With each state introducing different guidelines, travel therapy licensure can feel tricky. However, the process of obtaining one or multiple licenses doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right tools for success, you can prepare for OT or PT licensure and learn how to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Discover Your Destination
It’s never too early to start looking at what travel therapy jobs may be available to you in states that you are interested in. If you’re stuck with several states on your mind, peek at what jobs are currently being offered, and what kinds of lifestyles fit in with those destinations before you start your licensing process. You can also turn to your recruiter and licensing coordinator to narrow down your selections to one state based on their expertise. It can become very confusing if you’re trying to juggle multiple licensing applications at once, so prioritizing which state you would like to travel to first is essential.
Gather Everything You’ll Need
You’ll want to gather everything you need before even thinking about getting licensed in another state. Each state has specific requirements that you can research in detail at The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and National Board For Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), but there’s also specific paperwork and processes you can prepare for regardless of which state you’re hoping to get licensed in.
For example, all states will require you to send in official school transcripts and license verifications from your original state board (to be sent to the new state board). You’ll also need to participate in a background check. For some states, the background check may just be a form you fill out and have notarized, while others require fingerprinting. The licensing coordinators here at CoreMedical Group, who help our candidates through every step of the allied licensing process, recommend participating in a LiveScan fingerprinting. LiveScan can take between 24 hours to one week for processing, whereas fingerprint cards can take up to 6 weeks for processing!
Other requirements include providing proof of Continuing Education (CE) hours and any certifications you may have acquired, transferring your FSBPT or NBCOT exam scores, and each state’s general application. To simplify the process for the future, keep your records organized so that you’ll have all paperwork ready for each time you apply for a new state.
Extra Preparation and the PT Compact
Now that you’ve covered the basics, there are some additional things you should look out for. Some states may require professional references if you’ve been working in the field in another state, so it’s good to gather the contact information of a few supervisors and peers ahead of time. You’ll also want to be prepared to spend a little money upfront for licensing fees. This is usually a pretty small ask, but it is good to note before starting the travel therapist licensing process. Depending on if you decide to work with a travel therapy company like CoreMedical Group and where you are in the licensing process, these fees may be reimbursed to you.
Once you fulfill all the requirements, all that’s left is to wait. The average processing time for a travel PT license or travel OT license in another state is about 4 weeks, whereas some states like New Jersey can take up to 12 weeks to process. That being said, the newly implemented (and ever-changing) Physical Therapy Compact is another option for those looking for travel license privileges in multiple states. This interstate compact allows for traveling PT or PTA professionals who are looking at working in numerous states in the upcoming year. Bucket list goals! You can learn more about the PT Compact and multi-state licensing in the CoreMedical Group blog, or chat with one of our licensing coordinators today!