New Graduate’s Travel COTA Jobs Lead to Permanent Position
New occupational therapy assistant finds a home in the Lone Star State
By Megan Murdock Krischke, contributor
Anthony Dingevan, a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), grew up in New York and attended Keiser University in Florida where he earned his associate’s degree. He chose to try occupational therapy jobs as a traveler directly after finishing his degree.
His first assignment with Onward Healthcare, which recently merged with the allied healthcare staffing experts at Club Staffing, was in Lamesa, Texas. After the 13-week assignment, the facility offered and he accepted a permanent position.
Why did you decide to pursue travel occupational therapy jobs as a new graduate?
I started looking into traveling when I discovered there were no COTA jobs in my area. I was looking forward to exploring new places and having the flexibility to move on when I was ready.
Did you face any challenges as a traveler?
The only thing I could say that was tough was starting somewhere new, but it wasn’t so bad. I just did what I always liked to do and met people that way. I went to the shooting range, to the bowling alley, to sporting events and to bars that had live music.
So what made you decide to commit to a permanent position after your first assignment?
Let’s just say they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.
What stands out from your traveling experience?
It was all pretty memorable and nothing like I ever would have expected. West Texas is very rural and is definitely a lot different than what I am used to--like how early everything closes. I live an hour from my job--there were probably more people in my high school than live in Lamesa.
What advice would you offer to other COTAs looking for travel occupational therapy jobs right out of school?
Have an open mind and do your homework before you get there. Know what kind of a setting you will be working in and brush up on your knowledge in that area.
I don’t think there were challenges I faced in my work as a traveler that I wouldn’t have faced in a permanent position--in either situation, the job is the same.
Were there any personal items that you considered essential to take on assignment?
My shoe collection. I probably have about 40 pairs of shoes and I brought about 20 pairs with me. Since arriving, I have added a few more. I like to match--so if I get a new shirt, I try to get shoes that go with it.
Have you done any exploring since you moved to Texas?
My first couple weeks here, some friends of mine flew out and we went to Carlsbad Caverns in southeast New Mexico and then we went to San Antonio and stayed on the River Walk and visited the Alamo. I also visited a friend in Austin who took the time to show me the city. I’ve never been this far out west before and I wanted to try to do things I’d never get a chance to do back East.
If you had a week’s vacation and $500 how would you spend the time and money?
I love road trips, so I’d plan a trip to the Four Corners [where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet at one spot] and to see the Grand Canyon.
Looking for your own adventure? Contact Club Staffing’s career experts for exciting occupational therapy assistant jobs and other allied healthcare opportunities.
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