What is a travel SLP, PT, or OT?

Learn travel healthcare like a from fellow travelers (unbiased and honest)

Therapists. Who Travel. Travel therapists! Travel therapy is not a dream. This is not even crazy. This is something a lot of SLPs, PTs, OTs, and therapy assistants all choose to do. And most end up so glad they took the leap into becoming a traveler. I myself am one of those “crazy travelers” who could not be happier I said yes to this lifestyle and career path! It takes a bit of bravery, a slice of preparation, and a side of clinical experience. But to be really honest, it’s not hard to get started. Many times the hardest part is just making the decision to go for it!

Pros of travel therapy:

  • Low commitment: contracts are only 13 weeks at a time (usually)
  • Travel therapists and assistants have control over where they go
  • More money and with a portion of it being tax-free (almost always)
  • Freedom, a career that is flexible
  • Fewer office politics
  • Ability to take extended time off to hike the Appalachian Trail, travel to Bali, or just spend time with your family throughout the year
  • Avoiding burnout

It’s not hard to get started! The hardest part is just your own mindset and deciding to go for it. Many of you could be starting your first travel assignment in just three weeks from today!

Cons of travel therapy:

  • Less stability, contracts do get canceled (rare)
  • You are a contractor, which means no paid sick days or vacations. You only get paid the hours you work (typically)
  • There are not contracts in every location, you need to have some flexibility
  • Finding housing in each location
  • Paperwork and credentialing between each contract
  • Learning to negotiate and communicate with multiple recruiters
  • Being comfortable with being uncomfortable. You are constantly embracing the unknown and being the new girl or guy!
  • Minimal orientation. You must be clinically skilled, confident, and be able to see patients right away.

Who travel therapy is best for:

  • Therapists and therapy assistants who want to travel!
  • Therapy assistants who have at least 2 years experience total
  • Therapists and therapy assistants who have strong references, can pass a drug screen, and rock a skills checklist and phone interview
  • Therapists and therapy assistants who can hit the ground running and be great for the facility that needs them to help
  • Therapists and therapy assistants who are willing to be flexible. Yes, you will probably need to adapt to whatever your facility (who is paying major dollars for you) needs from you.

Why does the travel therapy industry exist?

Two words: therapist shortage.

Facilities and patients need techs and respiratory therapists. Permanent staff sometimes can’t cover all the patients. Or they have babies and need some time off. Or they go on strike. Or they are learning a new computer program and need time to train. Or there is a seasonal spike of patients each year. So a traveler can come on in for 13 weeks and help out while the facility is either trying to hire their own permanent staff or giving someone maternity leave (etc, etc).

Travelers are expensive, yes. But it’s not crazy for a facility to want us. Finding their own staff, interviewing them, dealing with resumés, onboarding, orienting, offering benefits, liabilities… that is really hard and expensive too. Their PRN pool might not be dependable or big enough for when they need help quick- so here we are! Travelers are a great solution.

We are meant to be skilled, talented, credentialed, and ready to help out. When we come in with a friendly disposition and in a mindset of service, we are loved and really helpful to facilities around the whole country. If you are interested in being a travel therapist or travel therapy assistant, then grab a latte and keep on learning. You could be just weeks away from being one of us.

Cheers to life on your terms,

xo Laura

Keep learning, empowered travelers 💪

Where do you want to travel to?

Tell us in a quick survey and we will match you with vetted recruiters who have the locations, benefits, and personality you want!

Empowered travelers are travelers that love to learn and grow! Learn how the industry works and use our free tools to be confident and excited about your journey ahead! 

Additional Reimbursements

Did your offer come with something extra that would cost the staffing agency money? This may include a CEU class, scrubs, or sign on bonuses. Don’t worry if this section is blank, most offers don’t have extra reimbursements.

Travel Reimbursements

This is tax-free money that is paid to you to help you pay for the expense of traveling to your assignment. Many staffing agencies pay for this per mile up to a certain amount. They will usually pay this on your first paycheck or split between your first paycheck and last. If you are traveling a short distance this could be a very small amount.

Also, it’s becoming more popular for an agency to not offer this at all. It’s really not a big deal though. If you don’t get travel reimbursement money you should make a bit more in your weekly pay so many times it all equals out.

Weekly Housing Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code.

The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Meal Stipends

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city. This is usually presented to travelers on a weekly or per shift basis.

The government tells the staffing agency the maximum they are allowed to pay travelers based on the cost of living in each zip code. The staffing company does not usually get to pay us the full amount since they only have the amount the facility is willing to pay for us. That may end up being less than the government’s max, if so, no worries. This is okay as long as the total package is fair.

Weekly Insurance Costs

Medical insurance can impact your final paycheck a lot since it will deduct pay from your check each week. If you are taking the company health insurance, you are going to want to know up front about how much this will cost you per week.

The average is around $30 a week but some companies charge as much as $100 a week to their travelers and some offer some health insurance options for free. If you are not taking their insurance just set this to zero.

Hours per week

For this calculation, put the hours per week you are expecting to work. And then feel free to run it again with the hours you are guaranteed. Many times contracts have guaranteed hours that are lower than the expected hours.

Guaranteed hours means if the facility doesn’t need you to come in, you will still get paid as long as it was their choice and not yours to not work.

Also, find out if this contract has any “call off shifts” where the hospital can call you off without pay a certain number of times per contract. This is common and not a deal breaker but just good to know!

Length of assignment

In travel nurses and allied health the most common length of a travel assignment is 13 weeks. If you are looking for a contract shorter or longer just ask! Sometimes facilities or hospitals who hire you will be flexible.

Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
Graph Café, Chiang Mai, Thailand 🥇