The Best Way to Search for Travel Therapy Jobs

Finding jobs as a travel therapist can be very easy or very difficult depending on what you’re looking for specifically. The number of travel therapy jobs available to you at any given time will vary significantly depending on the setting and location in which you desire to work, as well as your therapy discipline.

Some states consistently have more jobs, like California, while other states rarely have any travel therapy jobs at all, like Utah. Some settings usually have more jobs across the country, like home health and skilled nursing, whereas some settings generally have fewer jobs, like inpatient rehab and outpatient pediatrics. Along the same lines, evaluating therapists (PT, OT, SLP) typically have many more job possibilities than assistants (PTA, COTA, SLPA). For this reason, a travel PT looking for a home health job in California is going to have a much different experience finding a well fitting travel therapy position than a COTA looking for a pediatric job in Utah. The PT will likely have 50+ travel job options to choose from, whereas the COTA may not have any options at all with that search criteria.

When looking for travel therapy jobs, it’s often very important to be flexible on either the setting where you want to work or the location you want to go, but depending on your therapy discipline you may have to be flexible on both setting and location to find consistent work throughout the year as a traveler. Assuming that you’re reasonable in your search criteria (setting, location, pay) finding a travel therapy job that fits you well shouldn’t be an issue.

Where to Look for Travel Therapy Jobs

There are really only a few different ways to find travel therapy jobs, and they each have their pros and cons.

Travel Company Recruiters

The most common and easiest way to find travel therapy jobs is through a recruiter at a travel company. You’ll give the recruiter information about what you’re looking for, and they will search their database of open positions and give you a list of jobs that may work for you. They may also be able to “cold call” facilities in a particular area to see if they can find a position for you. If what you’re looking for is too specific or unrealistic, then the recruiter can help you to expand the search criteria in a way that still meets your needs. Experienced recruiters are experts in travel therapy jobs and have great insight into how often they see jobs in a particular area or in a specific setting, to know how likely it is for you to find what you’re looking for.

When working with a recruiter to find a job, it’s very important that you have a good recruiter that has your best interest in mind so that you are set up to succeed as a travel therapist. We’ve talked to many travel therapists over the years that had recruiters that pushed them into a travel assignment that didn’t fit them well just so that they could get a job filled instead of waiting for the right fit for the traveler. This is a recipe for disaster. These are often the therapists that have a bad experience and end up quitting travel therapy after a couple of assignments, and subsequently discourage other therapists from trying travel.

If you’d like assistance finding a few recruiters that we trust that will help you find travel jobs, fill out our recruiter recommendations form to give us some information about your specific needs, and we’ll help you get connected.

Job Boards/Lists

Another way to find travel therapy jobs is through a job board. A job board is basically a list of open travel jobs across the country. Some job boards include jobs from various different companies, while some are specific to only one company. We created our hot jobs list last year so that the travel therapists who we mentor would have a place to see a sample of the best and highest paying travel jobs open from all of the travel companies that we work closely with. Individual travel companies often have their own job boards only listing their jobs, but keep in mind that any one company won’t have access to all the travel jobs available nationwide, since some travel companies have direct relationships with clinics that other companies may not. In our experience, these direct jobs are often some of the best travel jobs and the majority of our travel assignments have been through direct clients of various travel companies. If you’re looking at just the job board of one company then you’ll be limited in the options you see.

One big downside to finding a travel job through a job board is the lag time involved based on how often the lists are updated. Since travel jobs, especially the desirable ones, can open and close very quickly (sometimes in a matter of hours) it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to keep them up to date on job boards at all times. In addition, even if a job on a job board is open when you see it, it can often be filled with another candidate before you have time to get connected with the travel company and submitted for the job. Job lists can certainly be useful, and we’ve had dozens of people placed in good jobs from our list since we started it, but it’s important to be aware of their limitations.

