Have you ever watched a movie where the main character tries to make an important decision based on a pros and cons list? Like “Along Came Polly”? For all the jokes or stumbles that often follow these fictional examples, in real life it’s not a bad way to start the decision-making process.
Here are some of the pros and cons we typically share with first-timers considering a travel therapy assignment.
The ultimate pro. You’re in control of this whole journey. You choose which contracts to accept or decline, what state or city to experience next, and how much time you’ll take between contracts. Want to backpack Europe? No problem. If you’re on Cariant insurance, you have 30 days in between assignments to be a world traveler. Just be at that next assignment on time to avoid breaks in coverage.
Many factors will contribute to your ultimate take-home pay, but generally speaking travel therapists can make 25 to 40 perfect higher pay than therapists working in a permanent job. Tax-free incentives are a major perk. Pocket that extra money and you’re fast on your way to a down payment, wedding fund or nest egg.
You’re never alone as a traveler. You might be leaving your home state for the first time and traveling solo, but your recruiter is a dependable, professional support system. You’ll never have to worry about who to go to with a contract, mentorship, housing or any other assignment-related problem.
The fact that you’re constantly learning as a traveler is great for professional development. The longer you travel the more opportunities you make to grow your professional and mentorship network. Plus, you’re discovering what settings and cities you’d enjoy settling down in for a permanent job — and will likely have the opportunity to accept permanent job offers at some point.
Cancellation clauses are in all travel therapy contracts. It usually happens for reasons out of your control and is nothing to worry about. Remember your recruiter? That’s what he/she is for. But, it does cause frustration and disappointment, which is a downer.
The micro-manager. The competitive co-worker. The unrealistic productivity standards. Some things you just can’t know until you’ve started working the assignment.
Most contracts are 13 weeks and not all travelers will find opportunities to extend, which means you could be doing the pack-and-move dance four times a year. Depending on how much “stuff” you need to be comfortable, and the distance between old and new assignments, this can be a bear.
Desired locations are often snapped up quickly, or filled by permanent therapists before contracts end, which means you’re likely to work in a rural or very remote area at some point. Not everyone enjoys that level of calmness and community.
All pros/cons considered, we’ve found most therapists are optimists at heart and put more emphasis on the pros of travel. It is a rather dreamy career when you think about it.