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Travel PT Isn’t for Me!?

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

A few weeks into our relationship, I told Jacob that I had been (constantly) on the move and didn't necessarily want to stop. In PT school I had lived primarily in Miami, but taken clinical rotations in Massachusetts, Orlando and Los Angeles. Since I found out about Travel Physical Therapy I was curious, a drafted post dated in 2019 called “Is Travel PT Right For Me?” never made its way onto the blog but sat in the back of my head. With COVID-19 taking the front seat of the Class of 2020 career plans, I shuffled the idea to the side. So, when I brought up this master plan to my boyfriend I was excited to find he had thought about making a move several times himself. By mid-October I was calling recruiters and figuring out what needed to be done so we could start in the new year.


The recruiters I spoke with all gave me the same advice, “get the license and closer to your moving date we’ll talk.” OKAY! I can do that. Neither of us knew exactly where we wanted to end up, but agreed that California was a good place to start. I began to work on getting my CA License and Jacob floated the idea to his friends and family, and searched for jobs in which he would flourish.


As I worked in my PRN job, I read blogs about travel PT and getting the CA license. The process, for whatever reason, confused me (WAY) more than getting licensed in my home state. The timeline looked a little something like this:


Late October – Started speaking with recruiters

Early November – Submit my application to CA Board

Late November – Authorization to Test letter

Mid December – Sat for the Law Exam and passed, reconnected with recruiters

Late December – Received my fingerprint hard card, sent fingerprints

Mid January – Updated that fingerprints were final steps and were submitted to FBI

January 29th – Licensed in California!


The whole process took exactly 3 months from beginning to end, with items delayed by the postal service, holidays and coronavirus. Further detailed information will follow with steps to getting the CA license for those as direction-confused as I was.


What I thought was finally the start of my travel PT career has now been a frustrating month of job hunting. In October, each recruiter agreed that February was historically a much better time than January to begin travel PT. Initially, Jacob and I were extremely flexible – anywhere in California, any start date from January to March, and any setting (except home health). Since moving however I have become a little more rigid in my needs. We have been in the Bay Area for a little over a week so the time and place is here and now. I’m still struggling to find an opportunity that isn’t home health or an hour away and starting to get nervous. Did I make the wrong choice? What could I have done differently?


I have several recruiters, all of whom have provided almost daily updates of jobs and submitted to several different opportunities. Two of the opportunities which I had my sights on turned into part time jobs (a few DAYS before our arrival) that didn’t seem to fulfill our needs the way full time jobs do. I am now not solely looking for travel jobs, but looking into doing PRN work in the meantime and teetering with the idea of applying to full time jobs. One thing that always sticks out to me is advice one of my professors gave us, that the first year of experience will build you and mold you as a clinician more-so than any year after that. As I continue my job search, I am reminded that there are full time opportunities out there that I could be looking into but I haven’t fully given up hope of travel PT yet! Buuut, both Jacob and I are really loving the Bay Area and Jacob's job is one that we are both extremely excited about - so maybe we'll stick around.


So the question remains: IS travel PT right for me? TBD.



Ever thought about doing travel PT? Wondering why I am avoiding home health? (I am too). Tell me your thoughts by emailing me at kayleevd@gmail.com, or tweeting me!

Check out my instagram for photos of our maiden voyage to the west and updates from the Bay Area.

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