Lab Technicians: Is a Travel Job Right for You? Blog | Lab Technicians: Is a Travel Job Right for You?
Healthcare 02/12/21

Lab Technicians: Is a Travel Job Right for You?

Nearly every career has an “appreciation day” set aside once a year.  But did you know lab technicians enjoy an entire appreciation week?

And for good reason: You are the unsung heroes of medical facilities. Your attention to detail can save lives. And at the moment, you are working over-time to process millions of COVID tests every week.

In the last few years, more MLTs have been taking their skills all over the U.S. by becoming traveling lab technicians. The job is lucrative, it’s flexible, and it’s in high demand. Dr. Brandy Gunsolus with Augusta University Medical Center described the situation: “We’ve been facing a laboratory personnel shortage for a number of years, and the COVID pandemic just exasperated the situation right now. We’re basically running on fumes on what we call travel laboratory scientists.”

Is it time to expand your horizons? Maybe—and maybe not. We’ll help you:

  • Learn the life of a travel lab tech
  • Find a position in today’s market
  • Weigh pros and cons
  • Know what to expect during a transition

What Does a Travel Lab Tech Do?

As you can imagine, you’ll have the same responsibilities as you do at your current facility: lab setup and maintenance, sample preparation and testing, and taking copious notes.

But instead of a permanent position with a single facility, you’ll work with a staffing agency specializing in healthcare travel. You might cover for a staff member taking a leave of absence or fill an emergency shortage at busy facility. Assignments are typically 13 weeks long.

Sherry Solomon, MLT, ASPC, finds incredible fulfillment in her traveling career:

“Traveling has opened up a whole new life for me…I have the ABSOLUTE BEST JOB EVER! There’s no other way I could have met the wonderful people that I have had the honor of meeting. Aside from the people, the places are amazing! I have learned so much about my profession & the great people with whom I share it. There is never a wasted day as long as you’re learning.”

Traveling has worked well for Sherry and many others. Could it work for you?

Considerations for Choosing the Travel Life

Let’s look at some things to think about before you pursue this position.

Travel

If COVID-19 has you itching to get away and you can’t justify a vacation, this may be your excuse to get on a plane. Yes, you’d be working—but weekends are for exploring new places! And how often do you earn income while traveling and have expenses covered? This could be a dream job!

On the other hand, leaving home—even for just 13 weeks—may not work for you. Do you have at-home obligations to your family, community, or pets? Is your schedule rigid? The life of a traveler may be attractive, but you’ll only enjoy it if a flexible lifestyle allows it.

Compensation

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average pay for MLT travel jobs is $67,161/year, with the top 3% up to $128,500! Compare this to a standard MLT job: the average salary is $56,014/year, with the top 4% making $94,500.

As a traveling lab tech in high demand, you’re also in a great position to negotiate. Besides a great base salary, you may be eligible for bonuses.

That said, you may experience fluctuation in pay rates per assignment. It’s important to create a strong budget to plan for this. In addition, make sure you study the benefits plan: does the staffing agency cover medical insurance and retirement?

Flexibility

The travel and compensation are tempting in themselves, but many techs love the job’s sheer flexibility. Your staffing agency will check with you to make sure the job will work with your schedule—and if it doesn’t, you might get the next one.

Change

Some people thrive on change. They get bored with the same routines, coworkers, and procedures. They’re always looking for new experiences.

Is this you? You’ll do great as a traveling lab tech.

But then there are the consistency-lovers. Routine feels safe. Learning new things takes energy.

If this is you, it may be best to stick with your current facility.

Support

It may sound stressful to find a new job every thirteen weeks and juggle the logistics of travel and temporary lodging. Stationary lab techs don’t have to find new jobs every thirteen weeks, and they don’t have to deal with travel logistics.

Luckily, your staffing agency will provide all the support you need. They’ll find the gigs for you and cover your plane ticket, rental car, and lodging.

Do check with your agency to find out which expenses are and are not covered.

Risks

Personal Risks: MLTs are familiar with the risk of exposure to pathogens in the lab.

But MLTs traveling during a COVID-19 pandemic are required to take an extra layer of precaution: airports, hotels, and restaurants are all potential places of exposure, and entering the “bubble” of a new group of coworkers could be an opportunity for a viral transmission.

MLTs are the experts when it comes to pathogen safety protocol. But if you are in a medically fragile category, it may be best to stay close to home.

Professional Risks: Rodney E. Rohde, Professor of Clinical Laboratory Science at Texas State University, highlights the burnout medical technicians are experiencing because of COVID-19. “To put it bluntly, your life is in the hands of medical laboratory professionals…Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., we have performed approximately 213 million tests and counting. And now we are tired. We hear the calls for more testing. Many of my…colleagues…are exhausted and dealing with burnout or thoughts of quitting.”

