Travel SPD Techs are in high demand and offer higher wages and the ability to work all over the country! This outline will provide you with everything you need to know about the world of traveling and how to get started.
Pick Your Agency
First things first, there are a large number of agencies out there to choose from, so read the fine print and decide which agency is a good fit for you.
Things to Look for When Choosing an Agency
- Jobs offered: Do they offer jobs in areas you’d prefer to travel? What hours and shifts are available? What is the contract length?
- Reputable: Has the agency received good reviews from past and current contractors?
- Accessible: Is the recruiter available to answer your questions? Are you constantly put on hold or sent to an assistant?
- Benefits: Do they offer health insurance? Retirement account, 401K? Employee assistance program?
- Pay & Compensation package: Is the pay competitive? Over time, holiday, and on-call pay? Do they offer housing? Food and incidental allowance? Weekly or bi-weekly paychecks?
- Bonuses & perks: Do they offer completion bonuses or referral bonuses? Travel reimbursement? Tax advantages?
Once you have chosen the agency or agencies right for you, you will then begin the credentialing process. This involves getting together all of the necessary documentation to clear you for work.
- Certifications: IAHCSMM, CBSPD, and BLS.
- Vaccinations: Hep B, TDAP, MMR, Flu etc…
- Facility & Agency-specific documents: Confidentiality, contracts, proof of permanent residence, tax forms.
Negotiating Your Contract
Here is where things can get a little confusing. Many of the agencies set up their compensation packages differently. So it’s important to understand what you’re agreeing to prior to heading out to your first assignment. Here are some important things to consider.
Contract length: Contracts are typically 13 weeks.
- Housing allowance: The amount depends on the location of the assignment.
- Food and incidentals allowance: Normally between $25 – $35 daily.
- Missed hours policy: Some agencies require you to work your full 40 or they deduct money from your allowances.
- Guaranteed hours: It’s important to ensure your hours are guaranteed in the event of a low census.
- Base pay: Usually the bulk of your money comes from pocketed allowances (which are tax-free). However, base pay can vary.
- Overtime & Holiday pay: Can be as much as triple your base pay and is negotiable.
- Travel reimbursement: Most agencies will pay your travel cost in your first paycheck, although some cap at $500.
- Time off: If you plan to take any time off, it must be written into the contract.
Beginning your first assignment in a new city can be very exciting. Here are some important things to consider prior to leaving, what to bring and the common mistakes that new travelers make.
- Leaving to early: Do not depart to your new assignment prematurely. Although you may want to get a head start and get set up, there is always the possibility of something falling through. You don’t want to travel 1,000 miles from home to find out they pushed your start date back or the contract got canceled.
- Do not overpack: You may be compelled to bring everything you own, but understand that you will be lugging all of your stuff from place to place by yourself. Just bring the essentials.
- Service your vehicle: Make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape. You don’t want to get stranded during your travels.
- Have some savings: Please don’t venture out into the travel world without any money saved in case of an emergency or unforeseen event.
*Note: It is imperative that you get everything in writing and read over your contract. Never assume that something told to you by a recruiter is definite!
*Note: It is also important to note that you have more negotiating power after your first assignment. The first assignment is more of a learning experience. You can then come back to the negotiating table knowing what to expect.