Is Travel PT right for you?
Traveling can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a huge mountain of work. For both of those reasons, it’s not for the faint of heart. If you choose to travel, you’ll climb mountains, visit cities all across the country, and meet people who you’ll remember forever. And when you’re not doing that, you’ll be cursing every single state you’ve traveled as you apply for licenses and transfer your NPTE score yet again. You’ll swear this is the last time because the process is so annoying… until the next time. So what makes this constant whirlwind process so desirable, and is that process for you? Let’s talk about it.
So here’s the good, the bad, and some ugly about traveling PT.
I have made some incredible friends traveling in the most incredible of places.
I’ve treated amazing patients and had amazing coworkers.
The Bad: You’ll meet tons of people
I’ve also met some pretty bad coworkers and met some locals who hate me because I’m a “yankee” from Buffalo, NY.
The world is an interesting place…
The Good: You’ll see places all over the country
The views. The hikes. The drives. It hasn’t gotten old yet! You can find some pretty awesome adventures in the least likely of places. You just have to know how to look for them.
The Bad: You’ll see places all over the country
I was once dropped off by a cab driver and given the following advice as the driver pulled away: “don’t get shot.”
The Good: You’ll climb mountains
Need I mention the views again?
The Bad: You’ll climb mountains… of paperwork
Licensure. NPTE transfer scores. Criminal background checks. Drug checks. PPDs. Titers and vaccinations. Skills checklists. Competency tests. Over and over again.
This part really gets old. the process takes forever, and it starts over again with each new placement.
The Good: You’ll learn how therapists practice in many different settings
I’m an ortho guy, so I love finding someone who’s well practiced in Maitland, Mulligan, McKenzie, anything really. My company doesn’t formally offer mentorship, but you definitely get some when you meet PTs with great skills.
The Bad: You’ll learn how therapists practice
M.U.S.H. Massage, Ultrasound, Stim, Heat. These four are the bane of my career thus far.
Before I dig myself into a hole, I’ll just say that everything has a place, but when you meet a therapist who uses some combination of these four and a yellow theraband to treat everybody, you’ll feel my pain and know that you’ve met a dinosaur of PT.
The Good: You’ll make more money than your local job offers
Got loans? Stipends are great. They’ll help you pay those off in no time.
The Bad: It isn’t about money
Nothing inherently bad with this. You don’t get paid vacation, and learning how it works is a pain at first. That’s no fun, i guess. But when it all boils down, just don’t take a job for the money. More to come on this at another time, but the cash won’t be worth it if you hate the rest of the job.
The Good: Wanderlust
Yes. The generic picture of some amazing scenery with the word “Wanderlust (n.)” stamped on it. Well it’s true.
Wanderlust Wandering Around…
…your apartment wondering where you’ll be working in 3 weeks because you’re still waiting on that killer job offer to get back to you. It’s part of the game. The more I travel, the more I realize that the jobs get better and better the longer you play chicken. If you can wait, the good jobs will come. I just hate waiting. And packing. Packing is the worst.
So thats what I’ve got!
You’ll travel all over the world, and it’s awesome. But there’s a boat load of work involved, and the work repeats every few months. If all my pictures weren’t a hint, I think traveling is pretty great. So what do you think?
Fellow travelers, potential travelers, and new grads, what do you think about traveling? Does it sound great? Does it sound like way too much work? Whether you’re getting ready to fly out or convinced to stay put, let me know if travel PT might be for you!