This question is asked many times, sometimes you have to decide what would work best for your own situation, your lifestyle and most importantly set your priorities and reasons for wanting to travel vs staying in a permanent job, think about what are your future goals …
The profession is projected to grow by 24th percent through the year 2024 much faster than the average job for all occupations. As imaging technology evolves, medical facilities will continue to use ultrasound to replace more invasive, costly procedures.
As the healthcare industry strives to keep up with the aging population, more and more sonographers will be needed.
There is an increased demand in healthcare, especially now with the pandemic, facilities are in need of help, this is when a traveling sonographer comes in, to help the departments to fill the voids with the increased workloads and some facilities are short staffed.
Traveling Sonographers travel across the country to the places most in need of them. With each new location comes new challenges, people and adventures. Assignments can range from short 4 -6 weeks and most commonly 13 weeks to even 6 months or longer even up to 364 days, any longer than such time you have now become a resident of that State and you will be taxed.
Traveling Sonographers are considered independent contractors and often work for several healthcare allied agencies as well as nursing agencies that specialize in finding assignments as well as negotiating pay and benefits.
I have traveled for over 15 years , I have gotten to know so many sonographers and people along the way, and I have learned that what works for me doesn't necessarily work for someone else, there are way too many factors and different circumstances , let’s take a look at the pros vs the cons and you can decide based on your own current situation.
I have only listed 10 pros and cons as I’m sure there are many more, I hope you find some of this information resourceful and make your own wise decisions.
Let’s start with the Perks and Pros
1.Money, even though it’s not everything it sure helps, it is the main reason many take the plunge in traveling. What you can make in 12 months at a perm job, you can now make in 9 months!
2.Freedom, within a year you can work 3-4 contracts or only do 3 contracts in a year. Work as little or as much as you want , including taking call, making as much money as you could possibly make, and when you are finished you're free to take the time needed to relax, vacation, visit family or just simply enjoy your time doing what you love, or move on to the next assignment, it’s all up to you.
3.Flexibility, work hard during your assignment and take the time you need off by only taking contracts during certain times of the year , you decide what months you want to work or not you can also choose where you would like to go, or let timing take you somewhere you never imagined going to.
4.Traveling and being spontaneous you get to explore and see the country, in ways most people don’t experience, while being paid to do a job, you discover and learn strengths about yourself, you get to grow personally and professionally.
5.Experience you learn and gain experience beyond your skills, you see how different things are done everywhere and how much you can learn from others as well as teach others new tricks to make the job easier.
6.Making New Friends and connections as you go through different facilities you get to connect with people from all different walks of life, which broadens your perspective, you get to build a network while working alongside .
7.Workplace Politics are easier to avoid the drama since you are there temporarily, no need to get involved, as long as it doesn't affect patient care.
8.People you get to make an impact in people's lives by serving those who need your help on a daily basis.
9. Negotiation Skills and Communication , you get to learn how to negotiate and ask for things you would have not imagined possible, you expand your creativity and mind.
10. Paying Off Debt! Most agencies pay you weekly, and you can budget and make wise choices by paying off some debt as quickly as possible, investing or saving for the future and those rainy days, these are the great perks of traveling.
Now let’s move on to the Cons of Traveling
( yes, there are sacrifices we make as travelers )
11.Family , you sometimes get to leave your family , pets , friends and even partners behind, not everyone has the opportunity to travel with their significant other. You will miss out on family gatherings, watchings kids grow or events in your own home town.
12.Loneliness, because not everyone can travel with relatives, spouse or family. Sometimes you are all alone, in a new place doing things by yourself and sometimes it can be tough to make new friends, it all depends on how introverted you are.
13.Moving and Packing every three months or often, while it can be exciting, it also gets tiring, unless you plan to travel in an RV which you also get to move every so often, this also has its advantages and disadvantages and finding a park in some locations can be difficult.
14.Being on the Road could be challenging for some people. Sometimes if you choose to take your car, you have to drive for hours and days to get to your destination, unless you choose to fly, and being on the road for 10-12 hours could be exhausting.
15.Work Schedules sometimes being a traveler you don't have the best schedule unless specifically agreed in writing into the contract, you sometimes are the one doing the swing shift or having to work weekends and even holidays, the reason why they need travelers to fill the void. And on some occasions it feels like perm staff “dump” what they don't want to do , leaving it to the traveler. This includes doing all the portables, I suggest speaking up.
16.Housing finding housing every time can be hard or difficult sometimes, especially if you have pets or looking for private housing if you choose no roommate situation. Pet deposits are not always returnable by the end of your contract from the landlord, so you might end up losing some money.
17.Minimalist you quickly learn to become a minimalist, you realize you cannot travel with so much baggage , especially when moving constantly. You cannot be traveling with a lot of your own personal stuff, like shoes and all kinds of clothing, you might find yourself buying things everytime, unless you know how to pack minimally or you end up learning how to live minimally, which is a good thing.
18. Relationships if you are single or even married traveling alone can be difficult sometimes. As a single person it is difficult to meet someone and build a relationship because you are there for a short time, could you meet your lifetime partner? maybe, it could happen, anything is possible. Traveling alone and being married also has its difficulties, you must have a great relationship and trust with your spouse as this is not for everyone.
19. Cancelations this is something you must be prepared for just in case you end up getting canceled, have a backup plan, this happens sometimes before the assignment even starts , when there's issues with other tech personalities, or they simply say you're not a good fit . We are “At Will” workers either them or us can cancel at any time , just remember if you cancel there might be fee penalties and the possibility of being blacklisted. Keep in constant communication with your recruiters. Worrying about your next contract and not being stable can sometimes be worrisome, however don't worry a door will always open up for you.
20. Payment this one is huge, as it affects your livelihood. Not being paid correctly can be very upsetting, especially when you have bills coming in, and you are far away from home. Keep track and documentation of all your working hours, events or incidents at work. Always be prepared with some finances for the unexpected.
~Whatever decisions you make , make sure it brings you peace and happiness :) Estella
~ WHEREVER YOU GO, GO WITH ALL YOUR HEART