Calling Clinics Directly

The last option for finding travel jobs is more rare and difficult but can work depending on the situation. Whitney and I as well as other travel therapists that we know have occasionally had success in the past finding our own travel jobs by calling clinics with open permanent positions in the area in which we want to find a travel job. Websites like Indeed are often filled with hospitals and clinics looking for permanent therapy staff. In some cases, once they’ve been unsuccessful in finding permanent staff, they’re willing to take a travel therapist but just haven’t gotten around to contracting travel companies to advertise the job yet.

If there’s a very specific area you want to go to, and it doesn’t appear that there are any travel jobs open there based on the recruiters you’ve talked to and the job lists you’ve looked at, then it’s worth looking to see if there are facilities in the area currently hiring that would be willing to have you there as a short term employee. If you do find a job this way, you can take this job to a recruiter that you trust and have them negotiate with the clinic and set up a contract for you. Almost all travel companies will pay you a finder’s fee for bringing a job to them like this which can be a significant amount. You could also choose to take that job directly through the facility without going through a travel company as an independent contractor. While it seems like cutting out the middle man (travel company) would be obvious choice, it can sometimes be more hassle and less financially lucrative than you would imagine.

Summary

Depending on your search criteria, finding a travel job can be really easy or very difficult. Certain states, settings, and therapy disciplines have many more job options than others, so it’s important to be realistic in your search criteria to find consistent contracts as a travel therapist. Finding good fitting travel jobs through a trusted recruiter is the most common and reliable way that travelers find work, but job boards and calling clinics directly can also be helpful as long as you understand the limitations involved.

If you’re interested in taking a look at a selection of hot jobs offered by the recruiters we know and trust, check out our Hot Jobs List. And if you’d like to get recommendations for different recruiters who can help you be proactive with your job search before the jobs hit the job boards, fill out our recruiter recommendations form and we will get you connected!

Written by Jared Casazza, PT, DPT – Jared has been a Travel PT since 2015 and has mentored thousands of current and aspiring travel therapists.

Jared Casazza

Being a Solo Travel Therapist

Photo of Morgan hiking with title "Being a Solo Travel Therapist, Guest Post by Morgan Lauchnor TravelTherapyMentor.com"

While we have always traveled as a pair, most travel therapists actually travel solo! We are excited to share a guest post from Traveling Occupational Therapist Morgan Lauchnor, who travels on her own. We hope her insights will help give you the confidence to pursue this path on your own as well if you think it’s right for you!


When looking into travel therapy, the ability to travel with a spouse, significant other, or with friends sounds like the ideal situation, but often times this isn’t an option for some people. That shouldn’t prevent you from still deciding to try out travel therapy though! In fact, a good majority of travel therapists are solo travelers. Some people, like myself, even wanted to travel solo. Venturing into it on your own might seem daunting and scary, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. The world is way too big and life is too short to wait around for someone to go with you on this opportunity of a lifetime!

Benefits of Traveling Solo

Enhances Independence & Empowerment

Any time you follow your dreams, go after what you want, and face your fears, it’s going to be the most empowering feeling. Solo travel is the definition of freedom, independence, and living life on your own terms.

Builds Self-Confidence

Taking the leap to go into the unknown on your own is brave. There is so much growth that comes from pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and there’s nothing that pushes you outside your perceived limits quite like traveling solo, because you really have no choice but to handle whatever challenges get thrown your way. You develop a ‘can-do’ attitude and become more relaxed and comfortable figuring things out on your own. And not just in the cities you travel, but any new job assignments you take on.

Gives You Total Freedom

On your own, you have the freedom to choose the states/cities where you want to take assignments. You also get to decide how you spend your weekdays, weekends, and everything in between, without worrying about disappointing or negotiating with other people. In traveler pairs, it often limits options because you have to find places that will accommodate both of you, and they might not want to go/explore the same places that you do.

Boosts Your Problem-Solving Creativity

Traveling rarely goes smoothly or according to plan: cars get flat tires, assignments get cancelled, you get lost (a lot in my case). It’s all a part of the solo adventure and the stories you’ll share of how you got through. The best stories never come from the things that went smoothly, right? And as healthcare professionals, we are creative problem solvers for our patients, so this skill can be carried with us into our practice as well.

