How to Prepare for a Career in Travel Occupational Therapy

How to Prepare for a Career in Travel Occupational Therapy

…By Khurram Alley for TDPel Media.

OTs who choose to travel can enjoy several benefits. Some perks include a high salary, housing paid for, mileage reimbursement, referral bonuses, 401k, and insurance.

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Travel therapists are recruited for temporary contracts at healthcare facilities in the US, typically 13-week assignments. The perks are numerous, and the experience adds to your resume.

  1. Education

Occupational therapy is one of the highest in-demand healthcare professions. This career is ideal for someone that enjoys helping others while making a good living at the same time. Traveling occupational therapists work on short-term contracts (13 weeks) in various locations. These facilities may include hospitals, medical centers, or other outpatient clinics.

Travel occupational therapy jobs typically find assignments through a healthcare travel company. The OT will work with the agency’s recruiter to find an assignment that matches their clinical skills and preferences. Usually, a travel OT will have a lot of perks, including housing paid for by the placement company, direct payroll deposit, mileage reimbursement, non-taxable living stipend, and referral bonuses.

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As a travel therapist, you can see different parts of the country and meet new people. The perks are great, but establishing roots and building a community can also be hard.

  1. Licensing

When you decide to become a travel OT, you will need to pass a state licensing exam. The licensing requirements vary from state to state, and they take a varying amount of time to process. You will need to find a healthcare travel company licensed in your home state, and they will help you obtain the necessary licensing for your position.

Once you have the right credentials, it is time to start your career as a travel occupational therapy professional. You can sign up with a travel agency that specializes in this field and offers you a variety of benefits, including paid housing, referral bonus, non-taxable living stipend, mileage reimbursement, and more.

Travel therapists work at various locations throughout the country on short-term contracts, usually for 13-week periods. The positions include:

  • Hospitals.
  • Outpatient rehab clinics for adults and children.
  • Long-term care facilities.
  • Even private practice.

There are also specialized travel therapist jobs that take you to the homes of teenagers that suffer from autism and individuals who have developmental disabilities.

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As a travel OT, you will experience different areas of the country and acquire more experience in your profession. You can pick a contract that suits your needs and preferences, such as working in places on your bucket list or being close to family and friends.

  1. Experience

OTs, PTs, SLPs, and therapy assistants can take a travel assignment at facilities across the United States. Travel therapists fill in for permanent therapists on vacation or taking time off, helping to keep patient loads stable.

Taking temporary contracts nationwide gives travelers valuable professional experience, building a robust resume. In addition, they can choose a contract that matches their goals and interests. The benefits of working as a travel therapist include a competitive salary and allowances such as free or low-cost housing, mileage reimbursement, non-taxable living stipend, referral bonus, and health insurance.

Healthcare staffing agencies hire travel therapists for short-term contracts at hospitals and medical facilities. Most contracts last 13 weeks, allowing clinicians to explore different parts of the US without committing to a permanent job. Many therapists travel for career or lifestyle reasons, while others must fill in at local facilities due to staffing shortages.

  1. Traveling

Traveling for work can be an incredibly fulfilling and exciting experience. Often, traveling OTs are hired by healthcare travel companies to fill short-term positions at medical facilities across the country. Travel OT jobs typically last 13 weeks and can be found in hospitals, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health, and school systems.

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Working as a travel therapist also includes benefits such as paid housing, mileage reimbursement, non-taxable living stipend, referral bonus, and 401(k) contributions. However, travelers need to remember that the recruiters they work with have their best interests in mind but are essentially selling the company’s services. They will try to sell you to the company that will give you the most money and benefits in return, so it’s good to develop relationships with multiple travel therapist recruiters.

It is not uncommon for new travel therapists to receive mentorship from other experienced professionals. Still, it’s important to note that finding a full-time permanent position can be difficult when you are a new graduate with little to no professional experience. It is important to be realistic about what you are looking for from your career and be prepared to take on any temporary position that may come your way. If unsatisfied with the job, you can give two weeks’ notice and move on to another position.

  1. Certification

The Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines the qualifications for an OT to become licensed. These professionals graduate from an ACOTE-accredited OT or OTA educational program and then apply for licensure through the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). 

To become licensed, you must pass the exam, complete a criminal background check, meet a minimum work experience requirement, and pay the requisite licensing fee. Each state and territory may have additional licensure requirements to be met before an OT or OTA can practice in the field.

Once you’ve met the education, licensing, and certification requirements, it’s time to start your travel occupational therapy career! You can find assignments in various healthcare facilities across the country. This type of employment allows you to visit different destinations while gaining valuable skills. Travel OTs and OTAs can choose where they want to work, and they typically receive many allowances, bonuses, and gratuities that aren’t available in permanent positions.

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Final Words

It’s a good idea to stay organized when preparing for your travel OT job search, especially as you gather the documents required by each facility. This will help you avoid unnecessary stress as you work to land your first assignment, and it’ll make the process smoother for both you and your recruiter. 

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