel therapist. As you will see, the requirements to be a traveler as the same as almost all other therapy positions.  To read more about the specific requirements of travel therapy click here!

  1. Licensed as a therapist in any state (Can later apply for specific state license)

  2. Passed state law exam (if required)

  3. Clear background check, up to date continuing education

  4. Current BLS holder

  5. Some prior experience- usually 1 year (flexible requirement)


Do I need to Be Licensed In Each State You Work?

Yes! Unfortunately the PT compact has not yet passed but keep on the look out for updates. Currently, you have to get each seperate state license as well as follow each state’s laws and continuing education requirements.


Can I Change Travel Companies At Any Time?

Yes! You can change recruiters and travel companies at any time. However, it is best to complete an assignment first and it is also best to try to avoid changing companies if possible. Changing travel companies may cause a loss of your 401K matching potential and a breif period without health insurance. In addition, you will have to resubmit all your paperwork to a new company, adding extra effort and time required to get a new assignment. If you decide to switch companies as a result, make sure you give yourself amply time for the transition and at least 4-6 weeks in my experience.


Can I Change Assignments At Any Time? 

Yes, however I would suggest you try to wait till your assignment is over to change positions.  Anytime you leave a position, you always want to leave on the best terms possible, as you may work there at a later point.


Is Travel Therapy A Stable Career?

This really depends on you. If you are a hard worker, organized, and great at your profession-then the answer is yes! In my 2/5 years as a traveler, I never had any trouble finding positions. In fact, many positions were always asking for me to come back and even offered me full time jobs! However, decreased stability is one of the biggest risks in travel therapy. There is always a chance your contract will get canceled or that you will not be needed to work full time.  To increase the stability of traveling, you can make sure you pick a great travel recruiter, great travel company, and the best assignment for you! 







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