How to Become a Traveling Physical Therapist
The healthcare industry was already a very diverse field to work in and with recent developments in technology and overall knowledge, it has increased. There is now ample opportunity for healthcare workers to take on work independently and outside of their own homes. One of those opportunities that possess that criteria are a traveling physical therapist.
One thing that has not changed much is the amount of time and effort it takes to be involved in the healthcare industry. This is not a career choice for those that want something simple and easy to step into. Throughout this article, we will detail what it takes to become a successful traveling physical therapist.
You Must Truly Enjoy It
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of this particular career, it is important to first look at the “man in the mirror” a.k.a yourself. It takes so much more than just wanting a well-compensated job, independence, or flexibility within your work. The preliminary factors that go into obtaining a position such as this one can easily run away from those that are not truly seeking to do this career for their true enjoyment.
However, if you have done even a little research and are not scared away yet then you are on a good path thus far. Going forward in this article will give you the opportunity to solidify your choice of pursuing this or looking elsewhere.
The platform that can help you a lot in this career, if you choose to pursue it, is Persona. Many of the features provided when using Persona directly apply to being a traveling physical therapist. For example, you will definitely need their hassle-free scheduling so that your clients can independently schedule their sessions for when you are available. Also, your clients are able to pay you and see their total tab. You are essentially creating your own store on an app and that will help with your efficiency for the business. All of this is for the grand total charge of zero dollars and zero cents. If you value efficiency, ease, and cost-effective assistance then look no further than Persona.
Earning Your Credentials
When becoming a traveling physical therapist you cannot just study and pass a certification exam, you must actually go to college. You have to earn a bachelor’s degree and then obtain a post-baccalaureate degree so that you can actually practice the craft. In order to receive a post-baccalaureate degree, you have to apply to physical therapy programs and those programs may require you to take the Graduate Record Examination. Be mindful that these programs usually require at least a 3.0-grade point average to get in.
Also in the United States, physical therapists must obtain a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy which can take up to 3 years to complete.
While managing your schooling you must make time to garner experience in a physical therapy setting whether volunteering or working as you are required to complete a clinical internship.
There are separate licenses to work in different states and requirements vary. However, the requirements that are uniform across state lines are passing the national physical therapy examination, criminal background check, law exam, and (if renewing) completion of continuing education credits.
Additionally, physical therapists can purchase compact licensure which can give states the ability to recognize their practice in their jurisdiction. This can save you a lot of time instead of applying to get licensed in each state. Firstly, you must purchase the PT compact license and be already licensed in your home state. Then, you pay a fee for each other individual state, (if required) take the jurisprudence exam and afterward, you can begin practicing in that state.
Find A Travel Physical Therapy Recruiter
Finding a recruiter that is willing to go above and beyond to match you with the best opportunity for you is a major key. As you may know, a recruiter receives payment from placing you with companies so it is easy to run into one that will not have your best interest at heart. Call a few different agencies and gauge whom you feel the most comfortable and trustworthy with. You want them to be honest, transparent, have the ability and want to advocate for you, and dependable. Characteristics that you want to avoid are dishonesty, putting pressure on you, and pushing your application without your approval.
Overall, you want to evaluate all the different companies and packages offered to see what is the best fit for the physical therapy career you want to begin. Never limit yourself to one recruiter as they may not have access to all that you can experience in this field.
After finding a good recruiter, you will be set up with several interviews in order to find placement with a company that will utilize your services. However, interviews are not just a formality, they actually matter as you will not usually be hired strictly from your educational background.
Interviews can make even the most confident people nervous as you don’t really know what to expect going in sometimes. With that being said here are some interview tips to help ease those nerves:
- Research the company – At times, candidates will know everything about the job they are applying for but not much about the actual company. This knowledge can help you get ahead in the hiring process.
- Practice Interviews – Sit down with a friend or colleague and go over typical interview questions and your answers. This can relieve some stress and anxiety from yourself on interview day because you already have a few answers to the questions.
- Highlight strengths and unique skills – At the end of the day, you are essentially telling the job why they need you so they will need to hear those aspects about you.
Characteristics Traveling Physical Therapists Need
We have covered so much thus far in the form of prerequisites, licensing, and recruiting. Nevertheless, we’d be remiss if we did not tell you that you need to look beyond all of that and figure out if your characteristics match those that are typically successful at this job. We will give you a list of common characteristics:
- Flexible – You must be flexible on multiple fronts. Traveling is not a profession for those that value staying put in one area as you have to expect you will not be in one place too long. Also, you must be flexible with your housing options. Not every placement will have you in a nice apartment, there are stories of traveling physical therapists renting rooms in a house so be aware.
- Interview skills – In this profession, you will likely interview often as you will constantly be on the move from job placements based on your recruiter’s ability to do so.
- Sociable – You will constantly be in contact with new people in new places so you will have to know how to socialize.
- Organized – There are many time-sensitive aspects to this job such as timesheets, license updates, new vaccinations, etc. If you are not organized this will overwhelm you.
- Crave traveling – Most importantly you must love to travel. There are options to be a physical therapist in a more stable way so if you are not in love with moving around the country consider those options.
We have gone over all the many aspects that encompass successfully becoming a traveling physical therapist. This is a profession for those that are dedicated to the job and crave a unique experience along with it. As it was stated earlier, there are different routes you can take and still be a physical therapist.
However, if you’ve made it through this article and feel that you are more excited about the possibilities than discouraged by the hard work and non-stability, then you should feel confident in your pursuit of this career. Just remember that along this road you will make mistakes and that is OK, but try not to make the same mistakes repeatedly. You will not know everything from the beginning and will be continually learning in your journey. There is not any amount of research that can physically prepare you for what you will experience thus you need to let yourself enjoy the ride.