Travel Allied February 12, 2024

The Simple Steps to Become a Traveling Healthcare Provider

Starting as a traveling healthcare provider can be hard. You will probably have a lot of questions about things you have never thought about.

Pause there. It’s okay. I felt the same way when I began less than a year ago. Trust me – that feeling goes away very quickly once you get the ball rolling. That’s why I’ve written a short series of steps that you can take to easily start your next adventure as a traveling healthcare provider with AMN – the easy way!

I began my first contract as a travel PT with AMN one month after graduating

In May 2022 – the month I graduated from PT school – I got in contact with AMN Healthcare and was matched with my recruiter, Aaron. Within a month of starting to look for jobs, I accepted my first contract at an outpatient clinic near Tacoma, Washington. That’s about as far in the contiguous states as it’s possible to be from my tax home in Virginia!

Several months later as I wrap up my first travel contract with AMN, I’m left with one big question: Why doesn’t everyone do this?

You get to travel the country. You get to experience the vibe and culture of living in a new place while exploring the area. And – as if I wouldn’t take the offer for those reasons alone – you make more money for doing it compared to most permanent positions. It’s crazy!

Maybe you can tell I had a great experience with my first travel contract. I ended up staying in the Tacoma area for 6 months in a rental home with a lake view. I bought an inflatable paddleboard and taught myself a new sport while exploring the inlets of southern Puget Sound. I took my girlfriend (a traveling occupational therapist with AMN) camping on the beach and in the mountains while exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Tate Fishing.jpg


We visited Canada, took weekend hiking trips to Mt. Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks, and got to explore the greater Seattle and Tacoma areas.

It was great! I’ll be a traveler for as long as I am a PT.

The simple way to start traveling with AMN

To my friends and fellow healthcare providers who are on the fence about the decision to become a traveler, I am sure you will not regret it. I remember what it felt like to be bombarded with advice about the lifestyle (since I have been traveling for less than a full year).

So, I'll try to keep it as simple as possible with the promise that it is very doable. AMN has helped thousands of travelers like me get started – even as a new grad – and they will help you too.

Tate Beautiful Lake View.jpg

Here’s how to get started, step by simple step:

  • Get connected with a recruiter at AMN by visiting the website. I would recommend Aaron, my recruiter. Tell him Tate sent you.
  • Think about state licensing early on. AMN will help you every step of the way if there is any confusion because this is probably the most complicated step in the entire process.
  • If you are a physical therapist, you will typically automatically apply for one state license which will be granted when you pass the NPTE board exam. If you want to apply for a contract in another state, you will need to obtain either a permanent or compact (temporary) license for that state.
  • Browse the list of available contracts and identify several you would be happy to accept. AMN has a searchable database of available contracts, so this is kind of like shopping on Amazon.
  • Once you have identified several contracts that fit your criteria and that you would be happy to accept, do a quick search on Furnished Finder/Airbnb to make sure there is available housing nearby and for the dates you need to stay there. If there is ample housing available, let your recruiter know which contracts you would like to apply for. Your recruiter will help you submit your application for the contract.
  • Wait to hear back from the facility that posted the contract. They will usually want to speak with you over the phone. Sometimes this is called the “interview,” but it usually takes the form of you asking them questions about the facility. It is nothing like a competitive interview for a permanent position.
  • If you like the details of the contract after speaking to the facility, let your recruiter know that you would like to accept the contract. Your recruiter will be the intermediary between you and the facility for the entirety of your contract. Soon after accepting, the AMN team will be in contact with you for everything you need to set up before you can officially begin. It is a streamlined and guided onboarding process.
  • Get back on Furnished Finder/Airbnb and start messaging landlords with your intended timeframe. Compared to AMN, you will be contacting homeowners who are not always quick to respond or well organized. So send a few requests! Get as physically close as you can to your contract facility. You may have to expand your search bit by bit until you find housing you are happy with.
  • That’s it! If you can get yourself set up with AMN, find and accept a contract in a state where you hold a license, and find temporary housing then the rest will take care of itself. AMN will work with you to make sure you have all you need to work as a travel provider. You can contact them at any time if you have any questions or need any help.

Get started today by filling out an application with AMN!

I hope you are as excited to begin the lifestyle of a traveling healthcare provider as I was several months ago. I have had nothing but great experiences so far and I plan to travel for the entirety of my PT career. I still can’t believe I get to live this lifestyle as a career!

Begin the allied application process from the top right form on this page. 


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