How To Become a Travel Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
While you’ve probably heard all about travel nursing by now, did you know that there are options for speech language pathologists to travel too? If you’d like to work in the healthcare industry and have the option to take assignments across the country, you might want to consider becoming a travel SLP.
For people who enjoy helping others, are independent and like to travel, it could be the ideal career. There are a wide variety of potential work settings from private clinics and hospitals to schools, rehab centers and home health agencies, and, coupled with the option to travel from SLP job to SLP job, boredom is seldom a problem. Patients can vary quite a bit too, from children with childhood apraxia to adult stroke survivors.
What Is a Travel Speech Language Pathologist?
SLPs are tasked with preventing, assessing, diagnosing, and treating speech, language, cognitive communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults that may be caused by conditions such as brain injury, stroke, autism, a cleft palate, Parkinson’s disease or developmental delay.
While a traditional speech language pathologist is typically either self-employed or works directly for a facility, a travel SLP works for a healthcare travel company through a recruiter, who helps to set them up on a travel assignment in a variety of locations, typically for 13 weeks at a time.
The Benefits of Being a Travel Speech Language Pathologist
Travel SLPs not only get to enjoy the reward of helping patients, but plenty of extra perks like the opportunity to explore the country, advance their career in ways that may not be possible closer to home, a higher salary, free or low-cost housing and much more.
Typical Salary for Travel Speech Language Pathologists
Traveling speech language pathologists earn an average annual pay of $88,633, though in areas with high demand they may make as much as $137,000 or more. The average salary for a non-traveling SLP is $76,900, typically capping off at around $115,000 annually. Of course, travel SLPs also receive many other benefits like having their housing paid for that makes the difference in pay even more significant.
How to Become a Travel Speech Language Pathologist
To become a travel speech language pathologist, you’ll need to become an SLP first by achieving a relevant bachelor’s degree from an accredited post-secondary institution. Aspiring speech pathologists typically choose to major in special education, language development, communication sciences and disorders, psychology, linguistics or social work. The next step is to achieve a master’s degree in speech therapy or speech language pathology. Licensure and certification require a master’s degree as well as completing a specific number of practice hours and passing an examination. Becoming certified through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association will give you a leg up on the competition.
Most facilities do prefer hiring SLPs that have at least a year of experience in the field. As a traveling SLP, you’ll be working in places that have immediate staffing needs where you’ll be expected to perform the job and a full caseload with little orientation. Having strong clinical skills can make this transition much easier. But whether you accept a travel job or a permanent position, the first year is always going to be the most difficult.
Finding a Travel Speech Language Pathologist Job
Travel speech language pathologist jobs are typically found through a healthcare travel company. It’s best to begin by researching several agencies to learn which offer the assignments you’re most interested in and that you’re qualified for, as well as the benefits and perks you desire. Talk to recruiters to get an idea of who might be the best fit – oftentimes you can get recommendations by searching online forums focused on travel speech language pathologist jobs.
The simplest approach to finding an SLP travel job and getting matched with travel staffing companies that can meet your needs and interests is to use our free service for Speecah Language pathologists. By submitting a brief online form, we’ll match your preferences with the industry leading travel staffing companies. You’ll no longer worry about jobs being outdated as you’ll gain access to unadvertised travel jobs and you’ll save time on researching companies. Start here!