There are several options open to you once you have a physical therapy assistant qualification. One of the lines of work that you may be interested in is that which involves being a travel physical therapy assistant. For this line of work you will have to be prepared to be away from home fairly often and this could have a negative impact on your relationships and life in general. Consequently this is not a line of work that is suitable for everyone. However it is an interesting option to consider given the many benefits that come with it.
Being A Travel Physical Therapy Assistant
There are two main prerequisites to being a travel physical therapy assistant. These are:
- A physical therapy assistant license
- A love for travel
If you have both of these prerequisites you are well on your way to fulfilling this career goal. Essentially what you require is a desire to help people while traveling all over the nation at the same time. There are very few jobs in which you can achieve this, but travel physical therapy assisting is most certainly one of them.
The job role and job duties of a travel physical therapy assistant are every similar to those of a traditional physical therapy assistant. You will:
- Help people who are suffering from injury or illness
- Help patients to recuperate mobility
- Help patients to use their limbs properly
- Use electrical stimulation for massaging affected tissues and muscles
The primary difference in job roles lies in the fact that, while a traditional physical therapy assistant works in one set location or area of employment, a travel physical therapy assistant performs all of the above duties while travelling from one location to another. The physical therapy assistants job starts by taking a medical history form the patient. This is beneficial for a number of reasons. For one thing it will make it clear to the physical therapy assistant what ailments the patient has suffered form in the past. These past ailments and injuries, as well as possible heredity illnesses, will affect how the physical therapy assistant is able to safely treat the patient. Once the medical history is taken the physical therapy assistant will be in a position to determine how to care for the patient and what treatment methods are best to use. Because travel physical therapy assistants do not work in set locations, this continuing care program may not be their responsibility from beginning to end, but rather on a temporary basis while they are in the area where the patient is. The aim is to help the patient recover from his or her injury or problem in such a way that they can function with as much mobility as possible in their daily lives.
Traditionally physical therapy assistants work in the following environments:
- Nursing homes
- Private homes
In addition you can choose between such things as working in rural or urban locations, or on the east coast as opposed to the west coast of the country. A travel physical therapy assistant will also work in these environments. The only difference is that, instead of being employed by a facility such as this, the PTA will be employed by an agency. This agency will assign the physical therapy assistant to various facilities across the country that need a physical therapy assistant desperately and for a temporary period of time. A PTA can be assigned to one of these facilities by their agency for a period of a few days, a few weeks, months, or even years depending on the nature of the work and assignment that they are being sent to complete.
There are a number of essential requirements that you will need to be a travel PTA:
- You will need a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy: This is the undergraduate degree that you will need to achieve at the beginning of your studies.
- You will need a master’s degree in physical therapy: This is a postgraduate degree required to be a travel physical therapy assistant.
- You will need the license that the physical therapists need to work in every state.
There are a nu8mber of fantastic benefits that come with the job, including but not exclusive to a higher income and a great many job perks, flexibility in your working hours and work schedule, the opportunity to experience new environments and live a dual location lifestyle, the chance to build your physical therapy assistant resume substantially, and the chance to benefit from the support that travel physical therapy assistants receive that other PTAs do not necessarily have.
The main benefit that travel physical therapy assistants report in their jobs is the fact that they are eligible to receive a higher income than physical therapy assistants that work in static locations. In fact the difference is as much as 15% – 20%. In addition you may be eligible to receive bonuses. Sometimes an agency will offer incentive bonuses to physical therapy assistants who complete lengthy travel assignments or who recruit new members into the agency. Normal physical t6ehrapy assistants can earn quite a good salary of about $46,100 to 63,830 a year. A physical therapy assistant who works for a travelling agency, however, can earn substantially more than that in a year. In fact they are eligible to earn about $110,000 annually. This the upper limit of the salary range, but even the average salary for travel physical therapy assistants is about $75,000, which is still substantially higher than the top end of the range for general physical therapy assistants. The salary is not everything, however, and you will need to weigh in the fact that you will not be able to lead a life in one location, as well as the physical demands for being a physical therapists in general and especially one who has to travel against the high salary that you can earn.
