Be the Movement Master! Your Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Physical Therapist


Kim Lee | March 28th, 2024

Have you ever dreamt of using your PT skills while exploring new places? Well, ditch the static clinic and set your sights on becoming a Travel Physical Therapist (Travel PT)! This exciting career path allows you to combine your passion for physical therapy with the thrill of travel. 

This guide will equip you with the knowledge to navigate your journey towards becoming a sought-after Travel PT. So, buckle up, aspiring movement masters, because it’s time to chart your course! 

 Are You Cut Out for Travel PT Life? 

So you crave adventure, but is Travel PT the right fit? Here are some key qualities to consider: 

  • Adaptability: Travel PT jobs often involve diverse settings, from bustling rehabilitation centers to cozy home-care environments. Be prepared to adjust your approach for each unique patient and location. 
  • Independence: You’ll likely work with minimal supervision. Strong decision-making and problem-solving skills are crucial to navigate patient care efficiently. 
  • Communication Savvy: Travel PTs often work with patients from different backgrounds. Honing your communication skills to explain complex medical concepts clearly is essential. 
  • Thirst for Knowledge: The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving. Be a lifelong learner to stay updated on the latest best practices and treatment protocols. 
  • Team Player: While you may function independently, collaboration is key. Building rapport with facility staff and other healthcare professionals ensures seamless patient care. 

Bonus points if you possess: 

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding cultural nuances enhances your ability to connect with patients and tailor treatment plans effectively. 
  • Organizational Skills: Juggling multiple patients and locations requires excellent organization to prioritize tasks and manage time efficiently. 

Still on the fence? Chat with a Travel PT to gain a firsthand perspective on the lifestyle and daily work routine. 

Education and Licensing: Your Foundation for Movement Mastery 

Travel PTs require the same educational foundation as any physical therapist. Here’s the basic roadmap: 

  • Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree in exercise science, kinesiology, or a related field is typically the first step. Focus on courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, and physics. 
  • Complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program: This rigorous program equips you with the clinical knowledge and skills to treat a wide range of physical ailments. Expect extensive coursework, laboratory sessions, and clinical rotations. 
  • Pass the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE): This standardized exam assesses your competency in core PT knowledge and skills. Passing is mandatory for licensure. 
  • Travel PT Specificity: While a DPT qualifies you for practice, some employers might value certifications specific to Travel PT. Look into programs focusing on areas like geriatrics, pediatrics, or wound care, depending on your desired patient population. 

License, Credentials, and the Green Light to Roam! 

  • Getting licensed: Each state has its own licensing requirements. After passing the NPTE, research the specific steps for obtaining a physical therapy license in your desired state or states (if aiming for multi-state licensure). 
  • Travel PT Credentials: While not mandatory, obtaining credentials like Certified Travel Physical Therapist (CTPT) demonstrates your commitment to the travel PT field and might enhance your job prospects. 

Additional Considerations: 

  • Background Checks: Many employers conduct background checks, so ensure your record is clear. 
  • CPR/First Aid Certification: Maintaining up-to-date CPR and First Aid certifications is often a requirement for healthcare professionals, including Travel PTs. 

Remember, Licensure and credentialing requirements can vary. Research thoroughly to ensure you meet all necessary qualifications. 

Hitting the Road: Essential Skills for Travel PT Success 

Travel PTs require a unique skillset to thrive in ever-changing environments. Here are some key areas to focus on: 

  • Clinical Skills: This is your bread and butter! Master essential physical therapy techniques like manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, and modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation. 
  • Assessment Prowess: Be adept at conducting thorough patient evaluations to accurately diagnose conditions and create individualized treatment plans. 
  • Documentation Guru: Maintaining detailed and accurate patient records is critical for effective communication with other healthcare professionals and ensuring continuity of care. 
  • Tech-Savvy: Embrace technology! Utilize electronic health records (EHR) efficiently and explore telehealth options that might be relevant in certain travel PT settings. 

Don’t forget the “soft skills”: 

  • Strong Communication: Clearly explain diagnoses, treatment plans, and expected outcomes to patients and collaborate effectively with other healthcare providers. 
  • Time Management: Master the art of prioritizing tasks and scheduling efficiently to manage multiple patients and travel logistics seamlessly. Staying organized allows you to dedicate quality time to each patient while ensuring you meet deadlines and travel arrangements without a hitch. This blend of clinical expertise, adaptability, and strong communication will make you a valuable asset in the world of Travel PT. 

Launching Your Travel PT Career: Packing Your Skills for the Journey 

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge, it’s time to find your dream Travel PT job! Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Network: Leverage your connections! Inform former professors, clinical instructors, or physical therapists you know about your interest in Travel PT. 
  • Job Boards: Explore online job boards specializing in healthcare careers. Search for keywords like “Travel Physical Therapist,” “PT Travel Jobs,” or “Locum Tenens Physical Therapist” (Locum Tenens refers to temporary positions). 
  • Travel PT Agencies: Several agencies connect PTs with travel assignments. Research reputable agencies that align with your interests and career goals. 
  • Research Facilities: Target specific rehabilitation centers, hospitals, or home-care agencies that offer travel PT opportunities. Reach out directly to their HR departments to inquire about openings. 

Crafting Your Resume: 

  • Highlight Your Travel PT Suitability: Showcase your adaptability, communication skills, and willingness to learn. 
  • Quantify Your Achievements: Use data to demonstrate your impact. For example, mention the percentage of patients who achieved specific functional goals under your care. 
  • Tailor Your Resume: Adapt your resume to each job application, emphasizing skills and experience relevant to the specific position and facility. 

Remember, The job search takes time and effort. Be persistent, refine your resume as needed, and don’t be afraid to follow up on applications! 

Bon Voyage: The Rewarding Life of a Travel PT 

Becoming a Travel PT opens doors to a world of possibilities. Imagine: 

  • Helping patients regain mobility in breathtaking locations, from mountain rehabilitation centers to serene coastal clinics. 
  • Expanding your professional network by collaborating with healthcare professionals from diverse backgrounds. 
  • Experiencing new cultures and immersing yourself in different communities while using your PT skills to make a positive impact. 
  • Travel PT offers a unique blend of professional growth, personal exploration, and the immense satisfaction of helping others regain the joy of movement. So, are you ready to pack your skills and embark on this rewarding adventure? Start charting your course today! 


PT Jobs Here!

If you aren’t already heading to your next assignment, let’s chat! 😊

Email [email protected] to get connected with a recruiter!

Apply Here to get started today!

Would you like to be alerted when new jobs are posted?