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Being a travel therapist has a lot of pros. But one of the biggest cons for me is managing multiple state licenses – and all the CEUs that go with them. Keeping up with different course requirements, renewal timelines, and other oddities (Michigan requires half of your CEUs to be delivered live? Ugh.) can be a job in and of itself. However, with the systems I’ve put in place over the past couple of years, I’m finding it easier than ever to manage my CEUs as a travel therapist. To be perfectly honest, I’m doing better than I was when I was only managing one state license and waiting til the midnight hour to get those last CEUs. Check out my systems below and let me know if they help you!
Keep a Document Tracking all your State Licenses.
I find this easiest to do on Google Drive, that way you always have it no matter what computer you’re using. I use a Google Doc, but if you’re more spreadsheet oriented Google Sheets works as well. As soon as I get a new license, I add it to this doc in addition to its CEU requirements, renewal timeline, and any other important notes. This also helps me keep track of the costs of renewal. That way, I can decide if a state license is worth continuing to maintain if I don’t plan to work there anytime soon. Please feel free to check out my document here and save a copy that you can modify for your own purposes.
Sign up for an Online CEU Company.
This has absolutely the number one way I’ve earned CEUs as a travel therapist. When you’re not exactly sure where you’re going to be in 6 months, it can be hard to sign up for workshops and conferences in advance. Online CEUs remove that guesswork from the equation. And while in-person learning has its advantages, you can’t beat online learning for the convenience and flexibility. What’s also important to note is that many of these companies offer live, on-demand courses – which should meet the need for any states that have this requirement, even though they aren’t in person. This is also a great option if you have downtime at work while on a contract that has guaranteed hours.
I’ve personally enjoyed OccupationalTherapy.com (with counterparts PhysicalTherapy.com and SpeechPathology.com) and MedBridge. MedBridge also has CEUs for all types of therapists in addition to nursing, athletic training, and social work! Please feel free to use my MedBridge promo code BREITHART to get $175 off regular pricing.
Take Advantage of On-Site CEUs.
Even if you’re only at your facility a short time, see if any CEU courses are being offered during your tenure. Very often, large facilities will offer these for their team of therapists. If you notice a course you’re not invited to, ask your supervisor! While some facilities want their travelers to be productive all of the time, there are many others that would be happy to include you. Remember: CEUs help you do more than just renew your license. They make you a more knowledgeable therapist, and most companies want to support that.
Take a Live Course at your Tax Home.
If you’re keeping a tax home, you’re probably familiar with the requirement to return there periodically throughout the year. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than signing up for a workshop or a conference there? This is especially helpful if you’re trying to renew a license with live CEU requirements, but even if not, it can be a nice option. Plus, you’ll get a chance to see all of those family and friends who are probably missing you dearly right now.
Take on a Fieldwork Student.
This is definitely one of the trickier options but it should still be considered. In most states, being a clinical mentor counts for CEU requirements. And if you remember anything about your own clinical rotations, you might recall the huge lack of available placements. This is a way you can broaden your own learning as well as give back to the student therapy community. If you’d like to get started, reach out to your previous fieldwork coordinator to see what the process looks like. Alternatively, you can ask your facility supervisor about the potential to have a student. Since most student rotations are also the same length as the majority of travel contracts (three months), this is probably a better option if you’re considering staying at a facility for six months or longer.
Research Other Creative CEU Options.
Don’t forget that there are many ways to earn continuing education units besides taking a traditional course + quiz. For example, did you know involvement in a special interest/study group with other therapists can earn CEUs? Some states will also give CEU credit just for attending state board meetings. And many others will allow you to count mentorship of another therapist. For any of these activities, make sure you’re keeping thorough documentation in case you ever need to prove it during an audit. To be certain what activities are eligible, check the specific state licensing requirements (and consider adding them to your spreadsheet!)
As exhausting as it seems at first to keep up with multiple state licenses, it’s really not too bad once you get into the swing of keeping a system. I hope this article gave you some new ideas on how to manage this process so it’s not so intimidating. So, go forth and travel – and earn the CEUs you need as you do.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear how you’re managing your continuing education requirements as a travel therapist!