Written by Whitney Eakin, PT, DPT, ATC
Continuing education. CEUs. Such a necessary part of being a healthcare provider. To some, they might be a necessary evil to maintain your license. To others, an awesome way to keep up to date on skills and research. For most, it’s a combination of the two, but no matter how you look at them, we all have to have them. Including travel therapists. So what are some ways that travel therapists can make sure to maintain their CEUs when moving around and changing facilities often? How do they keep up with the different requirements across all the states where they’re licensed? This can be a real hassle, but luckily we’ve come up with some strategies to help you out.
Keeping Up with Requirements in Different States
The best recommendation I have is to keep a spreadsheet. I have a spreadsheet that lists all of the courses I have completed, as well as how each course qualifies for each state. In the same document, I keep an excerpt from each state to remind myself of their individual requirements and deadlines. Here’s the pertinent info you should have on your spreadsheet:
- Course title
- Date of completion
- Source (website, local clinic, organization, etc.)
- Number of CEUs that course qualifies for, by state
- Category/type of CEU, by state (for example, Virginia Type 1, 2, etc.)
In addition to your spreadsheet, you want to keep a folder (digital or physical, I prefer digital) with all of the completed course certificates. It is vital to keep them in case a state ever audits you.
Sources to Get Your CEUs
This is going to be a little more challenging for travelers, because unlike with permanent positions, you aren’t always at the same facility or know where you’re going to be for in-person courses. Here are a few ways you can still get your CEUs:
- CEUs offered by your travel company:
- Some travel companies will offer you access to a website with free CEUs that they sponsor for the duration of your contract with them. We usually take advantage of this while on contract, but we find that these are usually not high quality courses. These are usually just the type of CEU’s to check the box and say you did it.
- Instead of giving you online access, some companies will give you reimbursements for courses that you attend. But just make sure to ask your recruiter if this type of reimbursement affects your pay package.
- In person courses:
- This is the most traditional way to get your CEUs and often the best way to learn! It can be a little tricky trying to find courses in advance when you’re moving around as a traveler, but not impossible! Most of the time you’ll be in an area for 3 months and know about a month ahead of time where you’ll be going. You can start searching for courses in the area and sign up for something within driving distance of your contract. You can also do them on your time off, perhaps when you’re home for a week or two.
- Some people are also into destination CEUs! You can pick a CEU course offered across the country or in somewhere tropical and make a planned vacation out of it. The great part about being a traveler is flexibility in your schedule!
- In our opinion, this is the best and easiest way to get ALL of your CEUs for the year in one place while traveling. Medbridge offers unlimited CEUs on their website for PTs, OTs, and SLPs, for the price of an annual subscription. This is going to be a much better value than the high cost of a weekend course, which only gives you a few CEUs and leaves you needing all the rest for the year.
- The most common format is online pre-recorded courses, from experts in each field on the most up to date topics. We have taken some awesome courses on there and been able to learn a lot of quality information.
- They also offer live Webinars which will count for most states as “in person/live” courses, which is very important as a lot of states won’t allow you to have only online/pre-recorded courses.
- In addition to these CEU sources, they also offer free Certification Prep Programs for advanced certifications such as the OCS, included in the price of the regular membership. They also have patient education tools such as HEP builders. Overall it’s a great value for paying an annual membership fee.
- You can get a discount on your annual membership fee using the code FifthWheelPT
- You can learn more about Medbridge in a detailed article I wrote here.
- Other Online CEUs:
- CEUs offered by the facility where you’re working:
- If you know you’re going to need CEUs, start asking your facility as soon as you start if they’re going to be sponsoring any CEU courses during your time there. We’ve been at plenty of clinics where they were holding a CEU course for their employees coming up during our contract. Or you might find that your new coworkers are all planning to attend a course locally or within a couple hours of your assignment that you can sign up for too.
- Sometimes the facility might have some online resources or courses that you have to take as part of compliance, and we’ve found that sometimes these qualify for CEU credits. They may not be anything groundbreaking, perhaps keeping up to date on OSHA or HIPAA, but still a few extra credits here and there can help!
These are a few strategies you can use to stay up to date on your CEU requirements as a travel therapist! Please message us if you have any questions about CEUs or anything travel related!
Are you an experienced traveler? What’s the best way you have found to keep up with your CEUs? Let us know in the comments!