When required, some labs run 24/7 to accommodate the influx of samples. Long hours result in a higher chance for error—and long hours working in an unfamiliar facility can exacerbate that risk. It’s crucial for traveling MLTs to practice exceptional self-care, emotionally and physically, while working away from home. Add peace of mind with a professional liability plan customized for medical lab technicians.

Process

Search

A quick internet search reveals dozens of staffing agencies with open positions for traveling technicians. Recruiters also post on well-known sites like Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn, which alone has over 10,000 results for the search term “travel medical laboratory technologist” all over the United States.

Traveling Medical Technologists and Medical Laboratory Technicians” is a Facebook group with over 2,500 members. Recruiters post job opportunities daily, making it easy to apply or get more information.

Apply

Don’t forget to update your resume, and highlight specific interests and skills that will attract recruiters.

  • Make sure your potential employers know that you’re actively seeking the traveling life. Keyword: relocation.
  • Give examples of your ability to adapt to changes in the workplace, since your workplace will be changing often.
  • List references who will testify that you can jump in wherever needed and work on any team.

Interview

The live interview may be the most stressful part of the entire experience. Refresh yourself on common interview questions for lab technician roles and learn how to answer questions about high-travel jobs in general.

Get Covered. Get Moving.

Professional liability coverage is required for all contract lab technicians. That’s why NOW insurance tailors your policy to your specialty. Whether you work full time or take advantage of a flexible schedule, we’ll help you find the exact amount of coverage you need—and no extras. You can travel freely, knowing you’ll be covered if a claim arises. The right insurance company will:

  • Cover you wherever you work
  • Protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit
  • Help you secure a specialized attorney, if needed
  • Have significant experience with Medical Professional Liability policies

Wherever you travel, no matter who you work with, labs large or small—there’s always the possibility you’ll be subject to a claim of negligence or error.

Don’t wait to protect yourself. Get peace of mind NOW with a quote from our quick and easy application.

And make sure your boss knows to send out a perfunctory email during Medical Laboratory Professionals Week to thank you for handling bodily fluids as a profession. You deserve it.

Blog

Tips for protecting yourself and your business.

Healthcare

Malpractice Insurance FAQs: What Is a “Retro Date”?

Pharmacy

Why You Should #ThankAPharmacist This Month

Mental Health

Why School Counselors Should Consider Malpractice Insurance

Insurance Basics

Am I Legally Required to Get Small Business Insurance?

Occupational Therapy

Liability Risks for Occupational Therapists

Insurance Basics

What Are the Exclusions on a General Liability Insurance Policy?

Nurses

Nurse Liability Insurance: 7 Reasons to Get a Policy Even If Your Workplace Is Covered

Lab Technician

Four Common Mistakes Lab Techs Make

Pharmacy

Upskilling and Reskilling in Pharmacy

Insurance Basics

How Can I Reduce My Professional Liability Insurance Cost?

Healthcare

Is Administrative Staff Covered by Medical Malpractice Insurance?

Mental Health

What Can Happen if a Clinical Counselor Doesn’t Carry Malpractice Insurance?

Mental Health

Mental Health Technicians Are More Important Than Ever in 2021

Mental Health

Why Every Counselor Should Have Malpractice Insurance (Even If You’re Just Starting Out)

Consultants

Five Reasons Why Marketing Consultants Need Insurance

Speech Therapist

Speech Therapist Insurance: What Do You Need to Cover?

Insurance Basics

General Liability and Workers’ Comp: What’s the difference?

Event Planning

What You Need to Know About Planning Your Comeback Event

Event Planning

Top Tech Tools for Hosting a Hybrid Event

Mental Health

Are You at Risk? Four Potential Liabilities When You’re an Uninsured Drug Counselor

Consultants

Consulting in the Tech Field? This is the Insurance Coverage You Need

Event Planning

How to Use Virtual Reality for Your Hybrid Event

News

Bold Penguin and NOW Insurance Partner to Make Professional Liability Insurance Easier to Quote and Bind

News

Matt Higgins Joins NOW Insurance as Executive VP of Engineering

Event Planning

Planning a Conference? You Need Event Insurance

Consultants

Five Steps to Buying Consultant Business Insurance

Nurses

Nursing Board Discipline: Know the Process

Event Planning

Eight Things Commonly Forgotten by Event Planners

Event Planning

Hybrid Events Are the New Norm – What Should Event Planners Know?

