With all of the great press surrounding the field of physical and occupational therapy these days it’s hard not to think it must be too good to be true. After all, not that many people can be that happy getting up and going to work every day, can they?
But that’s just it – America is now in the midst of the “get up and go” working generation! When you consider the widespread trend of telecommuting and working remotely it’s easy to see how the current sea of professionals doesn’t want to be tied down to a desk like generations past. And if you work as a traveling therapist, you will be anything but tethered to one particular location.
So what sets traveling therapy apart from more traditional physical and occupational therapy gigs? And more importantly, how can you become one?
Of course, everyone is different and each experience is unique but there are some basic requirements and benefits that apply across the board.
Do you have what it takes?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the employment opportunities for therapists to grow by 39% from 2010 to 2020 – much faster than the average for all occupations. But before jumping in to a career in therapy, make sure your personality fits the bill:
- Helpful spirit: If you don’t like helping people, you may as well stop reading now because any kind of career in therapy means you will be helping others obtain a better quality of life.
- Patience: If everything in life annoys you, perhaps you should keep looking because you will need grace in difficult situations.
- Positive attitude: Sometimes in the course of therapy, your biggest job description will be that of “motivator” and “encourager.” Wet blankets need not apply.
- Healthy living: Therapy is a demanding specialty so whether you need actual physical strength to help your patients with exercises or mental strength to keep at a hard task until your patient masters it, you will need to be healthy and engaged mentally and physically.
In addition to the above traits, if you also have a desire to roam about the land in search of new and ever-changing environments, you may be the perfect candidate for a career as a traveling therapist.
Do you want what it has to offer?
Whether your specialty is physical or occupational, here are some of the biggest benefits to traveling therapy:
- Freedom: Many therapists set their own hours and establish flexible schedules that suit their lifestyles. Since you are working with new patients all the time, as long as it matches up with their needs, you don’t have to worry about putting in a 9-5 every day.
- Financial Stability: You can actually make more money by taking on new positions several times a year (assignment periods vary from 1-3 months) and because you’re constantly traveling, you don’t have to worry about house payments.
- Flexibility to Travel: If you wanted to, you could reside in multiple locations each year because as a service provider, you take your tools with you.
- Improved Quality of Life: Not only do traveling therapists report having an inordinately high level of happiness and job satisfaction, but they are able to help even more people by moving from location to location rather than staying in one place. Win-win!
Do you know anyone who has found fulfillment as a traveling therapist?
Steve Gingrich is a brand manager for CompHealth, supporting their 3 Allied Staffing and Placement divisions and the occupational therapy jobs division. He loves contributing to the blog and social media outlets as his side gig, and has worked for CHG Healthcare since 2010. So if this sounds like your kind of lifestyle and you want more information on all things therapy, check out the American Physical Therapy Association website.
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