What happens now? There is always that, right? The question of what to do after graduation. After all that studying and all the anxiety over exams, you wake up one day without any classes to attend, no papers to write, no books to read. Whatever are you going to do next? Most therapy students struggle with this as anyone who suddenly finds himself or herself with a clear schedule.
Of course, there is that “job” issue that needs tackling. As far as prospects go, there are plenty enough options for therapists, whether you’re a physical or occupational therapist or a speech language pathologist. And yet, despite the available opportunities available to therapists, many new grads will consider going into private practice, which is a mistake since they lack the clinical skills and business experience to make a private practice work.
Just because you’re done with school doesn’t mean the learning stops. Everyone has to go through a period of apprenticeship regardless of profession. This is when you learn the things not taught by your professors. And there’s indeed plenty to learn. So, don’t be in a hurry to start your private practice just yet.
Instead, consider this: travel therapy.
Travel therapy gives you the chance to adapt to different work settings quickly. You’ll be exposed to different management styles. As a result, you will also gain more experience than your contemporaries in a shorter span of time.
Travel therapists are exposed to all kinds of patients so they gain experience in all kinds of therapy. What this means is that they will be able to settle on a particular field more easily. They know what specialization they should take when the time comes and so will you if you take on travel therapy jobs.
Consider too that travel therapy pays more than other therapy opportunities. Depending on how you manage your finances and your priorities, taking on travel therapy assignments will get you to that point where you can set up your own practice more quickly.
Another reason why travel therapy is an excellent preface to a private practice is that it gives you the chance to find the ideal location for your practice. Perhaps you’ve always thought that Dallas or San Francisco or any other city is the perfect place to set up your private practice. Well, travel therapy allows you the chance to test your theory. As you travel from assignment to assignment, you’ll be able to gather information about a location with regard to patient influx, pay rates, work environment, licensing concerns and other factors that will someday affect how your own practice is set up.
So, if you’re serious about having your own practice, forget about doing it right after graduation. That aspiration may yet happen but if it has any hope of succeeding you need to know what you’re doing. Gain the necessary clinical and life experience first and your dream will follow shortly.