General

How Much Is Professional Liability Insurance? 6 Factors That Affect Price

Mental Health

Providing Peace of Mind: Insurance for Mental Health Workers

Mental Health

7 Reasons Rehabilitation Counselors Should Get Malpractice Insurance

Pharmacy

Pharmacy Technician: What’s Next?

Consultants

Common Mistakes When Starting a Consulting Business

Mental Health

8 Reasons a Family Counselor Should Be Insured

Mental Health

Professional Liability Insurance for Mental Health Technicians: What Does It Cover?

News

NOW Insurance Partners with Hiscox on Medical Malpractice Insurance

Healthcare

What to Know About Multi-State Healthcare Licensure

Healthcare

6 Risks of Being a Substance Abuse Counselor Without Malpractice Insurance

Healthcare

What Are the Best Upskilling Opportunities in Healthcare?

Healthcare

How Virtual Care Expands Access to Specialists

General

Thinking of Becoming a Therapist? 5 Things to Know

Healthcare

Do School Counselors Need Their Own Insurance Policy?

Healthcare

5 Rewards of Being a Mental Health Technician

Home Health

What are Key Compliance Issues in Home Healthcare?

Home Health

The Home Hospital: What Is It and How Will It Affect Future Care?

Healthcare

What Challenges Should School Counselors Expect as Schools Reopen?

Pharmacy

Sharing the Workload: Questions You Can Ask Your Pharmacist Instead of Your Doctor

Healthcare

5 Situations Where Testing Labs May Be Legally at Risk

Healthcare

Do Marriage Counselors Need Professional Liability Insurance?

Healthcare

8 Malpractice Insurance Terms Every Medical Professional Should Know

Healthcare

Social Worker Insurance: Do I Need My Own Coverage?

Mental Health

Pandemic Pressures Drive Increased Need for Mental Health Technicians

Nurses

Celebrate National Student Nurse Day on May 8

Nurses

National Nurses Week: Celebrate May 6-12

Healthcare

Why Nursing Students Need their Own Professional Liability Policy

Home Health

How to Find Affordable Professional Liability Insurance for Home Health Providers

Healthcare

5 Benefits to a Career as a Pharmacy Technician

Healthcare

How Digital Pharmacies Will Change the Industry

Healthcare

How to Become A Pharmacy Technician

Healthcare

Supporting Providers in the Age of Telehealth

Healthcare

12 Keys to Finding the Best Physical Therapist Insurance

Healthcare

When Are Lab Technicians Liable? Five Reasons to Carry Professional Liability Insurance

Healthcare

What Is and Isn’t Covered by Malpractice Insurance?

Healthcare

Why COVID Testing Labs Should Carry General Liability Insurance

Healthcare

Do Occupational Therapists Need Malpractice Insurance?

Healthcare

Can Lab Technicians Be Sued for Malpractice?

Cyber

5 Reasons Cyber Security Insurance Is Becoming More Important Than Ever

Healthcare

What Sort of Insurance Will Cover Physical Therapists?

Cyber

Helping Hesitant Patients Embrace Telehealth

Cyber

Why COVID Testing Labs Should Have Cyber Security Insurance in Case of a Data Breach

Nurses

GI Nurses and Associates Week: Highlight A GI Nurse Hero March 21-27

Nurses

What Malpractice Risks Do GI Nurses Face?

Nurses

What Kind of Nurse Should You Be? Check Out the Growing Field of Gastroenterology

Healthcare

6 Risks Lab Technicians Face Without Professional Liability Insurance

Healthcare

Do Contact Tracers Need to Protect Themselves with Professional Liability Insurance?

Cyber

Telehealth Rules Relaxed During Pandemic

Cyber

Telehealth is More Than Just Video Appointments

Healthcare

Pharmacists: Which Specialty Is Right for You?

Healthcare

Sued for Malpractice: A Guide for Nurses and NPs

Healthcare

A Guide to Medical Director Insurance and the Costs

Healthcare

2021 Trends to Look for in Occupational Therapy

Healthcare

Become a COVID-19 Contact Tracer

Healthcare

How Much Does Physician Assistant Malpractice Insurance Cost?

Healthcare

Lab Technicians: Is a Travel Job Right for You?

Home Health

Why Your Agency Needs Home Healthcare Insurance

Lab Technician

Covering Covid-19: Is Your Medical Laboratory at Risk?

Healthcare

A Complete Guide to Insurance for Physical Therapists

Healthcare

The Costs of Medical Staffing Agency Insurance

Home Health

Why Start a Non-medical Home Care Business

Healthcare

IV Nurse Day: Celebrate Jan 25

Healthcare

How to Become an IV Nurse

Healthcare

Charting by Exception: Errors by Omission or The Efficient New Norm?

Healthcare

Are You a Culturally Competent Nurse?

