I am a travel PT and have consistently worked as a traveler throughout the pandemic and insurance changes ( PDPM, PDGM). I am not the most experienced therapist but have taken certain actions to keep myself employed during the pandemic.
Travel market update: Unpopular opinion — the travel therapy market is much worse than when I first started traveling. There are much fewer jobs, and jobs are paying less overall. Since there are fewer jobs, there is much more competition. There is also an increase in social media use to promote jobs which entices more new graduates to jump into travel. This increases the competition and drives down rates as new graduate travelers are more likely to accept a lower-paying job to get their feet wet. It is what it is. I am hopeful that the travel market will eventually rebound back but no one knows when or if it will fully rebound.
A resource I wish would have been available to me as a new graduate is Rate My Therapy Company. I created this community to make it easier for therapists to learn about companies before applying. This group allows therapists to rate companies and provide valuable information on factors such as pay, productivity, and company culture.
Here are 3 actions I take to land travel jobs in 2021
- Work with multiple recruiters
I always work with at least 2-3 trusted recruiters. The best recruiters I have found are from word of mouth. There are hundreds of travel companies, and you can save time vetting recruiters if you take recommendations from a trusted travel therapist. I am happy to share my recruiter recommendations if you message me.
The more recruiters you have access to, the more options you have. Larger recruiter companies typically pay less and have greater access to jobs due to more overhead costs. Smaller recruiter companies normally pay more and have less access to jobs. Some companies do not fit this mold and it is a general rule.
Recruiters are working hard to place you in an assignment, and it is best to be honest with them. Mention you are working with other recruiters and they should be okay with it. Working with multiple recruiters places more of a demand to respond promptly as you will be in contact with multiple recruiters. I always make it a top priority to respond as fast as possible if a recruiter emails or texts me. Recruiters can be very busy, and they are more likely to work with you if you do not delay responses. Time is money. A traveler is more appealing to work with if they respond quickly. The sooner they respond, the sooner they can make money as a traveler.
- Apply to jobs quickly
One of the reasons I landed my current travel job in the Virgin Islands is because I applied quickly. When I heard about the job, I applied as quickly as possible and dedicated my full attention to the process. I was submitted to the job 30 minutes after it was posted. Jobs come and go quickly in the competitive market we are in. You must know what kind of job you want and be willing to make a split decision to be submitted or not.
Do not wait until you see a desirable job to sign up for your recruiter’s company. Sign up with the company beforehand, and this will save time when applying for a travel job.
When there is a job available within my preferences, I have my recruiter send me a text message with vague details including pay, setting, and location. If I like the job, I make a decision to be submitted normally within 5 minutes. Speed is key during this competitive market.
- Be flexible on location
The more flexible you are on setting and location, the greater of a chance you have at landing a travel job. When I started, I was more particular about working in as many settings as possible to gain experience. I have worked in the outpatient, SNF, long term care, ICU, acute care, and home health settings. Now, I am not as picky about settings. Having a wide range of experience in different settings will make your application more competitive. You can also branch off in a new setting for a PRN job while working a travel contract.
Certain states have more travel jobs than others. I have traveled to states with more travel jobs to increase my chances. However, if you travel to a less popular state, it will be less competitive, and it may increase your chances of finding a travel job. Your career as a traveler will be much smoother the more flexible you are with location and setting.
I hope these travel tips help you land a travel job in 2021. If you still struggle to land a job, it is totally fine to wait and take a full time/ PRN job to gain experience and then travel in the future. Travel jobs will always be there. Join Rate My Therapy Company to learn about jobs before applying.