Fosters Self-Discovery

Traveling solo is the best way to get to know yourself. Exploring new places and new cultures, outside your comfort zone, figuring things out on your own, you discover just how much you’re capable of.

Challenges of Traveling Solo & How to Overcome Them:

Being Alone/Lonely

One of my first assumptions as a solo traveler was that I would be on my own most of the time, especially since my first assignment was all the way across the country in a state where I knew no one. But once I was out there, I realized there are SO many opportunities to meet people. I ended up being surrounded by friends and mentors, some becoming lifelong friends. I also always try to take advantage of visiting any family/friends nearby who I might not ever get the chance to see otherwise.  

Ways to meet people:

  • Doing things with co-workers outside of work: There might be other travelers at your assignment that will go on adventures with you, or you might get to know the perm workers who are typically great assets to show you around your new city/give you tips on the best spots!
  • Connect through apps and social media: Travel therapy/nursing Facebook groups, following other travelers and travel therapy companies on Instagram, and apps like MedVenture, designed specifically for connecting with other traveling healthcare professionals, are all great ways to find people in your area and also to just have a supportive community to lean on.
  • Get involved with local organizations and community groups.
  • Just get out and explore the area! (This was a lot easier to do before the pandemic, but hopefully now that there’s a vaccine and more things are opening, this will be more of an option again)  

Another thing to consider if you’re worried about feeling lonely is bringing a pet with you on your travels! I got a puppy while on assignment in CA, and she’s now traveled with me to TX and NC as well. It definitely makes things a little more challenging, but I can’t imagine the travel life without her anymore!

Safety

This has never been an issue for me personally, but it’s always something to keep in mind traveling by yourself, especially for female solo travelers. Before committing to a new assignment, research the area to see if it is somewhere you’d feel comfortable living, look into the housing options available to make sure you’d feel safe, and always trust your gut if something feels off. When you’re on assignment, tell people where you’re going, bring mace with you on hikes and while out exploring, and ask the locals of places to go and if there are areas to avoid.

Boredom

Sometimes you might live and work in areas that are rural or with limited things to do. In cases like this, I focus a lot on hobbies and things I wish I had more time for—like CEUs, reading, cooking, planning future travels, blogging, etc. But ultimately, you’re choosing where you want to work, so if you’re someone who needs to be doing things and wants to be around people, consider choosing assignments that are in busier locations.

Costs

Traveling alone can definitely be more costly than traveling as a pair, since you are the sole provider. Housing is usually one of the biggest costs that you incur as a solo traveler. One way you can cut down on housing costs would be to consider living with roommates. Traveling therapist/nursing pages are a great way to reach out to people in the area to see if anyone is interested in splitting housing costs, or ask your supervisor if any of your coworkers have a room for rent or are looking for a roommate. This can also be another great way to meet people and have people to do things with!

Summary

Ultimately, I truly believe that the pros of traveling solo far outweigh the cons. If it’s in your heart to do travel therapy, don’t be afraid to take the leap. There’s a whole community of other travelers out there who are here to support you and help you along the way!

Even if you go for it and it doesn’t work out, you still win. You still had the guts enough to head straight into something that frightened you. That type of bravery will take you places.


About Morgan

I’m a traveling occupational therapist who started right out of school as a new grad. Originally from eastern PA, I got my Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Pittsburgh and went on to get my Masters in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, FL in 2019. I was introduced to travel therapy at a job fair there and knew right then that’s what I wanted to do. I completed my fieldwork rotations in Greenville, SC and St. Louis, MO, so I already felt like I was traveling before taking the leap. But once I did start my official travel therapy journey, I road tripped cross-country from PA to OR to begin my first travel assignment in Ashland, OR and have been traveling ever since! I’ve now been on five assignments in OR, CA, TX, and currently NC, and my pup Zoey has traveled with me since CA. We love exploring new cities, getting outside any chance we can, visiting breweries and wineries, and meeting the best people along the way!

If you’d like to connect, the best way to contact me is through social media: Instagram: @zoandmo_onthego or through email at mlauchnor@gmail.com. I am also currently in the process of starting a blog, The ChrOnic WanderlusTer, so keep your eye out for that soon!