Physical Therapy, Travel Jobs

Checklist for a Successful Travel Physical Therapy 

Treyvon Kurr
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Once you sign your new contract, finalize documentation, and confirm accommodation, it is now time to pack all your essentials. As a traveling PT, packing your essentials can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, we have compiled a thorough checklist of everything you need for a successful travel physical therapy assignment.  

5 Essentials for Successful Packing for a Travel Physical Therapy Professional 

It is time to pack for your first assignment after deciding to pursue your clinical skills and satisfy your adventure to see new places by attaining your traveling PT certification. We have put together a travel checklist to make your journey more organized and successful. Without further ado, below are the essentials needed for a successful travel physical therapy assignment. 

Set Clear Goals 

One of the most vital dos in your travel physical therapy checklist is determining your priorities and goals. Here are a few questions that you should consider asking yourself. 

  • Are you ready for everything that comes with travel life? This includes last-minute logistical changes, long drives, long flights, and even delays 
  • Can you relocate to various locations every three to four months? 
  • Can you live comfortably with roommates? 
  • Are you available to work on weekends? 
  • Are you flexible enough to work in diverse locations, including rural settings? 
  • How will your career as a traveling PT affect your family, spouse, and kids? 

These questions will help you address some of the issues you are likely to face as a travel physical therapy expert. It is advisable to use a simple spiral notebook, diary, or planner to keep track of everything you have done and what is left. It will also help you scribble down new priorities or objectives that may arise as you continue with your journey. 

Reassess your Resume 

Always keep your resume up to date before going for any travel physical therapy assignment. Thus, it would be best to distinguish yourself with a competitive and compelling resume. Find various resources with insightful resume tips that help you update your resume to convey your skills to any potential employer.  

Dos and Don’ts for Travel Physical Therapy Expert Resumes 
Below are some items that you should not miss from your travel physical therapy resume: 
  • Most recent work experience, including details of the unique duties you handled at the job 
  • Educational background (including special recognition and any honours) 
  • Area of physical therapy expertise 
  • All your active state licenses 
  • All certifications for advanced training courses 
  • Draw attention to your strengths by listing them at the top of your resume  
  • If you are familiar with EMRs and other software applications 
  • A comprehensive list of valid references with their contact information 
As you prepare your resume, keep a lookout for these resume don’ts. 
  • Avoid spelling and grammatical errors as they diminish the quality of your document. Use proofreading tools like Grammarly or ask your friends to re-read it and point out any errors 
  •  Although your resume should be brief, be careful not to leave out important information like employment experience, relevant certifications, and qualifications 
  • Avoid unnecessary fillers in your resume. For instance, if you held a part-time job in other fields other than physical therapy, you do not need to mention it 
  • Avoid using informal language. Ensure that your resume only has clean and professional language 
  • Refrain from over formatting your document with font variations, italics, bolded words and underlining as it may take away from your physical therapy expertise 

Review Credentials and Licensing Requirements 

The National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) is mandatory for all traveling PTs. However, you must also have a license in each state where you practice. Furthermore, as you may be aware, not all states follow the same licensing protocols and traveling PT regulations.  

For instance, some states may need you to pass a jurisprudence test. You may also need to get fingerprint clearance and extra training hours to obtain the requisite credentials. Thus, set aside sufficient time to accomplish all required tasks to attain the necessary licensing and qualifications, which may include: 

  • Reviewing the guidelines of the state, you are going to practice in 
  • Knowing if and where to book your NPTE and jurisprudence test, if you need to retake it 
  • Upon completing the test, you must know how you will get your NPTE scores from the Federation States Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) 
  • Comply with any other regulations as required by state guidelines, such as fingerprint clearance, urine testing, and notarization 

Note that several states have come together under the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact to reduce the regulatory requirements for traveling PTs. In turn, they can practice in several jurisdictions using one license. However, traveling PTs must buy PT Compact privileges, and they should also be aware that not all states are partisan to the agreement. 

Re-evaluate Tax Guidelines 

As you may already know, traveling PTs get tax-free stipends provided they keep detailed records of their expenses and income. Depending on where you practice, you may have to pay taxes on each of them. However, some states practice the ‘reciprocity agreement,’ allowing traveling PTs to pay income tax to one state only. 

The IRS encourages traveling physical therapists to establish a tax home, a primary place of business where you work as a self-employed individual or an employee permanently. You must pay the rent at ‘fair market value’ and work at your tax home for at least 30 days per year. To avoid confusion and significant taxation liability, consider consulting a travel tax specialist or an accountant.  

Practice Flexibility 

Even though you are on a traveling PT assignment, anything can happen, including losing your job. You could be 1500 miles into your trip and even signed a lease for your residence, only to discover the termination of your contract.  

In this case, getting in touch with reputable recruiters specializing in placing traveling PTs is worth trying. You could ask for references of a genuine recruiter from a veteran traveling PT and their experience with working with them. You could also research to find reputable recruiters who care about advocating for professionals like yourself. Read through their testimonials and how they demonstrate their values. 

It is also possible to attend PT conferences as they usually accommodate face-to-face meetings with experienced traveling PT recruiters. However, you must be aware of all the contract terms and associated fees of these recruiters before choosing your preferred choice.  

Final Thoughts 

Once you have verified these items in your checklist, you are well on your way to securing your traveling PT career. So, if you are ready with all your credentials and licensing qualifications and are well-conversant with tax guidelines, you are well-prepared to start your traveling PT assignment.  

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