In the first article of this three part blog series, we looked at reasonable and realistic expectations for the new grad traveler. Does this change for those choosing to travel as a team? What should travel pairs know before deciding to embark on their travel journey? Here’s some advice from “new grad approved” recruiters.
1. Is traveling as a new grad team realistic in the current market?
According to the trusted recruiters I interviewed, traveling as a new grad team is definitely possible in the travel world for PTs, OTs, and SLPs. In the state of the current market, an assistant team (two PTAs or two COTAs) is close to impossible. It is important for new grad pairs to be as flexible as possible when it comes to settings, and especially locations. It is realistic to expect for one person to get an offer before the other. It can be beneficial for teams for work with a few different companies to maximize the opportunities available to them.
2. Are the opportunities the same as for those traveling solo?
When you decide to travel as a pair as new graduates, the opportunities are different. This is because the priority becomes being together. Therefore, it is only reasonable to acknowledge that you will sacrifice some money, location, and/or setting for the sake of traveling as a team. One recruiter used the analogy of an equation…. Not only are you traveling as a new graduate, but you are traveling as a pair, adding another variable into the mix. Adding another variable, makes the equation more complicated. It’s important to recognize this and be as flexible as possible. As a solo traveler, you can be pickier with setting and/or location because you are only trying to find one position.
3. How much longer could it take to find a placement for a new grad team?
There is no black and white answer to this question. Length of time to find placements as a new grad team vary based on where you are looking and how flexible you are with setting and location. It always help to have a concrete plan after doing your research and setting your priorities. What can you live with and what can’t you go without?
4. Are certain states better for teams?
In general, states with higher population densities tend to have greater needs for travelers, and thus, could potentially have needs for travel teams. Texas, Washington, and California are the three states that were consistently mentioned during recruiter interviews. Two needs can also arise in states with quick licensure. It is important to work with an experienced recruiter who knows the market inside and out so they can help guide you along in this process. Recruiters who have experience placing new grad teams are also more likely to be able to help new grad pairs more efficiently.
5. How likely would it be for a team to be placed in the same facility?
The overall consensus is that this would be unlikely, but not completely impossible. The facility would need to be large enough and have the demand to warrant the need for two travelers at a time. Most of the time, it is more feasible to find two positions within commutable distance of each other, allowing them to live together to in the middle of the two facilities.
6. Are certain settings more likely to be able to accommodate teams?
This question also does not have a black and white answer. As was mentioned before, it is rare to see two needs for the same facility. However, when two needs arise, the trend is that this occurs in a large hospital system, home health agency, or a school with multiple needs. Remember, there have to be enough patients to necessitate the need for multiple therapists. If you know that both team members want to work in a school, it may be beneficial to work with companies that tend to get more school placements. If you know that both team members are open to the home health setting, it is important to inquire with the company about how many direct clients they have that have utilized multiple travelers at the same time in the past. For instance, many California and Texas home health clients frequently have the need for two travelers.
To be continued….. In Part 3, we’ll take a look at reasonable & realistic expectations for the new graduate PTA & COTA