What’s that old saying – a rolling pathologists’ assistant gathers no moss?
OK, maybe that’s not quite it. But whether you’re an experienced PA or histotechs, pursuing a travel lab position can enable you to see the states while getting paid to do a job you love at leading facilities across the country.
Despite the opportunity, certain myths surrounding these positions can often hold people back from exploring what could be a great experience. Read on to find out some things you might not have known about working as a traveling pathologists' assistant.
Myth: Travel Positions Are Always Short-Term Contracts
We get it: Travel is a core tenet of the position, but with the average contract for travel PAs and HT/HTLs running just 13 weeks, sometimes it can feel like it’s already time to pull up the stakes when you’ve just started to settle in.
Part of the reason for this “average” contract length is historical data. For decades, travel pathology and histology opportunities centered around helping hospitals and labs meet seasonal shortages. Each season ran roughly three months, so 13 weeks became the standard contract length.
These days, there’s a lot more variability in the length of available contracts for PAs and HT/HTLs. Many labs need travel staff who can contract year-round. If you’re interested in traveling pathologists' assistant jobs that offer a longer assignment, you have a good chance of finding one. You can often find assignments of up to six months (or longer) up-front, and it’s not uncommon to have an opportunity to extend your contract.
Some labs even use travel pathology assignments to screen potential permanent team members– working with someone in the lab reveals much more than a pathologists' assistant resume and an interview, after all. Similarly, some travel PAs and HT/HTLs use their assignments as opportunities to test the waters for a lab and what it’s like to live in the area.
Meanwhile, road warriors looking for brief assignments can often find opportunities shorter than the standard 13 weeks – some are as short as one week!
Myth: Travel PAs Are Only Needed in Some Places
There is a common misconception that traveling PA and histotech job opportunities are only available in remote parts of the country, but notable community hospitals, freestanding labs, university hospitals, and private pathology groups nationwide need contract help from experienced pathologists' assistants and histotechnicians. Whenever your current assignment ends, chances are you’ll have a few options for your next contract.
And while it’s true that not every assignment will have you working in paradise, many of the pathology and histology lab workers who contract through Nicklas Medical Staffing maintain a permanent residence at which they live between assignments. This means you’ll still have plenty of flexibility to live where you want while enjoying a rewarding career as a traveling PA or HT/HLT. Then again, you may even find your forever home while on the road – you won’t know until you pack your bags!
Myth: Travel PAs Don’t Receive Great Benefits
Working travel PA and histotechnician jobs are more than just rolling from gig to gig. It’s an entire lifestyle that offers several unique advantages on both a professional and personal level. Working with notable labs across the country is a great way to simultaneously build your resume and your professional network.
Traveling has other benefits, too: Because Nicklas takes care of your lodging, some traveling PAs opt to avoid rent, mortgage, and other housing-related expenses by chaining contracts together. That’s considerable cash for retirement savings – or a night out in your new town.
While we can’t speak for other medical staffing agencies, traveling through Nicklas has many benefits. Besides lodging, we’ll take care of airfare, meals, car rentals, and other travel expenses. This means you get to keep more of the money you earn on your contract. On top of all that, we offer a complete benefits package, including health, dental, vision, 401(k)/Roth IRA with match, holiday pay, malpractice insurance, and more.
Fact: Traveling PA Work Might Be Right for You
Many factors can influence the job market for PAs and HTs/HTLs, but one constant is the need for traveling lab workers. Would a traveling role be the right fit for you? Many pathologists’ assistants find traveling contract work more lucrative than permanent salaried placements. Download our free travel pathologists’ assistant salary estimator to see if you could make more by traveling with Nicklas.