New grad travel therapist: ready to travel checklist

You are a Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Speech Language Pathologist who just graduated or you are about to – either way, cheers to you!! You are now entering (quite literally) a world of opportunities. And it’s so exciting that you’re considering becoming a new grad travel therapist!

If you didn’t already know, I traveled as a new grad Occupational Therapist and I am grateful that I did every single day (you can read my story here)! I thrived while living the travel life and I got to experience such a variety of settings and experiences. I knew that even though I was a new grad travel therapist, I was confident in my clinical skills, I was a quick learner, and I couldn’t wait to check out all the career building opportunities that I had available to me.

If I could go back, I would still travel 100%. BUT I would have loved a checklist to start with – something that would have helped me feel ready and even more prepared for my new healthcare career. I’ve been in this crazy, fun industry since 2009, so I wanted to create that resource and be able to share it with you!

Are you ready to be a new grad travel therapist? Let’s find out!

  • I am able to be independent and self-sufficient. I have strong communication skills to get answers and/or clarification when I need it.
  • I am determined to study on my own time in order to be an even more reliable healthcare professional during my travel assignment.
  • I am willing to roll with the punches. I know that my travel therapy career will be an exciting journey full of fun, learning, and freedom of time. But it also will have its challenges and it will require me to be flexible and adaptable.
  • I know mentorship opportunities are out there, but are not guaranteed. It is my responsibility to set the right expectations for any potential employer. I know to ask questions ahead of time like: “Will there be other therapists working at this facility?”, “Is there any opportunity for mentorship?”, “Have you worked with new grads recently?”. And I am always willing to seek additional resources (independently) to further my growth and clinical experience while working in any travel therapy job!
  • I understand the travel therapy basics such as: licensure (how to get licensed and where I should get licensed), how to qualify for tax-free stipends, where to find short-term housing, I know interview questions to ask potential recruiters (but also know Nomadicare vets recruiters for me if I decide to get a recruiter match from them), I’m educated on taxes, the state of the market, I know about how much I’ll probably make, and I’m familiar with the timeline and expectations I should have during my travel career!
  • I know that in order for my travel therapy journey to be really successful, it is crucial for me to be flexible as a new grad travel therapist. Prioritizing what I’m looking for in a travel job is important to me, but I know that not every assignment will be able to support all of the preferences I have. I am willing to be more flexible on location, I know what settings I am comfortable working in, and I will communicate openly and honestly about those things with my 2-3 recruiters.
  • I am ready to jump into a travel therapy assignment within the next 90 days – I know that connecting with recruiters earlier than that can make communication tough and that not a lot of actions can be taken that early.
  • I know the pros and cons of travel therapy (everything has pros and cons)! But I am excited and eager to take on this adventure!

If you went through this checklist and thought, oh yes this will be the right fit for me – congratulations!!

Now it’s time to take the leap! 80% of it is truly mindset. All travelers (not just new grad travelers) WILL make mistakes and things won’t always go perfectly to plan, but that’s part of the unknown and exciting journey! You don’t have to know everything or micromanage everything. Learn. But also enjoy the ride and know it’s supposed to be a little bumpy for travelers! Let go of expectations and have fun with it. It’s a really exciting career path!

And if you need support or travel therapy tips, Nomadicare (and me) are always here! I’m here to match you with vetted, transparent recruiters who work with new grads and who know how to best support you. You can get started with recruiter matches here, my friend!

Here’s to jumping into the travel industry and having new adventures!

Laura Latimer

Laura Latimer

Travel OT and Founder of Nomadicare

Quickly see which states and settings have the most jobs and highest pay for your specialty

Be the first to know when new jobs are posted in your preferred location and settings

Get tax home support and file your taxes with a vetted CPA you can trust

See each state’s requirements, costs, and timeline to get licensed in one place

Shop multiple plans from top providers with a vetted insurance advisor you can trust

Get answers to your most common questions about travel therapy!