STRATEGIES FOR NEW GRAD THERAPISTS FROM AN OT WHO HAS BEEN THERE...
BY: CONNIE SAKELLAROPOULOS, MOTR/L
New license (congratulations!), a pandemic, pending Medicare reimbursement cuts... not exactly an ideal market for a new graduate. I can relate. I used to be unemployed too (read my story here). If you're struggling to find your dream job, here are a few tips and how the Independent Therapist Alliance can help you overcome roadblocks and succeed.
Think Outside of the Box
Competition for work is fierce and you may not be able to find a full time opportunity. Instead, consider creating your own caseload by working for multiple companies as an Independent Contract Therapist. Use online job boards, your school and professional networking groups through LinkedIn or FaceBook to search for contract opportunities in your area. Another strategy is to to a simple search for "therapy clinics near me" and reach out to each one directly with a customized cover letter and your resume. You'll gain experience and can gradually build your caseload. Not sure what it takes to work as an Independent Contract Therapist? Join ITA and take our CEU accredited learning course, "How to Be Your Own Boss" which teaches you, step-by-step, how to set yourself up as an IC.
Dedicate a portion of every day to your job search and to developing your clinical skills. Read those school books, practice your techniques with family and friends and search for free continuing education courses to keep your newfound skills current. As a Rehab Director myself, here are some niche skills I would look for in a potential hire:
Knowledge of best practice for PPE including strategies such as "clean/dirty bag" which is used when delivering care in the home;
Training in tele-health and tele-therapy as a delivery method for skilled care in your preferred practice area (pediatrics, ortho, geriatrics, etc.);
Understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on health and well-being and therapy's role in rehabilitation and recovery.
Join the Independent Therapist Alliance
The Independent Therapist Alliance is a grassroots association by therapists and for therapists who work as independent contract therapists or who have - or dream of - starting their own private practice. Membership includes continuing education, access to group rated dental, vision, home and auto insurance, automatic Term Life and AD&D Insurance, member only discount program, tax calculators and an armory of tools and resources you need to launch, grow and succeed at the business of rehab.
The Independent Workforce is 50 million strong and while we are all independent... ITA is here to help everyone succeed. Come join us.
... oh, and our last tip....
It can be somewhat deflating to reach a goal and be ready to launch but have nowhere to go. Do not give up hope. Therapy remains a vitally necessary service to our communities and this has not changed. The world may look and feel different, but it still needs therapy and we will rebound.
Connie Sakellaropoulos, MOTR/L is an occupational therapist and one of the founders of the Independent Therapist Alliance. She also works as an Independent Contractor and Rehab Director of a large outpatient rehab facility in South Florida and is dedicated to helping others succeed on their journey to independence. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.