Why Allied Travelers May Need a Special Education Certificate

A travel assignment in a school or school system is a tremendous opportunity for many speech-language pathologists (SLPs), school psychologists (SPs), physical therapists (PTs), and occupational therapists (OTs). You get to apply your knowledge, deepen your skills and help children who need you—and you’re only committed for one school year (or less).

However, as an allied health traveler, you do have to meet a few requirements before you arrive on campus for the first day of your school-based assignment.

Some states require that you obtain a special education certification or teaching license before you can begin practicing in a school, but it varies from state to state, explains Seth M, Schools Senior Director of Account Management for Med Travelers/AMN Healthcare.

For example, if you’re a speech-language pathologist who’s drawn to the idea of living and working in Alaska for a year, be prepared to get an educator’s certificate to be able to practice in a public school.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, you’ll also need to get an education certificate to practice as a school-based SLP—but you won’t need to get a Georgia SLP license. One advantage to that requirement: “We can get you licensed in Georgia with an educator’s certificate and working within two to three weeks, depending on when that credential comes back,” says Seth.

Discover school-based therapy jobs throughout the U.S.

Assistance for Education Certificates and Licenses

Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out all of the details for each assignment on your own. Talk to your recruiter if you’re curious about a potential school-based opportunity but don’t know what the specific requirements will be.

“Our school recruiters are equipped with the internal tools to determine which states and which disciplines require an education certificate in hand before the candidate is able to start their assignment,” says Erin J., Schools’ Recruitment Senior Director for Med Travelers.

The licensing team can help if you need to procure specific licenses or certifications for a particular assignment. “They are instrumental in ensuring each school clinician is set up for success and is compliant with state and school district guidelines when it comes to the required licensing as well as the education certification,” says Erin.

Plus, allied health travelers won’t be on the hook for the cost. Says credentialing manager Marc L., “We do cover licensing costs and education certifications as well.”

Be Aware of Turnaround Times

Once you decide that you’re interested in an assignment in a particular state, let your recruiter know right away. You’ll want to apply early and allow adequate time for getting your licenses or certifications and making sure they’re active before you start your assignment.

“The turnaround times do vary from state to state, as well as the time of year,” says Erin. “We have seen turnaround times range from two weeks to 24-plus weeks.”

Allied travelers who work with Med Travelers can easily submit their documentation and track their credentialing progress through the AMN Passport app.

More good news: even if you do need to procure a new license or certification, you won’t have to get another one again for a good while. Most travelers sign a contract for an entire school year, although occasionally a school or school district will offer a one-semester assignment.

Additionally, education certificates are typically valid for three to five years, so you won’t have to worry about frequently renewing that particular credential if you stay in the same state, according to Marc.

Want to start traveling ASAP? If you’re eager to start traveling right away, work with your recruiter to line up a job in a state where you already have an active license and the necessary certification, or can get it quickly. Then you can work on applying for additional licenses or certifications in other states that interest you, and prepare for a transition later on.

Get Started Now for Your Next School-based Assignment

Whether you are a traveling SLP, OT, PT, or school psychologist, the sooner you start your job search for the next school year, the more time you’ll have to get everything in order—from your licensing and certifications to your housing.

To summarize:

  • Start your job search early
  • Be proactive and diligent with the licensure and certification process; and
  • Lean on your recruiter or licensing coordinator if you need help.

Med Travelers has hundreds of exciting school-based therapy assignments across the country, and our experienced team is ready to guide you through every step of the process.

APPLY NOW to start your allied travel adventure.

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