From New Grad to Travel Therapist: What You Need To Know

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If you’re like many of the therapists I talk to on a daily basis, you may be a soon-to-be or new graduate facing many different choices/options related to how you want to shape your career. You may have found a setting (or settings) that you prefer, have some idea of locations you’d like to live in, and of course a dollar amount you want to stay above to ensure your loans or other related bills are affordable. (Trust me, I understand!) Most importantly, you’re likely wondering how you’ll make the transition to travel therapy if its a direction you’re thinking about moving in.

#1. Find a mentor.

My therapists have told me that securing a mentor was one of the most important investments they’ve made in their career. This is an individual in your field that has walked in your shoes, has traveled the path you’re about to take, and can offer you support and advice moving forward. While it’s great to have someone local to you that you can spend time with in person, there are tons of opportunities to connect with people in your field online. Facebook in particular has several therapy professional groups that will welcome you (and your questions!) with open arms.

#2. Talk to more than one recruiter and find the one you “click” with.

Your recruiter is your voice in the job marketplace who works on your behalf to sell your skills and experiences to the hiring managers. You’ll know from the first phone call if you feel comfortable with your recruiter. Do they let you talk and actually listen to you? Do they take the time to understand everything you are looking for? Do they follow up with you and treat you with respect? This relationship is a big indicator as to whether or not your assignment will be successful. Choose someone you like to work with!

#3. Ask questions… and then ask more questions.

Do not feel bad about asking questions. Honesty is the best policy on both sides of the equation and you want to make sure you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. If you require a strong on-site mentor, certain working hours, or certain working days, make that known! If you’re unsure if you should ask something, tell your recruiter your thoughts and get their input. An experienced recruiter should be able to help you navigate those issues with ease.

#4. Understand that new grad travel opportunities have pros and cons.

Travel therapy can be quite lucrative and offers you the chance to experience new locations, different management styles, and meet new people! It’s an exciting world to be a part of! However, new grads are understandably met with some challenges. You may not receive the same kind of onboarding/orientation process that you would in a permanent position elsewhere. Of course this is something that could be found out ahead of time so make sure to ask those questions! Additionally, you may need to sacrifice desirable locations in order to even be considered. Competition is fierce for highly desirable areas so keep an open mind. You won’t be stuck in no man’s land forever – you’ll just need to keep building your experience and adding to that resume.

#5. This is a temporary job – not a permanent one.

As a new grad who likely has bills to pay, understand that this is a contract opportunity – the work is not guaranteed and while there is certainly high demand for travelers, it’s a risk you need to consider. This of course can be a good or a bad thing and is highly dependent on how flexible you are. As recruiters, we do our best to keep you working at all times – we want you to stay with us and continue building that trusting relationship. However, short breaks in work do happen – your 13-week contract may come to a close early or maybe there isn’t something available the day after your contract ends in the same area. It may be scary to think about but consider the benefits. You can use that week or two without work to settle on your next assignment, secure housing, make a smooth transition without the rush, or even take a vacation! We’ve had several travelers that purposely schedule time off to go pursue outside endeavors that they wouldn’t normally have been able to pursue in a full-time, permanent position. Want to go backpacking through Europe for a month? It’s an option!

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Throughout your time as a traveler, you will undoubtedly gain many friends (both professionally and personally), a greatly enhanced resume built on many different experiences, broadened skill set, increased income, and increased confidence in the field. Although travel certainly isn’t for everyone, take the time to consider if it may be the right option for you. If you’re a new graduate with questions about pursuing travel or just want to gain more information, please leave me your message in the comment section below. I’d be happy to help!

ashley@travelmedusa.com

(386) 264-6864 (Direct Line)

-Ashley