Healthcare

Risks of Abbreviations in Nurse Charting

Home Health

A Guide to Starting a Home Healthcare Business

Nurses

Nurses and The Good Samaritan Law

Cyber

Cyber Liability and HIPAA Compliance

Cyber

Why Hackers Love Healthcare Data

Cyber

Ransomware Rampant in Among Small Businesses

Cyber

What is the cost of a data breach?

General

NOW Insurance closes $2.5 million seed round, enhances AI-enabled platform

Cyber

Cost of a HIPAA Violation

Cyber

How to Create a Small Business Cyber Security Plan

Cyber

Small Business and Cloud Storage: Is Your Data Secure?

Cyber

Social Engineering: 7 Common Red Flags

Event Planning

Getting Liability Insurance for Events

Event Planning

Starting an Event Planning Business: A to Z

Event Planning

How Much Does Event Planning Insurance Cost?

Event Planning

Insurance for Event Planners: What You Need to Know

Event Planning

What’s Included in Event Planning Insurance Coverage?

Insurance Basics

What Can a Tax Preparer Be Held Liable For?

Insurance Basics

Tax Preparer Insurance 101

Medical Staffing

4 Nurse Staffing Issues to Avoid

General

What You Need to Know to Be a Tax Preparer

Insurance Basics

Insurance for Bookkeepers: A Complete Guide

Medical Staffing

How to Start a Nurse Staffing Agency

Insurance Basics

What is Liability Insurance for Bookkeepers?

General

How to Build Customer Relations in Your Business

Medical Staffing

A Guide to Medical Staffing Insurance

General

Developing an Effective Risk Management Plan

Insurance Basics

All You Need to Know About Therapist Insurance

Mental Health

What is Malpractice Insurance for Counselors?

Mental Health

Benefits of Therapist Liability Insurance

Insurance Basics

What’s the Average Counselor Malpractice Insurance Cost?

Insurance Basics

Risk and Hazards of Being a Massage Therapist

Insurance Basics

Do Nutritionists Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

What’s Included In Massage Insurance Coverage?

Insurance Basics

Everything You Need to Know About Malpractice Insurance Coverage For Nutritionists

Insurance Basics

Do Massage Centers Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

How Much Does Nutritionist Insurance Cost?

Insurance Basics

Insurance Plans For Nutritionists: Everything You Need to Know

Insurance Basics

Massage Therapy Insurance: A Beginner’s Guide

General

Coronavirus Outbreak: 3 Tips to Keep Your Healthcare Business Safe

General

Company Working From Home? Stay Safe of Cyber Attacks

Insurance Basics

Business Interruption Insurance and Coronavirus

General

4 Best Practices for Medical Workers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Insurance Basics

Inside the Hacker’s Mind – Social Engineering

Insurance Basics

Do Consultants Need Insurance?

Insurance Basics

Fitness Center & Gym Insurance: A Beginner’s Guide

General

Should Your Company Work From Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Insurance Basics

Why Your Business Needs Wellness and Fitness Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide

Insurance Basics

What Is the Cost of Gym Insurance?

Insurance Basics

What Insurance Do Consultants Need?

Consultants

How Much Is Insurance For a Consultant?

Consultants

Benefits of Consulting Insurance Coverage

Healthcare

Pay as You Go Insurance for Healthcare Professionals

General

You Have Your Physician Assistant’s License: Now What?

Healthcare

Why Are You Still Buying Occurrence Malpractice Coverage?

Healthcare

What Does Malpractice Insurance Cost?

General

Physician Assistant Malpractice Coverage: A Practical Guide

Nurses

Do Student Nurses Need Malpractice Insurance?

Nurses

Ouch, You Hurt Me! Do Nurse Practitioners Need Their Own Malpractice Policy?

Nurses

What Type of Insurance Do Nurses Need?

Insurance Basics

Understanding Insurance Terms: Back to Basics

General

What Does Professional Liability Insurance Cover?

General

Types of Insurance Available for Small Business Owners

General

Potential Small Business Risks

General

General Liability Insurance: How to Keep your Business Protected

General

Choosing a Business Insurance Provider: Everything You Need to Know

General

Business Insurance Plans – Do I Need One?

General

Benefits of Professional Liability Insurance

General

What Is the Average Cost of Errors and Omissions Insurance?

General

What Is Cyber Liability Insurance?

General

What Does Errors and Omissions Insurance Cover?

Cyber

Cyber Insurance 101: Why You Need It

Cyber

What Does a Cyber Liability Policy Cover?

General

Errors and Omissions Coverage: What Is It & How Does it Work?

Cyber

What Is the Average Cost of Cyber Liability Insurance?

General

Who Needs Errors and Omissions Coverage?