New Year, New Destination – Hawaii

I have had many traveling rehab therapists mention that Hawaii has been a bucket list state for their next travel assignment, but they were unsure if they were a good candidate. With the New Year, I think this is the perfect time to start checking things off of your bucket list and if Hawaii is one of them – let’s do it!

Be open to all islands

As surprised as you might be, some people might have a “favorite” island when it comes to Hawaii. However, when it comes to the rehab therapy market it is important to be as open as you can – and that means location! Hawaii has so much to offer and each island is different in its own way. Be open to an island that you may not have considered. You never know what you would have missed if you turn down an assignment due to the location. I have had the chance to visit each island and I can tell you that they are all incredible in their own way! Plus, if you are working on one island, it is easy to take a short flight to explore another island on you days off. When in Hawaii, you are a lot closer to explore other islands than you are on the mainland. Take this time to make the most out of your assignment!

Be open to all settings

You might be recognizing a theme here. Not only is it important to be open to all islands but also try to be open to all settings. Home health experience is a major plus as there is no training or mentorship in this setting for this state. If you are interested in home health, you MUST have experience in order to be submitted to a HH travel job. I see openings in a variety of settings in this state, so the more diverse your skill set is, the more placeable you are in Hawaii. I see outpatient ortho, outpatient neuro, inpatient rehab, acute, skilled nursing, and home health. I typically recommend having a minimum of one year of therapy rehab experience. Being a previous traveler is a major plus! If you have ever worked in Hawaii in the past or have been to a certain island please let your recruiter know as this information can help make you more marketable in Hawaii.

Enjoy a working vacation

You may hear this term “working vacation” a time or two when speaking with a recruiter about potential job positions in Hawaii. It’s true, travel assignments in Hawaii are a working vacation. The cost of living is high and because it is a highly desired area the pay is not the same as a travel position on the mainland. Keep in mind that it is much more affordable than planning your own vacation. Your Hawaii license will be reimbursed, your airfare/luggage is reimbursed, and a housing and meals stipend is provided (tax free), as well as a rental car if needed. If you are going to go to Hawaii, you might as well have the opportunity to update your skill set as a rehab therapist, learn the culture, and explore all that Hawaii has to offer. The best way to do that is on a 13 or 26 week travel assignment!

Assignment length

You might be completely surprised, but Hawaii does not have a physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech pathology schooling program. So, when it comes to a therapy rehab job opening, it might be difficult for the facility to fill the need with a full-time permanent candidate. Therefore, I tend to see more travel opportunities available in Hawaii. It is important for the facility to have continuity of care for their patients so it is typical to see 26-week assignments as well as 13 weeks. This way the patient does not meet a new therapist every three months. Each facility opening is different, however keep in mind that not every assignment will be 13 weeks. Some might be 26 weeks and it could be because of that reason.

Hawaii license

The last and most important thing to know about travel opportunities in Hawaii for rehab therapy is that you MUST have an active Hawaii license as a PT, OT, or SLP in order to have your resume submitted for a travel opportunity. It typically takes about 21 business days for a Hawaii license.

The first step to checking off your bucket list item of going to Hawaii is by applying for your Hawaii state license! Here is more information:

Apply for the Hawaii Physical Therapy or Physical Therapy Assistant license on the board’s website.

Apply for the Hawaii Occupational Therapy or Occupational Therapy Assistant license on the board’s website.

And remember our $1,000 referral bonus if you are a traveling rehab therapist with us! We are searching for additional great traveling rehab therapists like you. If you know someone who would make a great traveler and wouldn’t mind a trip to Hawaii, help us out by making a referral. Once they reach 200 hours worked, you receive a $1,000 referral bonus!

Elizabeth Krings is a Team Lead for the Rehab Therapy division at Aureus Medical Group.

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