Due to the ever-increasing demand for medical services, shortages in specific sectors are likely to occur. For the most part, when healthcare facilities have gaps to fill due to seasonality, limited staff, training, or extended absence, they usually turn to travel medical experts.
What does this mean? It means that healthcare travel jobs are one of the most rewarding industries to launch your career.
To become a successful medical traveler, you need to obtain the right education and certification, along with other crucial requirements. So, if you're looking to start your career as a medical traveler, this guide will explain everything you need to know.
What is a medical traveler?
A medical traveler is any qualified and certified medical practitioner who is hired to work in a particular area for a specific amount of time. Hospitals and health care groups are always looking for medical personnel with the flexibility to move to new destinations.
Working as a medical traveler can be lucrative if you have an interest in the medical field and are passionate about traveling. In most cases, staffing companies and hospitals provide traveling medical staff with benefit programs, such as mileage reimbursement, housing, and other allowances.
Education and certification
Before you can launch a career as a medical traveler, it’s important to realize that the medical traveling field is incredibly broad. To narrow down your options, you can choose your area of specialization, depending on your interest and preferences. Usually, whichever specialty you select, you must meet the outlined education and certification requirements to qualify.
There are many positions available. The most popular routes are nursing, physical therapy, lab technicians, long term care, cardiopulmonary, and radiology.
Travel nurse professionals are often recruited to fill-in for nurses who are on sick leave, maternity leave, or are absent for other reasons. They can help fill the gaps during staff shortages, as well as during emergencies. They have been especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To become a travel nurse, you must qualify as a Registered Nurse (RN). You can achieve this by either attending a hospital-based nursing school for four years, undergo a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) for the full four years, or pursue an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing), which takes three years to complete.
Further, you need to acquire a license that is given after you pass your N-CLEX test. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NCL) is responsible for maintaining standards across states and allows nurses to work in different locations. You also need accreditation from relevant bodies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate of Nursing Education.
To become a travel physical therapist, you need to gain knowledge of anatomy, physical fitness, biology, and kinesiology. You’ll also need to study patient psychology to understand patients' emotional challenges.
You will need to earn a Bachelor's degree in a health-related program. Following the completion of your undergraduate work, you’ll need to complete a degree in physical therapy. As a final step, you should apply for a license, which is awarded after you pass your National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) exams and meet your state's licensing policies.
A qualified lab technician must earn an Associate’s degree, which will take two years to cover the training necessary to specialize in the field.
Upon completion of your degree, you’ll need to inquire about a license from the American Medical Technologists (AMT), along with proper certification, which is usually administered by the American Association of Bioanalysts (ABB) and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
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Long-term care provider
Just like a nurse, a travel long-term care provider performs nursing tasks that offer emotional and physical support to clients and their families. Their qualification and certification demands are comparable to those of an RN
To become a traveling radiologist, you’ll need to earn a Bachelor's or an Associate’s degree. The radiology programs must be accredited by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). You’ll also need a license after you pass your certification exam, which should be administered by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).
Gain job experience
Once you complete your preferred education program and acquire all the necessary licenses, it's time to gain some job experience. Once you have done this, you will develop a network of contacts who can serve as references as you move from making your stationary position into a traveling one.
Join a medical staffing agency
Many medical staffing agencies can help connect you with the best healthcare travel jobs that match your qualifications. Most of these agencies allow you to choose your ideal destination and also offer various mentorship programs.
Becoming a medical traveler can be a life and career-changing experience. Using this guide as inspiration, there is a world of opportunity if you want to travel around the world, as you help patients.