Flexibility is a major advantage of being a travel physical therapy assistant. Flexibility applies in a number of ways:
- If it is more convenient for you, you can choose to only work at certain times of the year. For example you could choose to take summers off so that you can spend more time with your children.
- You can choose where to work in terms of weather. You will be able to work in whichever climates across the country please you without having to commit to moving to another state where the climate is more appropriate.
- You will be able to work in the countryside while living in the city, or work in the city while living in the countryside. In a way this means that you can have your cake and eat it.
If you feel that you need to take some time off, you will be able to do so with very little difficulty, provided you do not try to take leave while in the middle of an assignment. Although many agencies require you to work a minimum number of hours a year in order to remain a member, there will still be more flexibility for you to choose when to work than in a traditional position. For example, you could work for a half a year and take the second half of the year off.
Different Work And Living Environments And Dual Location Lifestyle
Being a travel physical therapy assistant is a great way to start your career in this line of work. This is because you will have the opportunity to try a number of different employment settings across the country. This in turn will make your decision regarding where and in what industry you would like to settle down in as a permanent physical therapy assistant at a point in the future. Many travel physical therapy assistants never settle down, however. It is a good idea to get an understanding of where you could work most effectively if you did one day choose to become a permanent employee somewhere. In addition form having the opportunity to experience different work environments you will also be exposed to a number of different living environments that you may not have otherwise been exposed to. This will widen your options if you ever decide to move and give you a clear picture of where you would enjoy living and where you would be unhappy. If, for some reason, you have a dual lifestyle and need to be in different parts of the country at different times, a great way to do this without impacting on your career is by being a travel physical therapy assistant. For example this is quite convenient for PTAs who spouses live in different parts of the country.
Build Your Resume
A very important advantage of being a travel physical therapy assistant is that you will have the opportunity to build your resume. In general it will help you to improve your career. This is done in a number of ways:
- Firstly, because you will be working in so many different locations, you will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a number of different physical therapy roles and employment areas. This will mean that you will almost always have the “required experience” that is specified in a job advertisement. In addition this will provide a prospective employer with ‘evidence’ that you are able to perform a number of different roles as well as take on many different responsibilities in an independent manner and that you are reliable in all aspects and skills of the physical therapy profession.
- You will be given the opportunity to network with other PTAs and health care professionals across the country. When the need arises for you to find a job in a certain location with the intention of setline down you will have a number of employees across the country to call on who are aware that you are a good worker that can be relied on based on their experience with you when you were a travel physical therapy assistant.
Support In Travel Physical Therapy Assistant Jobs
Physical therapy assistants often wonder how they will cope if they choose a career in travel physical therapy. However, if you are a physical therapy assistant who travels, you will receive a great deal of support from the agency that you work for. There are a number of concerns that tend to crop up in the minds of physical therapy assistants with regard to employment in the travelling section of the profession. These includes things like how they will choose an apartment if they are going to travel so often and change their address all the time, how they will receive their paychecks if they are never in one location for very long, and how they will get their paperwork ready for their next assignment. These are all things that the agency that you work for will help you with, meaning that there will be a great deal of support offered to you by the people that you work for. If you do become a travel PTA you will be able to ask all of the questions that are on your mind and you will never be entirely alone. There will always be a support structure in place somewhere that you can call on to get the aid you need in a tough situation or simply if you need a bit of practical advice on the best way to go forward.
Thus there are a great many benefits to being a travel physical therapy assistant. However you will need to determine at a very personal level whether this lifestyle is in line with how you prefer to live or if it will hinder you from being who you really are. If the pros outweigh the cons, then this is the ideal profession for you to strive towards becoming an expert in.