Travel Therapist CEUs: How to Complete CEU Requirements While Traveling
Travel therapy is a career of ever-evolving opportunities in work and leisure. But just like any other health profession, travel therapy requires continuing education—and lots of it. Not only will you need continuing education to renew your license, but you may also have to complete CEUs to fulfill state requirements as you itinerate across the country.
3 Ways to Earn Travel Therapist CEUs
Don’t let the red tape intimidate you. There are many ways to earn CEUs for license renewal—perhaps more than you think. Here are just three ways you can satisfy travel therapy CEUs, whether you’re a physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), or speech-language pathologist (SLP).
1. Utilize Online CEU Resources
Well, you went online to read about how to fulfill travel therapist CEUs. Why not stay online and finish the job? In fact, you can check your CEU requirements, sign up for online courses, and even attend live webinars all from the comfort of your home—wherever you call “home” these days.
But before you open the can of worms called “internet search,” it’s important to keep in mind that not all online CEU courses are created equal. In general, you’ll get what you pay for. There’s a smattering of free CEUs available online—some accredited, some not—and you may be offered complimentary CEU training courses by your employer. Otherwise, online coursework worth your while isn’t cheap, and you can expect to pay per course or CEU hour.
For unlimited access to high-quality, accredited CEUs, consider buying an annual subscription to the MedBridge Education library. With thousands of hours of CEU courses, live webinars, and invaluable companion resources, MedBridge provides the quality learning experience you’re looking for with the easy convenience of internet home study. To get the most bang for your buck, use the promo code PTPROGRESS for a 40% discount on your annual subscription.
2. Attend an In-Person Course or Conference
Before online options were so prolific and convenient, the standard way therapists completed their CEUs was through in-person, live courses. But just because it’s the old way of doing things doesn’t mean it’s obsolete! In some cases, a live course provides the richest experience for your continuing education. Not only will you be able to fulfill your CEU requirements for license renewal, but you may also get to meet other therapists in the area and enjoy hands-on clinical coursework.
Finding a live course can be tricky, however, especially when you’re on the road. You can start by checking the local chapter of APTA or AOTA in the state you’ll be working in. If you’re an SLP, the ASHA website can guide you to in-person CEs through their advanced search feature. Next, consider looking for live CEU courses through private organizations such as Great Lakes Seminars and Summit Professional Education.
If you have time before your next renewal, then you may be able to simply wait and see what your new coworkers will be doing for their CEUs. Maybe the facility that you will be working in offers CEUs to their employees, or maybe those employees know where to find the best continuing education in town.
But if you’d rather not stay local, then CEUs, just like your paycheck, are something you can travel to earn! There are continuing education conferences taking place across the country year-round, so you could find one you’re interested in and make a vacation of it, in between assignments. Check for a running list of APTA conferences on this website, or simply attend your organization’s annual summit conference. For example, you can earn continuing education by attending AOTA’s summit conference this fall.
Although these “destination” CEUs may be the priciest way to earn your continuing education, it could also mean you’ve covered most if not all your requirements in one shot. And even if you can’t attend the live, in-person course or conference, many institutions livestream their events also, so be on the lookout for hybrid options if you want that flexibility.
3. Earn a Specialty Certification
Finally, earning your specialty certification is a roundabout (albeit worthwhile) way to complete travel CEUs. Not only will you be more than qualified to renew your license, but you’ll also grow and advance your career. After all, the point of continuing education is to keep alive and current your interest in therapy practice. By pursuing the next level of certification in your field, your education will naturally continue.
Advanced certification looks different for OTs, SLPs, and PTs. For example, an OT can become board-certified in geriatrics, pediatrics, or physical rehabilitation through AOTA. PTs, on the other hand, may choose from 10 board-certified specialties through ABPTS: geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, wound management, cardiovascular and pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, women’s health, orthopedics, and sports.
For SLPs, there are currently four main areas of specialty certification: Fluency and Fluency Disorders, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, Child Language and Language Disorders, and Intraoperative Monitoring. Check out the webpage for ASHA Specialist Certification to learn more about each of these board-certified specializations.
In most cases, you won’t qualify to sit for the advanced certification exam until you’ve already worked a set number of clinical hours in your specialty. You’ll also need to pre-register for the exam and pay a fee to take the test.
To make sure you nail your test, MedBridge offers 6 certification prep courses for PTs and one for OTs, available as part of their annual subscription. These 16-week-long, online courses will cover everything you need to know for the exam and help you focus on what you need to study before test day. Plus, they’ll count towards your CEU credits, just like any other continuing education course.
By studying for and completing an advanced certification, whether as an OT, PT, or SLP, you can fulfill your licensing requirements and grow your career, all at the same time.
As a travel health professional, you have a plethora of options for completing travel therapy CEUs. Online coursework is perhaps the most popular—and most flexible—option, but in-person seminars and advanced certification are equally effective in bringing your travel therapy career to the next level.
Don’t forget to reach out to your travel recruiter when you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start. I’ve created a cheat sheet of CEU requirements by state for physical therapists and occupational therapists, but your staffing agency should be able to guide you to the most up-to-date information.
If you are interested in the personal and professional benefits of travel therapy, learn more about partnering with Med Travelers.
Tim Fraticelli is a Physical Therapist, Certified Financial Planner™, and founder of PTProgress.com. He loves to teach PTs and OTs ways to save time and money in and out of the clinic, especially when it comes to therapy documentation or continuing education for therapists. Follow him on YouTube for weekly videos on ways to improve your physical and financial health.