Jonathan Riddell, PTA

From PTA to Recruiter

As a football player for the Razorbacks at the University of Arkansas, Jonathan Riddell learned a lot about the importance of strength training and injury prevention. Majoring in Kinesiology and Exercise Science was an easy choice for him, and after graduation, he worked as a Physical Therapy Tech for a short time before deciding to go back to school to become a Physical Therapy Assistant.


After returning home to Russellville, he quickly realized how saturated the market was in Arkansas with Physical Therapy Assistants and was unable to find a job in his area. He started to investigate other options and found himself on the Allied Travel Careers website, which is where he first encountered Cariant Health Partners. He decided to apply for one of Cariant’s open travel positions and after speaking with his recruiter, Erik Malmos, he felt like traveling was the best choice for his future.


Shortly after, Jonathan found himself packing his bags and heading to his first contract in Lawton, Oklahoma. Although he was lonely at times, he loved the environment and the people he was meeting (including his future wife)! His favorite part of being a PTA was the relationships he was able to build with his patients over the six-to-eight-week time frame that he spent with them. His time in Lawton flew by, and soon he was on to his next contract.


Over the next three years, Jonathan completed eight contracts with Cariant. It never crossed his mind to go to a different company because of his relationship with Erik, his Recruiter/Account Manager, and how Cariant treated him as a traveler. Erik was always there for him, and he knew he had a friend no matter where he was placed on assignment.


After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Jonathan started to think about his next move. PTA jobs were scarce, and there wasn’t a lot of security in traveling at the time. He spoke with his Erik about his concerns, and he suggested that he apply for a recruiter position at Cariant. As crazy as the idea sounded, Jonathan decided to go for it and when his travel contract ended in Montana, he packed up his trailer and drove to Omaha to interview for the job. When he walked into the Cariant office that day, he knew he was home by how welcome everyone made him feel.


Now that he has had the chance to settle into his new role as Recruiter and Account Manager, his favorite part is the mutual excitement he and his traveler share when he places them in the perfect assignment. He loves that he can use his previous experience as a traveler to help answer questions and provide support to the travelers he works with.


His advice to new graduates is simple: “Don’t discount traveling as an option for you. You get all the mentorship you want, get to experience different settings, and build your resume in the process.” For anyone else that wants to travel, he said it is totally worth it and is a way to experience things and places you wouldn’t normally. “Travel jobs are normal jobs with better pay that you get to test drive first!”