The idea of a career as a traveling therapist after graduation can be both an exciting and daunting prospect! You’ve studied hard and demonstrated clinical competency throughout your program, but how do you know you are ready to hit the ground running in a brand new facility in an unknown location? Making the decision about your first position as a licensed professional is a pivotal point in your career whether it’s a permanent or travel position. It’s imperative that each new graduate make an informed decision to ensure a successful transition from student to clinician.
There are many staffing agencies who will spend thousands of dollars each year marketing to soon-to-be graduates by attending conferences, career fairs, and hosting school events. Many agencies will even pronounce in these or similar terms, that “any new grad can travel”. Traveling as a new graduate is certainly appropriate for several new graduates. The academic rigor and clinical preparation built into these programs realistically give all new graduates the skills required to be considered an entry-level practitioner. However, as an advocate for all new grads entering the therapy professions, I want to make it clear that traveling is not appropriate for all new graduates.
As a new graduate entering the travel therapy world, you are still expected to hit the ground running. Yes, there are still plenty of opportunities for mentorship in travel therapy, however, nothing is guaranteed. Many facilities are single therapist facilities and as a new graduate, you should be prepared for staffing changes at any time. Do you possess the inherent flexibility of sudden schedule changes, staffing changes, location changes, etc. How soon were you treating a full caseload independently in your clinical affiliations/fieldwork experiences? Were you treating full caseload in a low-volume clinic with low productivity standards or a high-volume clinic with high productivity standards? How familiar are you with Medicare billing and coding? These are all questions that need to be taken into consideration before deciding to travel.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE TRAVELING, and couldn’t be happier that I made that choice as a new graduate, but it needs to be the right choice for YOU. It has become my passion project to help all new graduates choosing to pursue travel therapy, to launch successful careers that will propel them for success and further opportunity. If you feel unsure about whether travel therapy is right for you as a new grad, I would love the chance to chat with you. What do productivity standards look like in different settings/locations? What is a typical caseload? What is typical mentorship/ramp-up time? How do I narrow down clinically appropriate positions? How do I find outside mentorship in the event of staffing changes? I’d love to help you hone in and tackle any potential barriers to pursuing your dream to become a travel therapist! What can be done in terms of strategic planning to address your areas for growth and capitalize on your strengths to allow you to embark on an incredible and prosperous journey?
It has become my mission to make the travel therapy industry more accountable to new grads by offering more resources to this niche population. If you would like to set up a time to chat about whether travel therapy is right for you, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form on my blog at www.newgradtraveltherapy.com. From these conversations, I hope to be able to create more resources for new graduates choosing to pursue careers in travel therapy. Let’s hold this industry accountable together!